Training for stakeholders involved in the setting up of the Ghana Commodity Exchange is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2012, the Minister of Trade and Industry, Ms Hanna Tetteh has disclosed.
She told the Daily Graphic in an interview that a team tasked with the preparation of regulations for the commodity exchange was almost through with its work.
Officials from the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange, the most successful such exchange in Africa, would be in the country to assist in training the stakeholders and personnel who would man the exchange, she added.
“We believe it is an important vehicle to encourage the cultivation of staple food crops and enable farmers to look at farming as a thriving business and agribusiness that has an easy market. We are hoping to start with staples; maize, rice and soya sorghum,” the Trade and Industry Minister explained
The implementing team from the trade ministry will work with the National Buffer Stock Management Agency, Ghana Grains Council and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to create another specialised trading platform for agricultural commodities.
That will go down as something that has brought a transformational change in agricultural trade in the country, she said, adding it would contribute to making agriculture an economically viable venture in the country.
“We are quite hopeful that if we are able to adhere strictly to the timetable set for ourselves, we should be able to get this done and operational by the end of 2012,” Ms Tetteh told the Daily Graphic.
The minister had told the Daily Graphic earlier that the exchange was expected to be in place by September 2012. The trade ministry, which is spearheading the setting up of the Commodity Exchange, is receiving support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), which helped to set up a similar infrastructure in Ethiopia.
The SEC has already conducted extensive feasibility study on the exchange, which the trade ministry is now pushing into a reality.
Besides guaranteeing ready market and income streams for farmers, the exchange would also serve as an employment avenue for many along the agricultural value chain. For example, the exchange in Ethiopia which trades in only two commodities – coffee and sesame seeds – is on record to be trading about $50 million a week, a feat far in excess of the average of $2 million that the Ghana Stock Exchange currently trades a week.
The exchange would be modelled after the Ethiopian exchange which operates on the Warehouse Receipt System fused with a Trading Platform.
This is where there are warehouses in different parts of the country into which grains from farmers associations or individual farmers are received, graded according to quality and assigned weights which would be used to price the products. The farmers are thereafter issued with receipts indicating that they have a certain amount of products in the warehouse available for trading.
When the commodities are traded, they are aware of the amount of grains available countrywide and the types of grades, where the buyers (licensed dealing members) could buy or sell.
To help determine the prices of commodities, the exchange would make use of technology, where farmers in any part of the country could send text messages to designated short codes to instantly access prevailing prices.
The price information would also be in voice messages in local dialects to take away the illiteracy challenge.
Some of the advantages of the warehouse receipt system include assurance of quality and quantity because of the proper system of storage and ascertaining the value.
Source: Daily Graphic