Kenya grants permit to private warehouse receipt operator

Afex Fair Trade

From left: AFEX Fair Trade team Eric Kipchumba, Cleopas Busienei, Tabitha Njuguna (Managing Director) and Jacob Bitok. FILE PHOTO | POOL

Photo credit: Courtesy

The Warehouse Receipt System Council (WRSC) has granted farmer service company AFEX Fair Trade the licence to operate as a warehouse receipt operator marking the first time the certification has been issued to a private sector firm.

Speaking at a visit to the firms’ Soy Mateeny depot in Uasin Gishu, Trade Principal Secretary Alfred K’ombudo hailed the development saying the government has plans of increasing certified warehouses in the country for safe storage of farmers’ produce.

“We want to strengthen our Warehouse Receipt System (WRS). This is because it is key to ensuring that post-harvest losses are greatly reduced and that farmers can rely on well-established and well-managed facilities,” said K’ombudo.

Launched in July 2020 by Kenya’s Ministry of Agriculture, a Warehouse Receipt System allows farmers to hold their produce in certified warehouses where they can be tested, cleaned, graded and 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 to cut post-harvest losses.

Last year, AFEX launched a $1 million (Sh124.9 million) loan programme aimed at allowing farmers to gain access to seed and fertiliser for their crops to mitigate the ever-rising production costs.

With 17 warehouses spread across two counties in the country, the firm has registered over 11,000 farmers and traded over 11,000 tonnes of maize with managing director Tabitha Njuguna exuding confidence that the certification will enable them to do more.

“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,” said Ms Njuguna.

The firm targets to transact with 100,000 farmers, and trade over 500,000 tonnes of commodities by 2025.

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