300 businesses log on to web dealing room

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A MELROSE internet company which set up an online corn exchange has attracted nearly 300 businesses in its first six months of trading.

The brainchild of William Wright, EuropeanGrain.com, established in July, is the first independent web-based service of its kind for arable farmers and buyers. Users have joined from all over the British Isles and there has been interest from Europe.

Mr Wright explained: “Farmers upload available commodities for sale free of charge so that they can achieve multiple bids for their goods from registered trade buyers. Equally, they can upload quote requests for farm inputs such as seed, fertiliser and straights to receive quotations from all registered trade suppliers.

“All information is totally confidential, visible only through farmers’ own personal “dashboard” page, and they are under no obligation to either accept or acknowledge bids or quotes.

“Essentially, it’s totally risk-free for the farmer.”

The company he set up with his wife, Rachael, takes no commission and is not involved in the transactions. And the site reflects the way the agri-trade currently operates with all contracts handled privately between buyer and seller, he said.

“The trading model has simply been lifted as it is and placed online. The purpose of the site is purely to improve market transparency and business efficiency: EuropeanGrain.com makes it easier for buyers and sellers to find one another,” said Mr Wright.

Trade members wanting commodities filter information by postcode, commodity, commodity type, variety and month of movement. And if they supply seeds, fertiliser or straights, the companies tailor the geographical area they can service and receive quote enquiries from.

Mr Wright added EuropeanGrain.com also has an association with IG Index via the homepage to help buying options and trading commodities or currencies.

And the site provides delayed grains and oilseed pricing from the London and Paris exchanges and a daily market commentary.

Fellow director Mrs Wright said: “We’ve signed up 260 businesses which has been very encouraging. We have been particularly pleased with the geographic spread of users, from Devon and Cornwall to the North of Scotland. We have also had a lot of interest from Ireland and other European countries, so the next few months will be spent focusing on language translation and pan-European expansion.

“The farmers who are using the site recognise that compared with current practice, they have more control over a larger potential market and therefore price achievement by using a web-based interface.

“We have taken all the risk out of using the site as it’s totally free of charge, we take no commissions or kick-backs, and they are under no obligation to accept a bid or quote.

“We’ve had great feedback from farmers praising the site’s transparency and ease of use.”

She added EuropeanGrain.com hopes to become Europe’s number one platform for physical arable commodities.