The Juaben Food Bank, a Ghanaian agro-processing company, has constructed a warehouse to support about 20,000 farmers in Juaben and its environs in the Ashanti Region.
The 1,000-tonne capacity facility, which has been constructed under the One district, One factory initiative, will allow farmers of maize and rice in Ejisu, Effiduase, Kumawu and other communities to store their produce and later trade the grains through the Ghana Commodity Exchange.
By this, the farmers would gain ready access to markets and this would enable them to earn decent incomes and also help them to reduce post-harvest losses.
The Juaben Food Bank has, therefore, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which will enable the farmers to trade their produce on the Ghana Commodity Exchange.
The Executive Chairman of the Juaben Food Bank, Nana Abeyie Siriboe, signed on behalf of the agro-processing company while the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana Commodity Exchange, Dr Kadri Alfah, initialled for his outfit.
Per the agreement, Ghana Commodity Exchange would operate the warehouse and provide services such as sampling, grading and quality assurance to farmers.
Nana Siriboe described the agreement as a strategic partnership that would boost the morale of farmers to cultivate more grains and other food crops to ensure food security.
He noted that the agro-processing company was being operated with a vision to serve the ultimate interest of farmers in Juaben and its surrounding communities.
“Our vision is to run an agro-processing business where we process maize into grits, cassava into gari, mill rice and process animal food with up to 5,000 tonne of storage capacity for storage commodities”.
“Currently, our 1,000-tonne warehouse has a processing unit that processes maize from drying, cleaning and grading, and we also have a rice processing machine which will start operations in the middle of this month,” Nana Siriboe added.
He expressed optimism that with the efforts to boost rice cultivation in the country, the Ghana Commodity Exchange would list rice as one of the major commodities by the end of March 2020, giving an assurance that “we are in the process of making ourselves readily available for them so we can support Juaben and other communities.”
For his part, Dr Alfah expressed the hope that the warehouse would enable farmers in Juaben and its surrounding communities to trade their produce with the Commodity Exchange and get better prices.
“The grains of farmers will be packaged into standard 50 kg bags to increase their market appeal and farmers will be able to access credit through the warehouse receipt which will be issued by the Ghana Commodity Exchange,” he stated.
He indicated that currently, the Commodity Exchange was trading in maize, soyabean, sorghum, sesame seeds, adding that soon, cashew and rice would be included in the national warehousing program.
Dr. Alfah added that the company also had a database of buyers who could buy from farmers and that steps had been initiated to safeguard the investment farmers were making to reduce post-harvest losses.
“We will help them manage their quality to ensure that the commodities that they are harvesting are right in content, not infested with insects or aflatoxins and other microorganisms that will undermine their market and we will also ensure that we can bring some financial services to them through our systems,” he stated.