Comesa mulls agric commodity exchange

19 Apr, 2022 - 00:04 0 Views
Comesa mulls agric commodity exchange John Mukuka

The Herald

Oliver Kazunga

Senior Business Reporter

THE Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) intends to set up an agricultural commodity exchange centre that will link and improve smallholder farmers’ access to markets.

Comesa is a 21-member trading bloc, which Zimbabwe is part of.

The establishment of the Agricultural Commodity Exchange Centre is part of the implementation of the 2021-2031 Alliance for Commodity Trade in East and Southern Africa (ACTESA) strategy.

“The centre shall link small-scale farmers to national, regional and international markets within Comesa, the East African Community (EAC and the Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc) tripartite framework and later the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA),” said Comesa in a statement.

According to ACTESA chief executive officer, Dr John Mukuka, the centre will provide a platform for buyers and sellers to conduct business of their agricultural products through a team of brokers.

Once established, it is hoped that the commodity exchange will reduce transaction costs by accommodating people actively involved in the production, trade, processing and consumption of commodities.

“A physical venue involves brokers meeting for trading sessions in a room or ‘exchange floor’, and trading by ‘open outcry’.

“A virtual venue is where brokers use remote computer terminals to trade through a central exchange facility to which they are linked electronically,” Dr Mukuka was quoted as saying this during a meeting with the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) deputy president in charge of policy and state capability Mr Apollos Nwafor, who was on a visit to Comesa recently.

The commodity exchange is expected to improve agricultural productivity which the ACTESA says has gone down and needed a boost by providing access to regional agricultural markets.

“This entails support and training to existing national commodity exchanges and strengthening their systems and improving their operations, then linking them virtually or to the spot market where necessary. This shall be included in the working with AGRA in their new 2022-2027 strategy,” said Dr Mukuka.

Other key areas of ACTESA interventions include support to seed companies using Comesa regional seed labels in seed trade, annual renewal of Comesa varieties on the Comesa Variety Catalogue and harmonisation of fertilizer policies/regulations, standards, quality assurance and market development in the bloc’s member States.

Thereafter, a finance mechanism will be established for bulk manufacturing and procurement of fertilizers and distribution in the Comesa countries.

ACTESA is a specialised agency of Comesa, established in 2009 to facilitate the integration of and improved regional competitiveness of staple food markets across the region with the ultimate goal of achieving broad-based growth and decreased food insecurity.

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