AFEX Commodity Exchange, a private sector commodities exchange, has won the Institute of Agribusiness Management Nigeria’s (IAMN) Technology Innovation for Agribusiness Investment award.
A statement issued by the AFEX’s Brand and Communication Lead, Obianuju Okafor on Wednesday in Abuja, said the award was given at the fifth edition of IAMN’s National Agribusiness Conference held in Abuja.
She said AFEX had been deploying solutions for the Nigerian agriculture sector for the past five years,
According to her, IAMN is a recognised professional body for agribusiness executives, agriculturists, entrepreneurs and practitioners working within the food and agricultural value chains in Nigeria.
The brand and communication lead said the award was received by AFEX’s Business Development Manager, Akinyinka Akintunde, who thanked the institute for the recognition.
Okafor stated that Akintunde while receiving the award noted that the award was “A recognition of AFEX’s work over the years.
“It is also a little encouragement as we go into our next five years as a company, recommitting ourselves to digitising the agricultural sector in Nigeria so that with more measurable and manageable risk associated with the sector, it becomes more attractive to investors at various levels.
“We are excited about the future and cannot wait to carry everyone along on the journey with us.”
Okafor pointed out that AFEX had a key technology solution that it had deployed with great results accruing to its business, with a number of other solutions under development.
“AFEX’s technology solution, WorkBench, is an integrated ERP designed for agriculture value chain management.
“WorkBench ensures that data and warehouse transactions are shared in real time with the AFEX office, and also allows the Exchange’s clients to track and monitor the progress of their projects with AFEX.
“This solution, therefore, helps to capture necessary events in the agricultural value chain and introduces a level of transparency that Nigeria’s fragmented agricultural sector has been historically unable to enjoy, “she said.
Okafor further said the Chairman of IAMN, Richard Ogundele, who commented on the award said, “From amongst 3 nominees driving Agribusiness via innovative technology in Nigeria, AFEX was adjudged most innovative with real impact by the IAMN at the National Agribusiness Conference 2019.
“About seven categories of sector awards were considered by the IAMN and industry actors were asked to nominate recipients with a basis of selection.
“A google link was created and circulated amongst actors for nominations. About 250 entries were received, collated and sorted for the winner of each category to emerge.”
The brand and communication lead further pointed out that Key in AFEX’s innovation with WorkBench was an understanding of the Nigerian environment.
According to her, such understanding led to WorkBench been developed to work offline, enabling field agents who work in remote areas to easily register farmers, capture their data and geotag their farms with all the data syncing to the server when the field agent got into an area with internet access.
She also said the transparency and traceability enabled by AFEX’s technology solution had been key in attracting more investment into primary production from varied sources.
She said the Exchange facilitated access to finance for 6, 231 farmers through its 2019 input financing programme, enabling them to access good quality inputs like fertilizers and crop protection products for their production activities.
Okafor further noted that with over 250 million smallholder farmers and pastoralists in Africa with the need for improved and meaningful livelihoods, digital solutions for agriculture was a game-changer in supporting and accelerating agricultural transformation across the continent.
“AFEX’s continued drive to digitise the sector will go a long way in continuing to make the sector attractive to investors, making for a stronger agriculture economy that will ensure a fair exchange of value among players,”she said.
On the mission and vision of AFEX, Okafor said it was Nigeria’s first private sector commodities exchange firm providing solutions to make Nigeria’s agriculture economy scalable and efficient.
She noted that AFEX was working towards helping Africa to feed itself by continually drawing on its knowledge of the food systems in Africa to create the right incentives and a shared platform that supports wealth creation, risk management and efficient markets.
She said in its first four years of operating in Nigeria as at 2018, AFEX reached and enhanced the livelihood of over 100,000 farmers and aggregated over 100,000 metric tonnes of grain.
On the task ahead, Okafor said AFEX was seeking to create a market infrastructure that would promote a transparent, data-driven, tech-enabled agriculture ecosystem, where risks were efficiently measured, managed, and priced.
Edited by Dorcas Jonah/Felix Ajide (NAN)
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