Commodity Management

Providing Innovative Management of Donated U.S. Agricultural Commodities

History of Leadership in Commodity Management

ACDI/VOCA is a global leader in the innovative and proficient management of donated U.S. agricultural com­modities under both United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) food aid programs. Since 1989, ACDI/VOCA has managed food aid programs in numerous countries in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America to promote global food security.

ACDI/VOCA has monetized over 1,200,000 metric tons (MT) of commodities valued at more than $383 million. Monetization is the sale of donated U.S. goods in the recipient countries with the proceeds used by the NGO that oversees the project for economic development. ACDI/VOCA has also distributed over 94,000 MT of nonfat dried milk, cornmeal, rice, corn-soy blend, veg­etable oil and other foods.

Other NGOs, or, as they are known in food aid parlance, private voluntary organizations or PVOs, have turned to ACDI/VOCA for this specialized expertise. We have managed commod­ity shipments or monetized commodities for Africare, Catholic Relief Services, World Vision, CARE, Winrock, TechnoServe, FINCA, Land O’Lakes, the U.S. Poultry and Egg Council, USAID and others. ACDI/VOCA has also performed market analyses for other PVOs.

ACDI/VOCA also conducts direct distribution of food rations to beneficiaries in need. This experience includes development projects as well as post-disaster responses, and has taken the form of food for work, nutrition for people living with HIV/AIDS, vulnerable group feeding, and providing food to pregnant and lactating women and their children up to two years old (PM2A).

We promote the use of prepackaged ration kits in distribution programs. This method leads to a more efficient, consumer-friendly distribution and was highlighted as a best practice in an evaluation by an independent consultant, who examined the commodity management methods of three major PVOs.

ACDI/VOCA Commodity Management Services

ACDI/VOCA personnel includes logistics coordinators, ware­house managers and sales agents with combined experience of 75+ years in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Latin America and the NIS. Our experienced professionals are available to:

  • Conduct market assessments to determine appropriate commodities and tonnage levels for program design
  • Identify appropri­ate sales methodology including negotiated sales, small-lot sales, sealed bid and outcry auctions, and combinations thereof, to maximize generation of proceeds and developmental impact while minimizing risk
  • Identify potential buyers and manage the sales process from beginning to end
  • Manage logistics of commodity ship­ments in conjunction with donors, freight forwarders, shipping agents and buyers for both distribution and monetization
  • Prepare documents for do­nors, buyers, governments and other entities involved in commodity sales
  • Provide commodity management training to orga­nization or government staff

Examples of Commodity Management Experience

Bangladesh: monetizing more than 58,470 MT of wheat and distributing more than 5,200 MT of Title II commodities targeted to maternal and child nutritional

Cape Verde: monetizing more than 220,000 MT of USAID Title II commodities from 1992–2008 to fund development programs projects to support local food production and preclude the need for relief

Ecuador: monetizing 21,000 MT of wheat under USDA Food for Progress

Ethiopia: monetizing 20,000 MT of wheat under Food for Progress

Georgia: monetizing to support ACDI/VOCA development programs and, in addition, 15,000 MT of wheat under Food for Progress for another PVO

Haiti: distributing more than 10,760 MT of food under a Title II maternal and child health and nutrition program, and 1,600 MT of food and emergency rations in response to the 2008 hurricanes and 2010 earthquake

Indonesia: monetizing more than 90,000 MT of soybean meal under Food for Progress and 416(b) programs, and an additional 70,000 MT for other PVOs

Kyrgyzstan: conducting open-call auctions to monetize 19,440 MT of hard red winter wheat

Liberia: monetizing more than 28,630 MT of parboiled rice, 4,130 MT of wheat, 1,000 MT of bread flour and 1,000 MT of vegetable oil earning over $9,956,000 for a USDA cocoa development program and more than $9,387,000 for Title II programming; distributing more than 4,200 MT of commodities in two counties to pregnant and lactating women and their children up to two years old (PM2A)

Philippines: monetizing 24,800 MT of soybean meal under Food for Progress

Rwanda: monetizing over 62,000 MT of USAID Title II commodities under an ACDI/VOCA program and on behalf of USAID and other PVOs since 1998

Sierra Leone: monetizing 13,170 MT of parboiled and milled rice, 13,000 MT of bread flour and wheat for Title II programming; distributing more than 6,000 MT of commodities in four districts to pregnant and lactating women and their children up to two years old (PM2A)

Tanzania: conducting a market analysis on behalf of another PVO that was used as part of a funding proposal

Uganda: since 1989 monetizing 174,000 MT of USAID Title II commodities on behalf of other PVOs and almost 173,500 MT for ACDI/VOCA’s own pro­grams, and distributing more than 56,000 MT of commodities to people living with HIV, a USDA school feeding program and pregnant and lactating women and their children up to two years old (PM2A)

Vietnam: monetizing 25,000 MT of soybean meal under Food for Progress

West Bank/Gaza: monetizing more than 127,000 MT of wheat and corn under two USDA-funded 416(b) programs

Zimbabwe: distributing more than 2,600 MT of commodities in support of a vulnerable feeding program as subrecipient to CRS under a Title II emergency program

Managing these large-scale transactions in various international settings under a jumble of U.S. food aid projects requires a specialized skill set and hard-won experience. Over 50 years of work in food security, ACDI/VOCA has developed unmatched expertise at handling food aid transactions that optimally benefit those who most need food.

For more information contact Barry T. Elkin at

Commodity Management

ACDI/VOCA: A Global Leader in Commodity Management
A comprehensive list of our skills and experience managing commodities around the world (PDF, 2 MB)