Meet Ayodeji Balogun – Regional Director of AFEX Nigeria
MyFarmbase Africa’s AgroLatestHero was created to tell the stories of young farmers and Agripreneurs alongside reaching out to prospective farmers to learn from their successes and failures with the sole aim of increasing food production and making huge profits from the different value chains in agriculture.
It was a pleasant Wednesday on Twitter as the MyFarmbase team had an interesting tweet chat session with the amazing and mighty, Ayodeji Balogun, Country Manager of AFEX Nigeria.
Here’s the conversation you might have missed.
MFB: Can you tell us a bit about yourself please?
Ayodeji Balogun: I’m a commodity trader like my profile name alludes to. Started in the business from a very young age and I’ve just kept on looking for more ways to solve problems since then. I’m also a family man through and through.
MFB: So what do you do as the Country Director of AFEX Commodities Exchange Limited?
Ayodeji Balogun: As the Country Manager for @AFEXNigeria and the Regional Director for Africa Exchange Holdings, my core job is to build the business across West Africa for countries that we are keen on.
MFB: Can you share insights into what the commodity market entails? And How can enthusiasts play effectively in it?
Ayodeji Balogun: The commodity market is essentially a place for producers of commodities to exchange value with consumers of commodities, be they processors who require these raw materials for their own processing activities, or investors who can trade in commodity backed assets. Enthusiasts really need to educate themselves on the market; study the trends and take decisions. @AFEXNigeria does a lot of activities around sharing some of this needed data and knowledge and of course our platform is a great place for the two sides to meet.
MFB: Who are the key stakeholders in the Commodity market and what are their roles?
Ayodeji Balogun: Three major stakeholders exist however you slice it. You have producers who when you are talking about agricultural commodities are farmers both the bigger players and smallholder farmers; processors who need to access quality assured commodities of specified quantity. They need these commodities for their own operations, and the third stakeholders would be investors or financiers who are looking to expand or diversify their portfolios and can consider agriculture backed assets to gain exposure. These three groups are the major market participants on an exchange.
MFB: What is the current situation of our commodity market in Nigeria? Has it been a positive bull run or a bear ride?
Ayodeji Balogun: Stacking beside other asset classes it has been a bullish run so far. The yield year to date has been higher than other asset classes. In AFEX’s last released market report, however, we projected that the next 4 to 6 weeks will be bearish due to sell pressure on farmers as they go to the farms to plant and also the costs they will incur over Ramadan.
MFB: How can we advance our commodity market place in Sub Saharan Africa, how can technology change the current run of play for good?
Ayodeji Balogun: Two key possibilities I see that we need to work on are quality control for our commodities i.e setting up standard parameters and educating and rewarding producers who are able to meet these standards with higher value. The second would be increasing our data collection and analyzing capacity, so that we can actually have oversight on how much we are producing and make data based decisions on where more work is needed. Technology helps by increasing transparency and efficiency in the system. One particular role that I see technology playing is helping us to include smallholder farmers who produce agricultural commodities in the financial system so they can transact more easily.
MFB: How Can stakeholders leverage Binkabi’s recently launched platform in partnership with Sterling Bank and AFEX to digitize cross border trading?
Ayodeji Balogun: The partnership is looking to solve the issue of financing and international trade using blockchain which does not require physical branches. To access the platform, stakeholders can reach out to anyone @AFEXNigeria using the email firstname.lastname@example.org.
MFB: Your success story is an encouraging and motivating one. What sacrifices did you make that today’s youth should emulate?
Ayodeji Balogun: I have consistently chosen to work in areas that solve problems and champion the cause of Africans developing Africa for themselves. This has meant sometimes stepping back to learn so I can build stronger businesses and platforms that can stand the test of time. I also believe that young people can learn to build businesses and relationships wherever they go, which is something that has helped me tremendously, and like I always tell colleagues @AFEXNigeria young people must learn to execute after all the planning & dreaming.