The Eastern Africa Grain Council (EAGC), and the DFID funded FoodTrade East and Southern Africa Project (FoodTrade ESA), signed a grant agreement of 2,947,509 GBP (about US$ 4.4 million) for Phase II of the project on ‘Development of a Structured Grain Trade Systems East Africa’, at the Southern Sun Hotel, last Friday, 16th October, 2015.
The EAGC G-Soko Trading System is an electronic system comprising of a network of automated grain bulking/aggregation centres and certified warehouses, linked to a virtual trading platform, as well as participating banks for settlement and clearing and trading houses (grain buyers/millers) all regulated and administered by EAGC, under the law of contract and operating under defined set of protocols, procedures, rules and regulations.
Mr. Gerald Masila, the Executive Director EAGC during the signing said, “The key benefit of this project is a transformative grain trade system, that enables farmers and traders to trade transparently and competitively, while accessing best and fair market prices and reducing transaction costs”.
Phase I of the project (GBP 1,300,000) ran from January to July 2015, where the EAGC G-SOKO system was developed and launched for use by various stakeholders. During this initial phase, 22 warehouses were certified, 67 were inspected and are going through the certification process, over 26,000 Metric Tonnes of grains valued at approximately USD 1,000,000 and 10,000 farmers were linked to the EAGC G-SOKO System through village Aggregation centres.
FoodTrade ESA Team Leader, Mr Marc Van Uytvanck said, “FoodTrade ESA, has been keen to work with EAGC to support a platform that will support all traders to access all grain that is warehoused and graded”. He further stated that “through the EAGC G-SOKO platform, the grain sector will be able to overcome the ‘chaotic’ market conditions that have up to date required physical inspection of commodities in the region. The platform will also ensure better prices for the small scale farmers”.
The EAGC – GSOKO phase II, which will run from October 2015 to 2017, will focus on testing and adjusting the trade platform as warehouse certification continues to ensure more warehouses are enlisted on the platform. It is expected that during Phase II, over 100 certified warehouses will be automated and linked to the electronic market platform and over 250,000 smallholder farmers will be linked to the formal market which will result in increased incomes and volume of grain traded.