The Rwanda Cooperatives Agency (RCA) has launched a country-wide sensitisation drive to encourage cereal and grain farmers to sell their produce through the East African Exchange (EAX).
Speaking in an interview with Business Times, Gilbert Habyarimana, RCA deputy director general, said they were educating farmers on the benefits of using the exchange which has so far attracted 28 co-operatives with a 16,800 strong membership.
The EAX grain trading, launched last month by Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta in Kigali, uses the Nasdaq electronic trading platform that can detect and link real-time global prices to provide East Africa's small-scale farmers access to agricultural and financial markets.
The EAX also runs an electronic warehouse receipt system that collateralises produce and enables smallholder farmers to acquire credit from banks.
Habyarimana urged farmers to use EAX because its warehouse receipt system allows them to access finance from banks and ensures that they have adequate cash-flow throughout the year.
"Co-operatives lack good facilities to store produce and sell when there are better prices," he said.
He added that apart from targeting co-operatives that have large quantities of cereal and grains, they were also urging smallholder farmers across the country to use the platform.
"The overall aim is to enable farmers earn more from their produce which will encourage them to produce more," he said.
He acknowledged that since it is a new produce marketing approach in the country, it will take a while for all farmers to embrace it.