Kenya licenses first private warehouse receipt operator

Tuesday, February 7th, 2023 02:00 | By
Kenya licenses first private warehouse receipt operator
Kenya licenses first private warehouse receipt operator

STORAGE:  AFEX Fair Trade Kenya, a farmer service and supply chain solutions company has been licensed as the first warehouse receipt operator in Kenya, barely months following a successful pilot phase in 2021.

The nod 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, Principal Secretary of State Department of Trade, Alfred K’ombudo, commended AFEX and said the government has plans of increasing certified warehouses across the country for the safe storage of farmers’ produce.

Post-harvest losses

“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,” he said.

 K’ombudo made those remarks at the Warehouse Receipt System Council (WRSC) at the Soy Mateeny warehouse in Uasin Gishu County.

Last year, AFEX, a Nigerian commodities exchange, and commodities market player announced plans to expand its EAC operations and subsequently launched a $1million loan programme that will allow farmers to gain access to seed and fertiliser for their crops, to mitigate ever-rising commodities prices.

Under the programme, 5000 Kenyan farmers will be able to take out input loans to access timely inputs and gradually scale their businesses.

With 17 warehouses spread across two counties in Kenya, AFEX has registered over 11,000 farmers and traded over 11,000 tonnes of maize. The company also successfully conducted a $1 million input programme between March and May of 2022.

The company’s Managing Director, Tabitha Njuguna, said the certification will enable it to do more.

“Warehouse receipt systems are fundamental to AFEX’s work in unlocking finance and further strengthening financial inclusion for farmers across Kenya,” she added.

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,”  stated Njuguna.

Launched in July 2020 by Ministry of Agriculture Livestock, Fisheries and Cooperatives, the Warehouse Receipt System allows farmers to hold their products 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 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.

More on Business