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AFEX Fair Trade Kenya Licensed as the First Private Warehouse Receipt Operator in Kenya
AFEX Fair Trade, Kenya, a farmer service company and supply chain solutions company in Kenya has received a certification for one of its warehouses as a warehouse receipt operator. The certification, which was done by the Warehouse Receipt System Council (WRSC) at the 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.
Speaking during the visit to the certified warehouse, the Principal Secretary State Department of Trade, Alfred K'ombudo, commended AFEX and said that the government has plans of increasing certified warehouses across the country for the safe storage of farmers' produce.
"We want to strengthen our Warehouse Receipt System (WRS). This is because it's key to ensuring that post-harvest losses are greatly reduced and that farmers can rely on well-established and well-managed facilities," remarked the PS.
This landmark achievement follows several significant milestones that AFEX has recorded since beginning operations in Kenya in 2021. With 17 warehouses spread across two counties in Kenya, AFEX has registered over 11,000 farmers and traded over 11,000MT of maize. The company also successfully conducted a $1 million input program between March and May of 2022. The company’s Managing Director, Tabitha Njuguna, indicates that this certification will enable it to do more.
According to Njuguna, “Warehouse receipt systems are fundamental to AFEX’s work in unlocking finance and further strengthening financial inclusion for farmers across Kenya. The benefits of functional warehouse receipt systems are well documented, especially for farmers. Particularly exciting for us is the ability to improve the livelihoods of farmers who work with us.”
Launched in July 2020 by Kenya’s Ministry of Agriculture Livestock, Fisheries and Cooperatives (MoALFC), 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. This provides the farmers with the option to sell their produce when prices are favorable, while also serving the purpose of reducing post-harvest losses in the country.
“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. We thank the WRSC for their guidance through this process and look forward to more milestones with the team,” said Njuguna.
The CEO of WRSC, Samwel Ogola, also congratulated the AFEX Fair Trade Kenya team, stating, “The Warehouse Receipt System Council congratulates AFEX Fair Trade Kenya as the first WRS-certified private Warehouse Operator. This certification opens the space for private investment and participation in the Warehouse Receipt System in Kenya. Additionally, the Council recognizes AFEX’s effort in capacity building of farmers, farmer societies, and resident youth and women in the various extension training carried out.”
AFEX which recently announced its entry into Uganda in January 2023 is doubling down on its promise to East African farmers and its contribution to the agriculture sector in Kenya. The company is well-positioned to help more Kenyan farmers grow through the disbursement of input loans, provision of post-harvest storage facilities, and access to markets.