G-Soko, an online trading platform connecting farmers to markets and run by the Eastern Africa Grain Council (EAGC) said it has received $4.4 million grant to assist farmers and traders develop its grain trade system fully and add value to its users.
G-Soko received the grant from the DFID funded FoodTrade East and Southern Africa Project (FoodTrade ESA) for Phase II of the project on ‘Development of a Structured Grain Trade Systems East Africa’ to automate its processes.
The Executive Director EAGC, Mr. Gerald Masila, said: “The key benefit of this project is a transformative grain trade system, which enables farmers, and traders to trade transparently and competitively, while accessing best and fair market prices and reducing transaction costs.”
In its Phase I, G-Soko got approx. $2million which ran from January to July 2015, for its development and launch and signing up of users. The Phase I also saw the certification of 22 warehouses and 67 were inspected while 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.
“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,” FoodTrade ESA Team Leader, Mr Marc Van Uytvanck said.
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. Over 100 certified warehouses are expected to 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.
The EAGC G-Soko is an online system connecting 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 all regulated and administered by EAGC.