By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja
The Chief Executive Officer, AFEX Commodities Exchange Limited, AFEX, Ayodeji Balogun, Monday, disclosed that the organization is committed to boosting smallholder farmers’ income-earning capacity across the country.
Balogun said with the registered 310, 000 registered farmers through their cooperatives registered with the Exchange, and it is building a community that fosters wealth creation and distribution among members.
He further stated that there is a commitment on the part of the Exchange towards creating a lasting institution that catalyses and capitalizes on the country’s agricultural potential.
According to him, commodities on the Exchange include paddy rice, soya bean, cocoa, sorghum, maize, and ginger.
AFEX Commodities Exchange Limited (AFEX) enables the transition from production to the transaction for agricultural commodities. Since its founding in 2014, AFEX has developed and deployed a viable commodities exchange model for the West African market.
The Exchange has reached over 106,000 farmers and traded over 135,000 metric tonnes of commodities with a total turnover of USD41.5 million (NGN14.9 billion).
The Exchange’s mission is to support Nigeria’s food security while promoting a fair exchange of value among players in agricultural value chains.
He said: “We are creating a lasting institution that capitalizes on the country’s agricultural potential achieve regional (West Africa) food security and increase smallholder farmers’ income-earning capacity.
“By creating the right incentives and a shared platform, we will change the food system in Africa to a more inclusive, scalable, and efficient system, with shared prosperity and trust embedded.
“We are building a community that thrives on transparency, fairness, and innovation, and fosters wealth creation and distribution amongst members.
“We aspire to create a market infrastructure that will promote a data-driven, tech-enabled agriculture ecosystem, where risks are efficiently measured, managed, and priced.
“Through innovative finance, inclusive agriculture, and technology, we aspire to unlock capital for producers and processors across the value chairs we play in.”
However, while expressing concern over access to quality inputs in a timely manner that he described as pivotal to a successful farming season, and farmers are usually burdened with the high cost of inputs with little or no access to financing, through alliances and partnerships said, “AFEX has cultivated effective partnerships with upstream players who make input available to farmers,
“AFEX also provides procurement and storage services to large off-takers in Nigeria.’
He also added that “We have created a supporting ecosystem for agriculture in Nigeria and are catalyzing the development of an efficient supply chain for all focus crops of the country.”
According to him, AFEX has a product called Input Note which aims to facilitate by providing access to financing for smallholder farmers to obtain quality inputs while at the same time providing an avenue for people interested in diversifying their investment portfolio to do so.
“The note provides a competitive yield over a nine-month investment horizon hen compared to other competitive assets classes. Input notes are low-risk investments, offering competitive returns to investors in compensation for the issuer’s credit risk. They trade just like shares, are simple and efficient.”