ImpactAlpha, December 12 – AFEX is on a mission to make agriculture in Africa more inclusive, scalable and efficient. The Abuja-based company has developed a commodities exchange for products like sorghum, maize and cocoa, underpinned by more than 100,000 smallholder farmers who are supported by AFEX in gaining access to credit (through microfinance partners) and farm inputs. It has developed a network of warehouses around the country, in which it stores farmers’ harvests. The goods are traded and delivered to buyers via AFEX’s online trading platform.
Since launching in 2014, AFEX has facilitated 14.1 billion Nigerian naira ($39 million) in trades. It’s evolving its business in ways that will coax more capital into all points of the agricultural sector: building microfinance partnerships for farmers; developing a data platform for farmer profiles and crop traceability; and developing agricultural commodity-backed securitized investment products that will enable larger investors to back Africa’s agricultural growth.
“Agriculture is the largest employer on the continent, but the main players in the sector—the smallholder farmers—are the poorest of the lot,” AFEX’s Ayodeji Balogun tells ImpactAlpha. “We are trying to solve this huge issue around livelihoods.”
AFEX raised an undisclosed amount of equity capital from Lagos-based Consonance Investment Managers, which invests in growth-stage African companies engaged in wealth creation, financial and capital markets infrastructure, access to essential services, among other sectors.