Published: October 25, 2022
Nigerian commodity exchange Afex has launched a US$100mn fund to improve food security across Africa, with smallholder farmers and warehousing infrastructure firmly in the fund’s sights for financing.
Akinyinka Akintunde has a plan. He is working to make it easier for smallholder farmers in Nigeria and across Africa to grow and sell crops by brokering relationships and deals between producers and buyers. The biggest problem for the chief operating officer of commodity exchange Afex has little to do with buyers or sellers, it is the huge infrastructure gap.
In short, it does not matter how much crop farmers can produce if they have nowhere to store it for buyers, or no roads to get it to the warehouses in the first place. This is not a marginal concern. Afex estimates that in Nigeria, there is only capacity to store 4% of annual grain production.
“We hope to eliminate the multiple middle men that add little or no value to the value chain,” Akintunde told EMEA Finance.
Afex has built more than 100 warehouses across Nigeria, with a storage capacity of 300,000 metric tonnes. So far, 400,000 smallholder farmers have used Afex’s exchange, with the company aiming to reach one million farmers by 2025.
The main way Afex plans to ramp up its presence is through its new US$100mn Food Security Fund. It will be financed with a 10-year bond issuance.