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AMPRIP Trade Forum
Issue No. 2
January 2007
Comesa: Agricultural Marketing Promotion and Regional Integration Project


Towards workable markets

Successfully enhancing trade growth and development goes beyond regional attempts at integration and gaining audience in world trade negotiations. It entails strengthening the basic structures of trade rural markets, and building on to them to create strong trading mechanisms that can be transformed into viable national and regional instruments that have presence in the world markets.

There is no doubt that the concept of free markets and fair trade is taking off in a number of African countries. At least for Malawi and Kenya, the cliché of market ineffi ciencies that were created following the liberalisation of trade and collapse of a number of public marketing institutions is almost fading. It is generally agreed that a market driven economy is a spring board for trade development and the private sector players in Malawi and Kenya are proving it. The private sector is redefi ning agricultural marketing and setting pace for the future of agricultural trade. They have given birth to a totally new agenda for the agricultural markets

The concept being used by the private players to promote trade is not new and initial successes are encouraging. Agricultural commodity exchanges are the tools at work . For Malawi , the Agricultural Commodity Exchange for Africa (ACE), and Malawi Agricultural Commodity Exchange, (MACE) have been set up as vehicles for promoting agricultural trade. In Kenya, the Kenya Agricultural Commodity Exchange, (KACE) has taken responsibility for agricultural marketing and just as in Malawi, is commanding progress in the sector.

Commodity Exchanges are operating on the principles of correcting information imbalances by creating price and commodity transparencies, effi cient brokerage of agricultural commodities and guidance through value addition chains in forward markets.

Enormous leaps of faith have been taken by private sector agencies to create a new direction in trade. Despite the challenges being faced, trade is beginning to work better for both the rural and commercial agricultural producers.

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