Ghana Opens Commodities Bourse in Push to Lift Farmer Income

(Bloomberg) -- Ghana is opening its first commodities exchange as the West African nation seeks to raise the income of farmers by connecting them with buyers for their produce, eliminating crop wastage.

The Ghana Commodities Exchange will Tuesday begin facilitating trade in yellow and white corn, soybeans and sorghum, Chief Executive Officer Kadri Alfah said in a phone interview Monday from the capital, Accra. The state-owned bourse will allow mostly small-scale farmers to deliver as little as one metric ton of produce to warehouses and be paid within a day after a transaction, he said.

Until now, producers have often lost more than two-thirds of their harvests due to a failure to find buyers in time, Victoria Adongo, an official of the Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana, said by phone.

The government of President Nana Akufo-Addo has earmarked agriculture for the creation of jobs and economic growth. The sector expanded by 6.1 percent in 2017, from 2.9 percent the year before, accounting for more than a fifth of gross domestic product.

The exchange is forecasting to trade 30,000 tons to 50,000 tons of produce within the first year, said Alfah. While Ghana is the world’s second-biggest cocoa producer, the chocolate ingredient will at first be excluded from the exchange as farmers’ access to markets are already well developed, requiring more studies on how to offer a beneficial service to growers and buyers, he said.

Eventually, the exchange would want all local cocoa buyers to source their beans through the bourse, said Alfah.

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