The GCX, the first modern commodity exchange in Ghana and West Africa, is aimed at establishing linkages between agricultural and commodity producers and buyers, and allow them to trade in quality and standardized produce to enable them obtain the full measure of their wealth.
Speaking at the launch in Accra, President Akufo-Addo said GCX would be one of the key drivers of realizing his government’s vision of becoming the agricultural hub of West Africa.
He said though Ghanaians farmers are responsible for feeding a nation of some 29 million people, they were not assured guaranteed incomes for their labour and efforts.
“On their own, some of them have to deal with commodity price volatilities and many possess little to no knowledge of the true value of their produce. Even worse is the fact that most transactions in the agricultural sector are conducted by word of mouth or handshake agreements. Most often, there are no formal contractual agreements in place, resulting in trade disputes which undermine our marketing system,” he said.
The non-existence of a national system for weighing and standardizing of the quality of commodities, the President noted, had given rise to the employment of costly solutions and alternatives in dealing with the major concerns of the industry.
With agricultural super-powers employing better ways to address these problems and satisfy both the producer and the buyer, he said it is time for Africa to focus on creating formal market institutions.
“The Ghana Commodity Exchange, the platform for buying and selling listed commodities, will, thus, become the first of its kind in West Africa, and one of only three operating on the African continent,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo said a decision has been made for the GCX, as a start, to trade in agricultural commodities, specifically with food security crops, with additional commodities set to be traded at the Exchange.
He said government would ensure that the GCX delivered on its mandate, promoted high productivity, price stability, increased exports, and reduced imports of commodities.
“The Exchange, in light of the emerging regional and continental free trade area can position Ghana as the premier West African global trading hub,” he said.
The President was of the view that with an estimated one million farmers set to be integrated on the GCX and its affiliated Warehouse Receipt System in the next 18 months, Ghanaian farmers would have access to secured storage for their harvest and good warehousing management practices.
He said farmers with the system would substantially reduce their post-harvest losses, and improve their take home sales, as well as have access to affordable short-term loans using their commodities as sole collateral, urging all to support the move.