Nigeria’s AFEX, the country’s leading commodities exchange, will now officially expand into Kenya. In doing so, it has launched a $1 million loan programme that will give East African farmers increased access to fertiliser and seed in an effort to mitigate rising commodity prices.
A total of 5 000 farmers from Kenya will be able to access safe and secure loans that can be used for purchase inputs and increase the scale of their businesses.
The expansion 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. It is part of the company’s larger pan-African growth targets.
Within the next ten years, AFEX intends to grow beyond Kenya to Benin, Togo, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Uganda, and Zambia. Its goal with Kenya is to trade more than 50 000 metric tonnes of agricultural commodities by 2025.
“This is one of the most dynamic commodities markets in the world. 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 is excited to work with Kenyan farmers to help them scale their operations,” said Ayodeji Balogun, the commodities player’s CEO.
“We want to dismantle one of the biggest barriers for farmers growing their business – access to finance. So far, we have enabled 70% of the 5000 Kenyan farmers who approached AFEX for input loans. We are committed to empowering many more farmers over the next few months.”
Managing director of AFEX Kenya, Tabitha Njuguna, oversaw the organisation’s successful trial phase in the final quarter of 2021. Maize was the primary traded commodity at the time. In the upcoming months, it is intended to expand the trade to include rice, sorghum, and coffee.