Addis treads in Chicago footsteps

As momentum builds for NGO campaigns to stop big banks gambling on food commodities, I enjoyed a weekend story about a trading exchange which plans to expand its agriculture activities.

The Ethiopia Commodities Exchange demonstrates the traditional role of a trading platform in hooking up farmers to customers they would never find within narrow local markets. And it’s gone further by building storage centres across the country and offering price data by toll-free phone – just the sort of thing advocated by analysts of the food crisis.

With no speculative futures or indexed contracts in sight (yet), the ECX has become a donor pin-up story for Africa.

This may not last. Ethiopia is hoping that all those foreign land-grabbing investments will mentor a growth transition for small farmers – but many observers fear that elimination is the more likely outcome.


this post was first published by OneWorld UK