AFEX, Africa’s leading private commodities market player, on Friday, marked World Food Day 2022, with the launch of a new 100,000MT/ year Grain Quality Enhancement Centre and 30,000 MT storage capacity warehouse at Zaria-Kano Highway, Kaduna, Nigeria.
The plant represents AFEX’s renewed commitment to infrastructure investments that cut post-harvest losses, strengthen quality and standardisation criteria in grain value chains, and improve the livelihoods of primary producers who are able to earn higher income on better quality grains. The plant, which has an annual capacity of 100,000MT, meets the challenges of grain quality enhancement through cleaning, grinding, heating, drying, packaging, and storage services for maize, paddy rice, and soybean.
“Over the years, we have seen a growing demand for grain commodities in the animal feed, food, and drink industries. However, 3.5 trillion naira (circa US$8 billion) is lost annually after harvest because the national storage capacity can only accommodate 5 to 7 percent of agricultural produce. At AFEX, we believe that the grain quality enhancement centre will help meet that demand, support the closure of quality and quantity gaps, maximise income returns for smallholder farmers, and increase access to markets that will benefit key players in the value chain and society at large. The activities in the processing plant will include quality and quantity checks, packaging, storage, and other processes in the value chain,” said Ayodeji Balogun, AFEX CEO
In 2021, AFEX expanded into East Africa to replicate its early successes in Nigeria and to enable seamless access to pan-African commodities trading across Africa while bolstering its food security. It followed with a $1 million loan program in July this year, to provide Kenyan farmers with access to crop seed and fertiliser, allowing them to mitigate rising commodity prices. Just like every other effort, this historic milestone on World Food Day in Nigeria aligns with the United Nations SDG goals 1, 2 5, 8 and 12 as AFEX continues to work towards resilience and sustainability of the agricultural supply chain to alleviate poverty by ensuring that farmers and growers get a better deal for their produce, everyone has access to affordable and nutritious food, and that no one is left behind.
The 100,000 MT/ year Grain Quality Enhancement Centre is a product of AFEX’ partnership with the Kaduna State Government of Nigeria and the USAID-Funded West Africa Trade & Investment Hub.
Speaking on the commissioning of the AFEX Grain Quality Enhancement Centre, His Excellency, the Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasiru el-Rufai said “I am happy to see this new development in the agricultural value chain. Oftentimes, when farmers harvest their produce, they sell quickly at low prices to prevent post-harvest loss and in return, they never get the best value. With this centre, AFEX has closed the gap in preparation, cleaning, and logistics, helping farmers to sell at the right price.
“I am grateful to all the partners behind AFEX, USAID-Funded West Africa Trade & Investment Hub, AGRA, for collaborating on this project and enhancing access to a structured and ready market for farmers and job creation for Nigerian youths,” he concluded.
All around the world, excessive post- harvest losses impact negatively on food security. To alleviate the problem In Nigeria, this new facility will strengthen food supply chains, boost grain prices for producers and serve as a reliable source for processed grain meal and hulls in the growing markets whilst bolstering food production in the country. Essentially, by depositing commodities in the warehouse, farmers will be able to pay for the processing services and have access to buyers on the AFEX platform at a higher price.
Since 2014, AFEX has built a robust network of warehouses to support the growth of agricultural commodities and provide offtake agreements to farmers at market prices with a
same-day payment model. Currently, in Nigeria alone, AFEX has a footprint of over 100 warehouses across 23 grain-producing states which accounts for over 300,000 MT of the total national storage capacity. They have reached over 430,000 farmers and traded over 1 million MT of commodities to transform rural households and boost economic prosperity.
With more efficient pricing mechanisms and transparent, fair distribution fees, agricultural producers working with AFEX benefit from significant – and often life-changing – savings on taxes, charges, transportation costs, and better storage/disruption.