EAGC’s G-Soko Grain Trade Platform Officially Launched
The Eastern Africa Grain Council (EAGC) has been developing and promoting Structured Trade in Grains and Cereals in the Eastern Africa Region. The components/building blocks of Structured Trade include, Grades & Standards, Post-Harvest Handling and Management, Storage and Warehousing & Warehouse Receipt System (WRS) and a Trading Platform.
EAGC in partnership with Virtual City, a Kenya based IT Company, with the support of FoodTrade East and Southern Africa (Food Trade ESA) is enhancing regional trade by developing a private sector-driven structured trading platform called the G-Soko Platform that will engage smallholders. G-Soko links smallholder farmers to grain buyers across East Africa through a networked and structured market mechanism that utilises innovative technology to provide information on market opportunities, track goods, and connect buyers and sellers. G-Soko was launched this morning at an event in Nairobi, Kenya.
The model has been based on tested market structures such as aggregation centres and certified warehouses, which store bulk goods, ensure quality and provide storage and credit facilities. This system also helps farmers to access finance and to source higher quality inputs at more affordable prices. The platform is making large gains in improving market access, enhancing productivity and helping farmers to increase production, employment and income.
The principle aim of the G-Soko Platform is to facilitate trade between grain suppliers and buyers across the Eastern Africa region through a structured market mechanism. Specifically, the platform aims in particular to:
- Increase the utilisation of East African standards for grain commodities and products;
- Establish and strengthen producer aggregation centres that are linked with certified warehouses to incorporate smallholders in structured trade;
- Increase the number of regionally certified warehouses and extend the use of a warehouse receipts;
- Automate the operations of certified warehouses from grain intake to dispatch; > Link the warehouses to an electronic trading platform involving all the grain actors including traders, banks, suppliers and agro-dealers and;
- Provide efficient and transparent trade information that informs buyers and sellers on spot market conditions regionally.
G-Soko Benefits To Stakeholders:￼
- Access to credit while waiting for prices to increase. This is through pledging the electronic warehouse receipt with the banks and agro dealers;
- Reduced post-harvest losses through access to professional storage, cleaning, drying e.t.c;
- Improved price discovery since many rely on farm-gate prices that deliver cash at lower prices;
- Better volumes and economies of scale through consolidation of small produce by farmers;
- Supply of good quality produce due to standardized and proven grading, per EAC Standards
- Opportunity to improve margins to farmers with market driven prices as a result of improved access to formal markets.
- G-Soko platform guarantees availability of quality stocks. • Reduced need to carry out their own sampling to check quality, aflatoxins etc.
- Millers don’t have to buy and store all commodities at once at harvest season.
- Standardized and proven grading thus reducing need to carry out their own sampling to check quality.
- More reliable supplies of a known quality.
- Access to better markets-both local and regional. • Improved storage and handling facilities.
- Through structured trade finance, more money is available to traders to buy more grain stocks;
- Efficient and reliable trade information for decision making.