Nigeria

Blockchain tech provides liquidity for smallholder farmers, says AFEX

Blockchain tech provides liquidity for smallholder farmers, says AFEX
Blockchain tech provides liquidity for smallholder farmers, says AFEX

By Olasunkanmi Akoni

AFEX Commodities Exchange Limited, AFEX, has disclosed plans to introduce Warehouse Receipt Check by Trade Finance Market, TFM, to reduce fraud and drive access to funding for the agricultural sector in Nigeria.

The inability of smallholder farmers to access finance has had a devastating impact on the growth of Africa’s agriculture sector— worsened by the global pandemic.

As Nigeria’s first private sector commodities exchange, AFEX has developed and deployed a viable commodities exchange model for the West African market; building a strong supply chain infrastructure to support the securitisation of agricultural products.

AFEX’s Warehouse Receipts System, e-WRS, also allows farmers access credit facilities on the back of the value of their produce, giving them a path to reduce poverty.

Since its inception in 2014, AFEX has reached and enhanced the livelihoods of over 106,000 farmers and aggregated over 135,000 metric tons of commodities.

By utilizing TFM’s blockchain application to reduce risk, funders are given added assurance that the transaction has been de-risked and the risk of fraud reduced.

As each warehouse receipt is encrypted and stored on the blockchain, funders are able to check if a receipt has previously been financed— avoiding a problem that has globally cost the industry over $1 trillion.

Speaking on the development the Chief Executive Officer, CEO, of AFEX, Ayodeji Balogun, said: “AFEX is constantly exploring innovative risk management structures for the agriculture sector, in line with our focus on unlocking finance for the sector.

“This partnership with Trade Finance Market will enable us layer it on Warehouse Receipt Check on our existing technology stack to streamline the process of financing agriculture to smallholder farmers and other players in the commodities markets through blockchain.”

The Executive Director of Trade Finance Market, Raj Uttamchandani, also sees the blockchain collaboration with AFEX as a game changer for the African continent— akin to the way mobile phone technology leapfrogged landlines.

“We are very proud to work with AFEX to introduce cutting edge technology which removes obstacles for smallholder farmers in obtaining finance quickly.

“Warehouse Receipt Check provides a solution which utilises blockchain in a way that has never been done before— providing funders with security and ensuring liquidity flows to the agricultural sector—  the backbone of the economy, thereby protecting countless jobs and livelihoods,” he said.

TFM’s CTO, Brad Lucas, also added that: “Using the Blockchain as the central component of the system provided the mechanism to enable uniqueness and single source of truth about the state of a Warehouse Receipt.”

Beyond a technology partnership, TFM also aimed to provide selected transaction funding on the AFEX platform.

The gains in liberating farmers from inefficiencies in existing financing systems is the biggest case for this partnership, which will empower smallholder farmers and lead to marked changes in trading and financing commodities.

AFEX enables the transition from production to transaction for agricultural commodities and since its founding in 2014, AFEX has developed and deployed a viable commodities exchange model for the West African market; building a strong supply chain infrastructure to support the securitisation of agricultural products.

AFEX operates 45 warehouses in Nigeria’s key grain-producing areas and accounts for over 100,000 MT of total national storage capacity.

TFM is a fintech leader in developing decentralised ledger technology applications and providing alternative trade finance solutions, especially in emerging markets.

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