What you need to know:
- AFEX Fair Trade Kenya has registered over 11,000 farmers and traded over 11,000 metric tonnes of maize.
- the certification opens the space for private investment and participation in the Warehouse Receipt System in Kenya.
The government plans to increase the number of certified warehouses across the country for safe storage of farmers’ produce, Trade Principal Secretary Alfred K’Ombundo has said.
The development comes after AFEX Fair Trade Kenya, a farmer service and supply chain solutions company, received certification for one of its warehouses as a warehouse receipt operator.
The certification of AFEX’s Soy Mateeny warehouse in Uasin Gishu county marks the first time that a warehouse receipt operator license has been issued to a private sector company.
Launched in July 2020, the Warehouse Receipt System (WRS) allows farmers to hold their produce in certified warehouses where they can be tested, cleaned, graded, and then stored, with the owners of the commodity receiving a receipt as proof of ownership.
Speaking during a visit to the certified warehouse, Mr K’Ombudo said the government is keen on strengthening the warehouse receipt system to ensure reduction in post-harvest losses.
“Having certified warehouses is key to ensuring that post-harvest losses are greatly reduced and that farmers can rely on well-established and well-managed facilities,” said the PS.
With 17 warehouses spread across two counties since beginning operations in Kenya in 2021, AFEX has registered over 11,000 farmers and traded over 11,000 metric tonnes of maize.
Managing Director Ms Tabitha Njuguna said the certification will enable them do more in unlocking finance and further strengthening financial inclusion for farmers across Kenya as they look to improve the livelihoods of farmers working with them.
She said working with a certified warehouse provides farmers with the option to sell their produce when prices are favourable, while also serving the purpose of reducing post-harvest losses in the country.
Capacity building of farmers
“We look forward to a time when every AFEX warehouse is certified and licensed as a warehouse receipt operator, and we are further enabled to provide services to the market in a way that is transparent and fair,” said Ms Njuguna.
AFEX which recently announced its entry into Uganda in January 2022 is doubling down on its promise to East African farmers and its contribution to the agriculture sector in Kenya.
The MD said the company is well positioned to help more Kenyan farmers grow through disbursement of input loans, provision of post-harvest storage facilities and access to markets.
Warehouse Receipt System Council chief executive officer Mr Samwel Ogola said the certification opens the space for private investment and participation in the Warehouse Receipt System in Kenya.
Additionally, the Council recognises AFEX’s effort in capacity building of farmers, farmer societies and resident youth and women in the various extension trainings carried out.