As Africa’s smallholder farmers are becoming increasingly active players in value chains, there is a corresponding and urgent need to develop more sophisticated trading systems for staple commodities across the continent. There are huge advantages to everyone involved from improving and integrating systems and institutions: farmers, traders, warehouse managers and processors will be able to produce, trade and market products more efficiently and cost effectively. Presented with numerous step-by-step figures, tables and boxed examples, this manual clearly describes how structured trading systems work for Africa’s most important staples. These include grains such as maize, sorghum and millet, as well as commodities such as groundnuts and soybeans. The manual demonstrates how the system works, from postharvest handling and warehousing to trading on a commodity exchange. It explains the mysteries of standards and how market information is used, and goes on to explore the details of trade contracts and dispute resolution.
With a useful glossary of terms and a wealth of references to further information, this publication provides a valuable to guide to all those involved in creating and running structured trading systems, as well as policy-makers aiming to modernise trading in Africa.