Farmers in the Builsa District have praised the Warehouse Receipt System (WRS) and the Ghana Commodity Exchange (GCX) as one of the best agricultural commodity marketing method to relieve hard working farmers of the drudgery and post-harvest losses experienced annually.
In an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA), Mr Akparik Azikoora, a farmer at Sandema, said the new system had the potential to boost trade and improve on his income and those of his colleagues.
Mr Azikoora who is resident of Belinmuasa near Chuchuliga said he had 64 bags of maize in stock at the Warehouse at Sandema and indicated that the new system was preferred, since it provided surety and better price, compared to selling on the open market.
"when we send our maize to the market, traders do not give us good prices, so we prefer bringing our produce to the warehouse and depend on the buyers trading through the GCX for better prices". Mr Azikoora added.
Mr Azikoora who is a member of the 'Azulichaab' farmers group in Bilimuasa said he made GH¢6,000.00 from his 28-acre maize farm last year and indicated that the income supported him in the payment of his wards fees, family needs and operational costs.
He said through trainings organised by the GCX for farmers in the area, they were able to maintain standards of grains to meet the requirement needed for the GCX, and expressed the hope that his income for the next cropping season would increase, adding that his new 35-acre farm for the cultivation of maize would improve his earnings.
Mr Azikoora expressed worry about transport cost and distance to the only warehouse, and called on government to build more warehouses in the district since the only available one could not contain all the produce of farmers.
Mr Solomon Akanpisi, the Warehouse keeper, noted that 250 metric tons of grade 1 maize was currently in store and there was brisk agribusiness on-going since the beginning of the commodity exchange market.
Mr Akanpisi said 110 farmers had stored their maize at the warehouse, adding that out of the number 89 of them were women with some of them coming from the Builsa north, Builsa south and Nakong in the Kassena-Nankana Municipality.
According to him 15 of the farmers with grains between 50 and 80 metric tons have accessed loans through various financial institutions using the WRS as their collateral.
He noted that the warehouse is a platform for marketing both maize and soya beans, whilst ensuring good standards for the exchange.
He said through sensitisation, the farmers were empowered to make decisions on the exchange prices and stressed that farmers whose produce were sold already were happy with the prices.
He said even though more farmers were yet to know about the GCX, efforts were being made by staff and partners to sensitise more farmers to participate in the structured trading to improve on their income levels.
The WRS is a basic step that provides a proof of depositors and affirm they have certain weight and quality of a certain commodity in a specific warehouse, which also provides the depositor access to a bank loan if the receipt is accepted as a collateral.
In determining the grains for acceptance at the exchange, some procedures also follow to ensure cleanliness of the grain, moisture content and checking insect infestation to avoid the grains getting bad before it can be accepted.
There are also other levels of checks to determine the grading levels of the produce.
A depositor who wants to remain a trader at the exchange can send request to the GCX to sell off when satisfied with prevailing prices and within 24 hours the depositor is paid his or her money.