A not-for-profit organisation, Heifer International, has announced that it is investing an additional $3.5m in the tractor booking platform, Hello Tractor, to boost the agricultural sector in Nigeria and other African countries.
The announcement was made during a media parley in Abuja on Wednesday, and this was contained in a statement issued after the media parley.
The statement read in part, “International development organisation, Heifer International, today announced an additional $3.5m in funding for its tractor financing initiative in Africa to speed up the pace of agricultural development on the continent.”
The additional funding came two weeks after the launch of Hello Tractor’s innovative Pay-As-You-Go Tractor financing for agri-entrepreneurs in Nigeria with $1m funding from Heifer International.
The statement disclosed that Heifer International’s investments in tractor financing, which are deployed through Heifer International’s Tractors 4 Africa project, were designed to support increased mechanisation of smallholder farmers, promoting increased food security and entrepreneurship across Africa.In total, Hello Tractor is receiving funding of $4.5m, which is expected to boost the organisation’s investment in catalytic funding for tractor financing in Africa.
The President and CEO of Heifer International, Pierre Ferrari, was quoted as saying, “Increased mechanization – and tractors in particular – are vital as smallholder farmers scale up their production and build profitable and sustainable farming businesses.
“We are particularly impressed by Hello Tractor’s Pay-As-You-Go tractor financing model – an innovation that emerged from the AYuTe Africa Challenge, an agritech competition for young entrepreneurs run by Heifer International.”
It is expected that with this $3.5m funding, Hello Tractor will acquire 75 tractors, which would be distributed across Nigeria, Kenya and Uganda.
It is also expected that the total financing of $4.5m would provide affordable access to tractor services to 872,250 smallholder farmers at an affordable rate, boosting farm productivity, employment, food security and farmer’s livelihoods over the next ten years.
The statement added that the investment would create 6,979 new jobs as booking agents, tractor operators, technicians and tractor owners over 10 years.
In the long run, Heifer International’s Tractors 4 Africa project plans to deploy 50,000 tractors to service more than 90 million smallholder farmers across Africa, creating more than 500,000 jobs.