Admarc buys K1.7billion grain-dryer

Admarc buys K1.7billion grain-dryer

State-owned produce marketer Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) limited is set to buy a grain-drying system from a Chinese firm, Zhengzhou Ugood Machinery Equipment Company Limited, at K1.68 billion.

This follows the completion of procurement processes under the Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets (PPDA) where the said company has been identified as the preferred bidder to supply ten grain dryers that will be used to drain maize and other produces.

Admarc headquarters in Blantyre

In a notice of intention to award a contract, Admarc said the company will be responsible for supply, delivery, installation, commissioning, user training and after-sale service of the new malt-grain dryers at a contract sum of K1 688 386 500.

Reads part of the notice: “Admarc wishes to inform the general public and all bidders who participated in the stated procurement that it has now finalised the procurement process and has identified the successful bidder.

“All bidders who wish to request for debriefing session may do so by writing within 14 days from the date of this notice as required by the PPDA Act.”

The procurement of the grain dryer system comes after years when Admarc was restricted from timely entry into the produce market as it was waiting for moisture content to drop to recommended levels thereby often-times leaving the entity at a risk of buying leftovers from traders.

On top of that, cases of produce like maize going bad on storage were common because the produce marketer could not regulate and reduce the moisture content of the grain it managed to purchase.

In a recent interview, Admarc chief executive officer Daniel Makata said in an interview that unlike the previous years’ it will start buying the produce early this year as he expects the drying system in the country this month.

“I can assure you that the dryers will be in the country in May so we are confident that we are entering the produce market timely this year because we will be able to dry the produce on our own. As you know, government allocated K40 billion to Admarc in 2024/25 fiscal year so we already have the funds for produce purchase hence our readiness to timely start produce purchasing.”

In an interview, agriculture expert who also chairs University Council of Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources Zachary Kasomekera described the development as positive saying without the technology huge losses are incurred from harvest period to storage.

Kasomekera said: “There are three phases which produce are lost because of technology challenges: during harvesting, during transportation and during storage and without such technologies, Admarc was exposed to all of them as it participates late on the market and often struggles to preserve the grain in storage.

“Some of the reasons of maize rotting while in storage is the issue of high moisture content.”

In a separate interview, agriculture policy expert Tamani Nkhono-Mvula said the dryers are effective in terms of meeting maize required temperature because they could manage to reduce the temperature by 3 percent which is enough for safer storage of the grain.

Nkhono-Mvula said usually moisture content during harvesting is around 15 percent which is higher than the 12.5 percent recommended level for maize storage hence dryiers intervention is critica

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