Online Platform Launched to Connect East African Farmers to Markets, Improve Incomes and Food Availability

August 04, 2015

The Eastern Africa Grain Council (EAGC) has launched an online trading platform that enables smallholder farmers to track their produce to warehouses and buyers via their mobile phones as well as interact directly with traders and bankers.

The G-Soko Market Platform, operating in Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania, addresses a key cause of food shortages: the inefficient exchange of food across the region and lack of access to markets by farmers.

G-Soko will ultimately link more than 250,000 farmers to the formal market, bringing structure and consistency to trade in maize, beans, and other staple foods, and facilitating title transfer, market transparency, and price discovery.

“This technology facilitates access to all stock and grades at any one time,” said Gerald Masila, executive director of the EAGC. “It has the potential to match buyers with sellers across the region.”

Coordination through this exchange is expected to cut down costs associated with identifying market outlets, physically inspecting product quality, and finding buyers or sellers. Specifically, G-Soko will:

  • Accelerate utilisation of grades and standards;
  • Certify up to 100 regional warehouses and extend use of a regional warehouse receipt mechanism;
  • Automate certified warehouses and link them to the e-trade platform involving all agents within the supply chain;
  • Provide real time, transparent market and trade information to inform buyers and sellers on spot market conditions regionally; and,
  • Enable farmers utilising the certified warehouses with a mechanism of accessing local financing from participating banks.

Once farmers are issued with a warehouse receipt, they can use the receipts as collateral to access financial services from partner banks, while still accessing a large market across Eastern Africa.

G-Soko was developed in partnership with the U.K. Department for International Development’s FoodTrade East and Southern Africa program, which is being implemented by DAI.

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