GHANA – The Ghana Commodity Exchange revealed that it has completed feasibility studies into the local rice market ahead of the listing of the commodity on the exchange later this year.

The move, which seeks to increase Ghana’s rice production and export , will bring the number of listed commodities on the exchange to three, including maize and soya bean.

Chief Executive of the Ghana Commodity Exchange, Alpha Kadri says that the Exchange will provide necessary infrastructure to support the commodity’s trading at the exchange.

According to a GhanaWeb report, local producers have been struggling with several including lack of quality control mechanisms, lack of access to credit, low-level infrastructure such as warehousing and unregulated pricing which have been impeding optimal productivity.

Lack of policies to effectively regulate the entire rice value chain has also been cited as some of the major challenge players in the sector experience.

Currently, Ghana produces 450,000 tons of rice annually against its annual demand of more than one million of tons. The country’s annual rice import bill currently stands at about US$1 billion.

Kadri noted that quality control and warehousing system will be two of the key things his outfit will look out for before the trading of rice begins.

“We will provide the needed platform for the farmers to sell their produce, get them the warehouses to store them and also ensure they meet the right standard.

“ With this arrangement, they should be able to use their stock as collateral to take loans from the bank to expand their farms to increase yield,” Dr. Kadri said.

The commodity exchange has also signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the John Agyekum Kuffour (JAK) Foundation and the Ghana Rice Inter-Professional Body, to expand the rice industry in the country.

Chief Executive Officer of the JAK Foundation, Prof. Agyeman-Duah explained that his outfit’s interest in the rice industry is due to former President John Kuffour’s interest in the agricultural sector.

“Our contribution to this course is the education of farmers to sensitize them on the opportunities there are in getting their produce sold on the exchange.It will give them better pricing and some assurance,” he stated.

The GCX is also awaiting approval from the regulator, the Securities and Exchange Commission for the trading of rice to start. Trading of sorghum and sesame seed is scheduled to begin in September.