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Nigeria’s AFEX Expands Operations To Kenya With $1Mn Loan Package

Nigeria’s commodities exchange, AFEX, has expanded its operations to Kenya, following a successful pilot phase in the East African country.

To support the expansion initiative with funding, AFEX Fair Trade Limited (AFTL), has launched a $1 million loan programme that will allow farmers to gain access to seed and fertilizer for their crops and by so doing, help them to operate more cost-efficiently amid rising commodities prices.

According to the Exchange, under the programme 5,000 Kenyan smallholder farmers will be able to take out input loans to access timely inputs and gradually scale their businesses.

As part of the company’s broader pan-African growth targets, the expansion drive  will enable 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.

In his remarks on the business expansion drive, AFEX’s Chief Executive Officer, Ayodeji Balogun, enthused: “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.

“I started my career building capital markets in East Africa and understand the challenges of a fragmented supply chain, inefficient price structures and market volatility. We’ve been massively encouraged by what we’ve seen since our pilot phase rolled out with thousands more farmers experiencing productivity, value capture and access to structured mechanisms for commodity trading in Kenya.

“With our experience of helping farmers to directly access markets, we’re uniquely positioned to help Kenyan farmers contribute to their national food security while ensuring sustainable development for future generations”, Balogun stressed.

Also, the Managing Director of AFEX Fair Trade Limited (AFTL) Kenya, Tabitha Njuguna, said: “The technology powering our operations is one of the best on the continent and is instrumental to our capacity to provide access to logistics delivery, advisory services, inputs, and crucially, access to the market, which are all key to the future of agriculture in Africa.

“We want to dismantle one of the biggest barriers for farmers growing their business – access to finance. So far, we’re delighted to have enabled 70 percent of the 5,000 Kenyan farmers who approached AFEX for input loans and we are committed to empowering many more farmers over the next few months”, Njuguna added

AFEX was recently named first in the Financial Times (FT) ranking of Africa’s Fastest-Growing Companies – Agriculture & Commodities category 2022, and with the new expansion drive the Exchange is taking 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.

It supports farmers’ participation in market opportunities through its unique platform – WorkBench, which 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.

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