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The Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Carlos Ahenkorah on Friday said, the Warehouse Receipt System (WRS)is an integral part of agricultural trade and financing and very important for agricultural development.

He said the system, would improve storage, promotes structured trade and enhance financing, is expected to reduce risk of contract and performance defaults in agricultural trade and facilitate competitive financing with agricultural commodities as collateral.

Speaking at the launch of WRS, he said the project would allow producers to select the best time to sell their products, adding, “an important characteristic of the system necessary for consumer protection is the security it provides a buyer

The WRS was jointly launched by The Ministry of Trade and Industry, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Ghana Commodity Exchange and the Embassy of Switzerland.

      The project was funded by Switzerland through the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs in line with government’s agenda to improve financial inclusion of farmers and provide avenue for them to market selected harvests from the planting for food and jobs programmes.

“When a receipt is offered for sale, the buyer knows that the underlying commodity is in secure storage and being managed professionally.

The buyer knows that he will get the quantity and quality stated on the receipt and that it is guaranteed by the storage facility operator,” Mr Ahenkorah said.

He said: “The system is core to export diversification and development agenda and we believe that this initiative has the potential to increase farmers’ incomes, reduce poverty and drive other sectors of the economy.”

“Agriculture remains one of the key sectors prioritised by government to expand exports and promote a sustained approach to poverty reduction.

Structured trade reforms achieved through the implementation of the National Trade Policy have addressed some constraints affecting the production, quality and distribution of agricultural products,” he said.

Mr Ahenkorah said ensuring that agricultural commodity produced are stored properly and traded in a structured manner to avoid chaos in the market was key to the successful implementation of these policies.

      He said the system provides an avenue to develop a more robust database of agro-export products, for policy makers and they could effectively track what tonnages are being exported and which commodities are meant for export when export and export financing is done through the system.

Agricultural market operators would also experience an increased flow of more reliable and relevant market information for the purposes of business planning and strategy.

On his part, Mr Ronke-Amoni Ogunsulire, the IFC Country Manager for Ghana indicated that some of the biggest constraints facing farmers in Ghana were low collateral value on inventories, post-harvest losses and quality deterioration due to the lack of storage facilities, suboptimal prices for goods due to early selling, non-availability of quality assurance and access to credit.

      Mr Ogunsulire said, “A regularised WRS and collateral management would help improve the above issues.”

      He said the system would improve the business environment for the small-scale business sector.

      In his remark, Mr Markus Dutly, the Swiss Ambassador to Ghana said “The results of this project are expected to greatly contribute to improving the competitiveness and diversification of the economy in Ghana and compliment Switzerland’s engagement towards this goal”.

      The project is also in line with IFC Africa strategy engagements in the bolster economic diversification that calls for the IFC to support smallholder farmers and the agriculture supply chain with the aim of improving efficiency, competitiveness and facilitating commercialisation.

GNA/newsghana.com.gh

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