The Ghana Commodity Exchange (GCX) has commenced trading of rice on its electronic trading platform.
This brings the number of commodities traded on the exchange to five, with the four others being maize, soya bean, sorghum and sesame.
The GCX was established two years ago to help transform and standardise commodity trading in the country.
At the launch of the programme in Accra, the Chief Operating Officer of the GCX, Mr Robert Dowuono Owoo, said it was a structured marketplace where buyers and sellers of agricultural commodities met to transact business using modern and innovative technology.
He said the local rice industry was very key to the commodity value chain, since almost all regions in the country cultivated rice, a staple food.
He said it was, therefore, necessary for the industry to be well developed to ensure that the rice value chain benefited from the marketing structures put in place by the GCX, adding: “I hope this will be a win-win situation for everyone in the local rice value chain.”
The Chief Executive Officer of the GCX, Mrs Tucci Goka Ivowi, said since its inception in 2018, the exchange had been working with key stakeholders to develop commodity value chains to add value to the lives of farmers by creating a transparent and fair market.
She said the establishment would support rice farmers to reduce post-harvest losses, have access to affordable drying, cleaning and weighing facilities, while selling their commodity by weight and grade and also packaging it to increase appeal, as well as have access to the financial market through its warehouse receipt system.
“This will enable farmers to gain access to affordable credit using their commodity as collateral. Rice farmers will also benefit from a modern, efficient trading platform where they can be linked to a larger pool of buyers.
“They will receive prompt payment 24 hours after selling, and also have access to price information that will help them make sales decisions. The grains will also be insured against quality degradation and natural disasters,” he added.
For buyers, she said, the exchange would guarantee the quality and the quantity of the commodities they purchased.
‘They will also receive assurance on food safety and traceability to where commodities are produced. In addition, buyers can easily find sellers, thereby reducing their marketing and transaction cost,” Mrs Ivowi added.
The Vice-President of the Commodity Brokers Association, Mr Jeffery Nkansah, said as brokers, the critical challenge they faced in mobilising grains for export was quality.
According to him, it was difficult for them to guarantee constant quality in terms of moisture content and aflatoxins when they were aggregating from smallholder farmers.
“So the introduction of the exchange is a timely intervention to ensure that quality is guaranteed for us from the warehouse. Once we have joined the exchange, we can see our business grow because now we can take on constant orders from our clients without necessarily bothering about quality.
“Ghana has strong prospects for local rice, but this has failed to materialise. As we launch the trading of rice, we believe this will be a critical step in developing the needed local infrastructure to support the production and eating of rice,” he said.