Online Trading Platform for Grain Farmers in Kenya
For the first time, grain farmers in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania will be able to sell their produce and connect with buyers online. This follows the launch of the G-Soko online trading platform that will connect farmers to grain buyers in the region. According to the Eastern Africa Grain Council executive director Gerald Masila, G-Soko will enable smallholder farmers in East Africa to sell their produce at favourable prices.
"Linking rural food production zones in East Africa to urban consumption centres requires a well-functioning regional market and that by adhering to the system, farmers in the region will, among others, be able to access credit while waiting for prices to increase through pledging the electronic warehouse receipt with the banks and agro-dealers," said Masila. Masila said the platform is part of a five-year trade enhancement and promotion programme in the region which will help in reducing post-harvest losses.
"Farmers will benefit through access to professional storage, cleaning, drying and from improved prices discovery since many of them rely on farm-gate prices that deliver cash at lower prices. The system guarantees availability of quality stocks, standardised and proven grading for millers, thus reducing need to carry out sampling to check quality," he said.
Masila said there is need to expand regional food trade in an inclusive and effective way due to the exponential growth of staple food imports. "G-Soko will enhance food trade across borders and contribute towards making trading more transparent," said Masila.
Speaking at the launch of the platform, East African Community secretary general Richard Sezibera pledged continued support in automating agricultural crops trading systems and processes to reduce commercialisation cost and all related challenges and bridge the gap between farmers, traders and consumers for increased food security in the region.
The platform was developed by Virtual City, a Kenyan-based IT firm in partnership with EAGC and the Food Trade Eastern and Southern Africa Organisation.
The online platform is currently operational in Uganda and Kenya, and plans are underway to extend the system to Tanzania and Rwanda before the Grains Farmers Summit scheduled to take place in Rwanda in early October.
Source: The Star 11th August 2015