The Eastern Africa Grain Council (EAGC) together with UK-funded FoodTrade East and Southern Africa (FoodTrade ESA), introduced the G-Soko Grain Trade Business Directory on Wednesday on the sidelines of the fourteenth session of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD 14).
The launch of the inaugural edition of the new grain directory was officiated by the EAC Secretary General Representative of Customs and Trade, Peter Kiguta, EAGC Executive Director, Gerald Masila and FoodTrade ESA Market Systems Expert, Isaac Tallam.
Established by the EAGC, and funded by FoodTrade ESA, the G-Soko Grain Trade Business Directory is a product of the innovative G-Soko Grain Trading System, that aims to increase regional market efficiency and structure trade, as well as facilitate the sharing of information between all grain actors within the value chain in the member countries in the Tripartite Free Trade Area.
The G-Soko Grain Trade Business Directory features detailed listings of EAGC members by sector, country and job title, whilst also providing an overview of participant business activities with regards to grains handled within the value chain. Users are also offered advertising opportunities should they wish to create greater visibility for their products. The directory also innovatively highlights what stock a particular farmer, producer or group has to offer for trade through the wider G-Soko Grain Trading System.
Speaking at the formal launch, EAGC Executive Director Gerald Masila said, “The G-Soko Grain Trade Business Directory showcases our decade strong desire in advocating for and facilitating an efficient, structured, inclusive and profitable grain trade in the Eastern Africa region. Through this latest service, users of our G-Soko Grain Trading System will have a new level of transparency and information in order to better leverage the plethora of available opportunities, service and products for grain trade business in the region and across the value chain.”
The G-Soko Grain Trade Business Directory has been designed to address key issues flagged by sector players – spanning farmers, traders, processors, millers and financial institutions -, which has included the need for easier and comprehensive access to relevant trade information within the grain industry.
FoodTrade ESA Market Systems Expert, Isaac Tallam commented, “The G-Soko platform is key to consolidating the outputs of our grantees that have targeted interventions along various points of the staple food value chains. Grantees will link their beneficiaries to the G-Soko system, integrating smallholder farmers into structured trade systems, enabling them to trade their produce seamlessly across the region.
The G-Soko Grain Trade Business Directory will be key to further opening up the flow of information both on the online platform, as well as within the greater G-Soko ecosystem. By building strong links between producers and private sector grain traders along these value chains, we will support smallholder farmers to earn better livelihoods. Having better access to buyers will provide them flexibility in the sale of their produce, and incentivise them to grow higher and better quality yields.”
In order to increase the reach and circulation of the directory, an electronic version will be available on the EAGC website, and a mobile application will also be available.