Smallholder farmers in the East Africa will now be able to sell their produce at favourable prices after an online trading platform was unveiled in Nairobi on Friday.
The platform, G-Soko, which links the farmers to grain buyers has been developed by a Kenyan-based IT firm Virtual City in partnership with the Eastern Africa Grain Council (EAGC) and the FoodTrade Eastern and Southern Africa organisation.
According to the council, the deal is part of a five-year trade enhancement and promotion programme.
Linking rural food production zones in East Africa to urban consumption centres requires a well-functioning regional market, said the council.
“We wanted to address this deficiency. This is why we developed G-Soko a market transaction platform that will enhance food trade across borders, and contribute towards making trading more transparent,” said EAGC executive director Gerald Masila.
Grain as collateral
Through G-Soko, farmers would aggregate their produce through a certified warehouse and also access financial services using their grain stocks as collateral.
G-Soko will help grain farmers in East Africa to trade competitively and transparently.
According to Virtual City managing director, Mr John Waibochi, the system addresses the challenge of inadequate funds by devising affordable exportimport financing plans.