Grains farmers across the country, particularly the northern part, will have the opportunity to increase the value and returns from the farming activities with the construction of modern warehouses in parts of the country.
The Ghana Grains Council (GGC), a private sector body that is working to improve the grains sub-sector, has also started the implementation of a warehouse receipt system under which receipts are generated for farmers who deposit their produce at the warehouse.
Besides helping to curb post-harvest losses, the farmers are eligible to use the receipts covering the deposited grains as collateral to secure credit from financial institutions, thereby improving the cash flow of the farmer, who hitherto realised the value only after the produce were sold.
The Chairman of the Executive Council of GGC, Mr Tom Gambrah, disclosed this to the Daily Graphic on the sidelines of the association’s annual general meeting in Accra last Friday.
He said with a grant from the United States Agency for International Development (UAID) and ADVANCE Grants, the GGC had been able to construct 18 warehouses in various farming communities in the three northern regions as aggregation centres for grains.
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It also partnered a private sector grains dealer, Gundaa Produce Company, to construct a bigger warehouse with capacity of 500 tonnes in Tamale for maize, soya and rice with the aim to improving the quality of grains through proper handling, as well as reducing post-harvest losses.
Mr Gambrah said when grains arrived at the warehouse in Tamale, they were graded and those who wanted receipts to cover their deposits were given, with the use of warehouse receipt software designed locally.
The grading, done according to quality standards, assigns different values to the grains, another incentive for farmers to desire and strive to reach the highest grades.
The Chairman of the GGC, who is also the Managing Director of Premium Foods, a produce buying company, said the warehouse receipt system had since its inauguration last year issued receipts to cover over 29,000 tonnes of grains. Holders of the receipts have been able to access credit worth GH¢2.2 million.
The system is a precondition for a commodity exchange. The Ministry of Trade and Industry had set the close of last year for the establishment of a commodity exchange based on the warehouse receipt system.
On the operations of GGC for last year, Mr Gambrah said it recorded a surplus of GH¢71,854 for the year and increased membership from 14 to 54 as of this month.
The meeting also elected a lawyer, Mr Andrew Acheampong-Kyei of GLICO Gen, to the executive council.
By Samuel Doe Ablordeppey/Daily Graphic/Ghana