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EA grain farmers get online platform boost

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Richard Sezibera
Richard Sezibera

 

 

Grain farmers in East Africa will be able to sell their produce at competitive prices, following the launch of an online platform to ease marketing.

According to an EAC release, the platform dubbed G-Soko was developed by a Kenyan company, Virtual City in partnership with the Eastern Africa Grain Council (EAGC) and the Food Trade Eastern and Southern Africa Organization.

The Secretary General of the East African Community, Amb. Dr. Richard Sezibera commended EAGC for partnering with the Secretariat to implement the EAC Food Security Action Plan, which is the EAC strategy to achieve food security in the region.

Dr Sezibera, who was represented by the Director for Productive Sectors Mr. Jean Baptiste Havugimana, also hailed the EAGC for the online initiative.

“EAC 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 EAC SG was quoted as saying.

Speaking at the same occasion, the Executive Director of EAGC, Mr. Gerald Masila disclosed that G-Soko was part of a five-year trade enhancement and promotion programme in the region. He said 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 be able to access credit while waiting for prices to increase through pledging the electronic warehouse receipt with the banks and agro-dealers.

‘The farmers will also benefit from reduced post-harvest losses through access to professional storage, cleaning, drying and will benefit from improved prices discovery since many of them rely on farm-gate prices that deliver cash at lower prices,’ the release states.

The Director of Agriculture in the Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Kenya commended the initiative saying: “We have seen very positive changes in the breadth and depth of the EAC integration and this is encouraging as we all hope to reap the benefits of regional integration”.

 The G-Soko is now operational in Uganda and Kenya, and arrangements are underway to extend the system to Tanzania and Rwanda before the Grains Farmers Summit scheduled to take place in Rwanda in early October 2015.

 

 

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