AFEX Fair Trade Limited (AFTL), a Nigerian commodities exchange and commodities market platform has announced that it will be expanding into Kenya, following a successful pilot phase.
Following its expansion into the country, AFEX has launched a $1 million loan program that will allow farmers to gain access to seed and fertilizer for their crops, to mitigate ever rising commodities prices. Under the program, 5000 Kenyan farmers will be able to take out input loans to access timely inputs and gradually scale their businesses.
AFEX enables farmers to participate in market opportunities through its unique platform WorkBench. The platform allows farmer transactions with AFEX’s network of warehouses to be executed and recorded, supporting seamless trade across the eight warehouses currently operational in Kenya.
The expansion will allow AFEX to replicate its success in Nigeria in securing better livelihoods for smallholder farmers and enable seamless access to pan-African commodities trading across the continent, while bolstering the continent’s food security.
AFEX was recently named first in the Financial Times (FT) ranking of Africa’s Fastest-Growing Companies – Agriculture & Commodities category 2022, AFEX is bringing its depth of experience, and unique storage and distribution solutions to Kenya, with a goal of trading over 500,000 metric tonnes of agricultural commodities by 2025. As of November 2021, analysts estimate 7.9 million people in Kenya lacked sufficient food for consumption, which represents 15.4 percent of Kenya’s population.
Ayodeji Balogun, CEO at AFEX said, “This is one of the most dynamic commodities markets in the world and we are excited to work with Kenyan farmers to help them scale their operations. We are acutely aware that increasing food production is futile without an efficient and robust warehousing system to underpin commodities trading, and that technology is key to developing the whole agriculture space in Africa in the coming years.
AFEX Kenya’s new 14-strong team is headed up by Managing Director, Tabitha Njuguna, who oversaw its successful pilot phase, during which time maize was the main commodity traded. There are plans to add rice, sorghum, and coffee to the exchange in the coming months.
In Uasin Gishu County, in the North Rift region of Kenya, AFEX identified a number of challenges for local producers, including access to affordable storage facilities, which meant many farmers storing their crops at home. Additionally, despite a high level of mechanization, as well as relatively expansive land holdings, producers find themselves cut off from opportunities to sell their produce, often relying on middlemen.