Recently, agricultural commodities’ prices have declined, a situation said to have been driven by the global financial crisis, emerging world recession, falling oil prices and an appreciating exchange rate.
It was also gathered that poor market and lack of preservation facilities are some of the salient impediments that have been silently killing the farmers and farming activities in the nation.
Farmers access to affordable inputs are limited, their access to available technology is weak, necessary infrastructure and institutions are lacking and some policy responses don’t comply with what is practically obtainable in the field, thereby making farmers to continue producing at a loss.
This development has called for a calculative measure that will be adopted in saving the average Nigerian farmer from preventive losses as well as improving his earnings as a farmer.
A group of business investors and financial institutions, with support from various government agencies in connection with agricultural development in Nigeria, came up with the initiative to establish an agro-commodity exchange market that will assist farmers to grow and also get involved in modern agricultural business.
This led to the establishment of Gezawa Ultra Modern agricultural produce commodity exchange market Kano, which is the first agro-commodity market in Nigeria.
Though there are similar markets in Egypt, Rwanda and Ethiopia, Gezawa is the first in West Africa. It is a modern innovation where buyers and sellers of agricultural commodities will do business without knowing each other in the most transparent and safest way through modern technological financial methodologies.
According to the commodity market project consultant, Mr. Bimfa Binchang, “The ultra-modern market when completed will provide over 2000 direct jobs and more than 5000 indirect jobs to mostly the host community. The market has two types of warehouses; the smaller ones have the capacity to contain 200 trailers while the bigger ones have the capacity to contain 400 trailers.”
The market is said to have already developed a business synergy with about 16 foreign countries to ensure ease of doing business.
“To make business easier for participants, the market has made a provision of an export terminal for commodities traded on the Exchange floor to be taken for export directly from the market as there are the presence of Nigerian Customs, Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Bank of Agriculture (BoA), Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Nigeria General Superintendence (NGS) for verification, testing and registration of seeds among other agencies,” said the consultant.
Kano State Chairman of All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Alhaji Farouk Rabi’u Mudi, stated that the move by the agro-commodity market will assist farmers, especially as the state chapter has been making an attempt to transit to more mechanised agricultural practices, adding that there is a serious need for the agricultural financial sector to wade into the provision of the needed mechanization inputs as part of processes in improving agribusiness.
A member of the agro-commodity market’s host community, Malam Hamza Sani, said members of the community have started noticing and witnessing signs of positive development even before the market’s official commencement of operations.
According to him, a hospital has been constructed as well as a mini standard football stadium in the community. He added that most of the labour being used is sourced from within the host community.