By Agnes Ansah .
Small-holder farmers, sellers and buyers of commodities can have the opportunity to engage in quality and timely delivery of services as the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, outdoors the Ghana Commodity Exchange (GCX) to commence operations today.
According to Mr Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, Minister of Information, the GCX, which is a platform to link sellers and buyers, would enable sellers to gain access to multiple and premium buyers, guarantee prompt payment of commodities, and provide them with storage facilities.
“There is also access to financial services and risk management tools, including insurance, and the opportunity for sellers to determine the prices of their goods.”
On the other hand, buyers would gain access to quality products and lower transaction costs due to better coordination of commodities, Mr Oppong Nkrumah observed.
He made this known to journalists at a news briefing in Accra yesterday.
Throwing light on the operations of GCX, the Minister indicated that the organisation would trade in staple foods, including maize, soybean, rice, dry beans, millet, sorghum and groundnuts, in the first twelve months, while the government puts plans in place to ensure that they trade in cashew, cocoa, timber, shear-butter and vegetables after the first year.
“The organisation would then trade in metals, minerals, petroleum and gas after three years,” he added.
Mr Oppong Nkrumah observed that there was the need for a commodity exchange, because it would provide an end to end system that will address the needs of all farmers.
He indicated that the initiative would reduce post-harvest losses and ensure better distribution of harvests.
“It would also enable small-holder famers and traders to use commodities as collateral for loans, but put measures in place to ensure that contracts are forced,” he added.
Perusing the differences between the initiative and the Ghana Grains Council (GCC), the Minister opined that there wouldn’t be a duplication of functions, because the two are different entities with different assignments.
He said the GCC was established to set standards for the grain industry, while the GCX is a market that links members to trade, hence there wouldn’t be a duplication of functions.
The Minister indicated that it was important to commence operations now to enable small holder farmers get the needed support from the government and donor organisations to sustain itself before the private sector takes over.