Traders on Thursday started bidding to supply maize to government through Auction Holdings Commodity Exchange (AHCX) and Agriculture Commodities Exchange (ACE) in Lilongwe.
Government engaged the commodities exchanges as a platform through which the National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA) can buy maize.
The process saw maize traders cramming AHCX auctioning floors in Lilongwe while others participated through mobile phones and the Internet via computers in AHCX depots across the country.
The traders described the process as a positive development because it is more transparent as opposed to what used to happen in the past where traders did not participate in the bidding process.
One trader, Smolet Kachere, who witnessed the bidding process at AHCX premises in Lilongwe, said the process will help the traders up their business because if they fail the bid, they shall know where they did not do well, therefore, make informed decisions next time they consider participating in similar business.
Malawi is this year expecting reduced harvest following the multiple effects of floods and drought in some areas that affected crop production.
Currently, government agencies are sourcing maize from within the country and abroad to restock the strategic grain reserves.
AHCX general manager Davis Manyenje said out of the 80 000 metric tons required for the Kanengo silos, NFRA was expected to buy 10 000 metric tons from yesterday’s bids alone.
He said that the process will be competitive and participatory.
Manyenje added that after the bidding process, AHCX will submit a report to NFRA to analyse the information and pick the best bidders.