The Ghana Commodity Exchange (GCX), a trading platform for physical commodities and futures contracts, under the auspices of the Ministry of Finance, piloted trading operations on the April 24, 2018.
The Government of Ghana’s drive to support smallholder farmers, increase value along the agricultural value chain and provide export opportunities for Ghanaian commodities, has led to its investment in GCX, in its bid to structure the commodities market towards the eventual commencement of regular formal trading. This is being done by piloting the trading of maize in certain parts of the country, with maize stored in warehouses in Bonyo/Ejura in the Ashanti region and Sandema in the Upper West region.
GCX brought together sellers and buyers of maize from all parts of the country to participate in its first auction trade which took place in Kumasi. 126 farmers were involved and several amongst them sold 136,000 GHS of trade during two (2) trading sessions, using a Reserve Auction trading mechanism. Buyers of maize had the opportunity to purchase high quality maize (GCX grade 1) whilst sellers (mostly small holder farmers) received premium prices and are benefiting from access to a wider market for their goods. Both parties benefiting from low transaction costs, the model presents a sustainable alternative to low prices and margins.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dr Kadri Alfah explains, “GCX initiated this pilot trading operation largely to demonstrate our structured trading concept which includes; commodity quality testing, grading, weighing, packaging and standardization, and to prepare our farmers and other market actors for our planned electronic trading and electronic warehouse receipts (e-WR) later this year. We are learning from other commodity exchanges that failed in Africa because they did not plan ahead to get the market behind them prior to the establishment of the trading platform”.
With many more of these trading sessions planned, GCX intends to use this initiative to educate and train market actors including farmers, farmer cooperatives, traders, brokers, financial institutions, regulators and warehouse operators to get everyone involved from the beginning.
During the first trade, farmers of White Maize were provided the opportunity to deposit their commodities, and have them graded, where they conformed to meet national and international market standards, prior to sale in a GCX Reserve Auction trading floor. Title was transferred from sellers to buyers using highly controlled contracts. GCX has established a system of performance guarantees including guaranteeing the quality and quantity of the commodity traded, freeing the farmers from the risk of commodity losses.
According to the farmers who participated in the trade, the auction was a simple, transparent and beneficial process. They were happy to receive the support to weigh and grade their grains. Some of them said they didn’t know they had high quality grains and could receive a premium for it. They were also happy to be presented with buyers which saved them time and cost. The biggest surprise for them was that they received contracts for their trade, with the guarantee from GCX that they would receive their cash settlement within five (5) days of the trade. This is fully in line with GCX’s objectives to help farmers sell their products at fair and competitive prices by providing them with real time price and market information while facilitating their access to financial institutions for loans and financing opportunities.
GCX has come at the right time to support the Government’s “Growth and Transformation Plan” to double production of key stable crops, improve storage and improve the general wellbeing of Ghanaian farmers and the people of Ghana. GCX is expected to play a crucial role in supporting government initiatives such as the Ministry of Food and Agriculture’s “Planting for Food and Jobs” and the “One District One Warehouse” initiative. GCX will support these initiatives by collaborating to provide warehousing management and quality control systems.
About Reserve Auctions
The GCX trading mechanism used for the pilot was a Reserve Auction. Interested buyers had the opportunity to interact with the farmers to discover prices in a fair and transparent manner. A Reserve Auction is a payment against delivery system whereby the farmers ( sellers ) announce a minimum price for their product incorporating their production cost in the sale price. The buyers then put in a bid to match the farmers’ asking price, factoring in transportation and other costs. By so doing, both the buyers and sellers hedge against their cost in a win-win situation for all.
About Ghana Commodity Exchange (GCX)
GCX is a market / platform for buying and selling of commodities including agricultural products, with settlement done immediately after trading or in the future. GCX is regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission, and guarantees the quantity and quality of all products traded on the platform, and as such shields both buyers and sellers from physical and financial losses.
Article by: GCX
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