Thursday, May 05, 2021 / 03.00PM / Ottoabasi Abasiekong for WebTV/Header
Image Credit: The Guardian Nigeria
AFEX Commodities Exchange has restated its commitment to food security in Nigeria, with a renewed focus on promoting responsible consumption and production, through the prevention of post-harvest loss as well as a reduction in food wastage along the domestic production value chain.
The CEO of AFEX Nigeria Mr. Ayodeji Balogun disclosed this at a forum it hosted to highlight its 5 years impact on the agricultural commodities sector of the economy.
According to Balogun while AFEX started in 2014, there was the challenge of putting a face to the business. Over the years there have been several levels of successes, that have had a beneficial impact on the businesses of small-holder farmers.
The commodity expert said AFEX had focused on creating the infrastructure needed to drive value creation across the economy for all stakeholders.
Giving an overview of the impact report, Balogun said that AFEX was on a mission to create a system of sustainable change in the commodities market, by creating a fair and efficient market for trading commodities.
Balogun said that the impact framework was to help Africa feed itself, solve the problem of poverty by helping small-scale farmers upscale businesses as well as make agriculture attractive to the youths which in turn would solve the problem of unemployment in Africa.
Speaking further, the AFEXâ€™s CEO explained that over the years, the exchange had concerned itself with reaching out to farmers in their farms and communities, helping to spread solutions for increased yields and productivity. He said that the scale of their programs had expanded with a warehouse infrastructure that was established in proximity to farmers. He added that farmers were grouped into cells and the cells were tied to warehouses which were 20/30km from the clusters for ease of access. This, he said, had enabled farmers to access storage and structured markets in a more efficient manner.
To the farmers' credit, Balogun said that 45% of AFEX farmers are food secured, which is three times more than the national baseline. Through their outreach structure, he noted that AFEX had deployed the input financing programme successfully to over 40,00 farmers. He said this started as a partnership, which was facilitated by AFEX alongside microfinance banks providing credit and world-class input and agronomy training.
In terms of gender equality, Balogun said that AFEX had always been deliberate in the area of gender inclusion and equality. Ranging from its services specially crafted for women smallholder farmers to the employment of women in its office and their representation in exclusive roles.
Speaking on economic growth, he reported that AFEX had contributed to the SDG8 in terms of financial inclusion as well as the creation of products and processes that have made it easy for the capital market and the public to be part of the commodities ecosystem. He also added that AFEX aims to grow the value created by agriculture in absolute terms as well as per person. Agriculture and food according to Balogun should be a significant contributor to GDP.
As an aggregator in agriculture, Balogun explained that AFEX was focused on promoting responsible consumption and production, through the prevention of post-harvest losses and the reduction of food wastage.