Farmers under co-operatives will no longer find it hard to trade their produce through Kigali-based East African Exchange (EAX), thanks to the skills they acquired during a two-day training programme last week.
According to a statement from EAX, over 5,000 small-scale maize and bean farmers from 28 co-operatives in Kayonza and Rwamagana districts, Eastern Province were trained in the operations of commodities market as part of efforts aimed at enhancing their capacity and participation on EAX.
The next harvest season, when surplus is usually recorded, starts in January. With the training, farmers, who normally sell at giveaway prices during the harvest, will be able to sell at better prices on EAX and improve their livelihoods in the long-run.
The EAX, which was launched last year, buys from farmers during harvest time and stores the produce in its warehouses countrywide, and later trades it through the commodity trading platform, Nasdaq, at favourable prices. The exchange has been working with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rwanda Cooperative Agency to identify 10 districts, where there are large concentrations of co-operatives dealing in maize and beans.
The farmer co-operatives are now registered members of the exchange, which is regulated by the Rwanda Capital Markets Authority.
Each farmer is supposed to pay a one-off Rwf200 membership fee, with benefits like free post-harvest management training, access to depositing produce in EAX warehouses across the country, access to price and market information and free linkage to markets in the East African Community bloc through the Nasdaq trading platform.
Kadri Alpha, the EAX country manager, said the platform is efficient and transparent, eliminates speculation from middlemen and assures farmers of a better and ready market for their produce. EAX is also training brokers and traders to represent farmers to trade produce at the exchange.