…Targets 50, 000 tractors Nigeria, others

Emma Ujah, Abuja Bureau Chief

Heifer International, an International development organization, has announced an additional $3.5 million in funding for its tractor financing initiative in Nigeria and other Africa countries to speed up agricultural mechanisation on the continent.

The President, Mr. Pierre Ferrari, made the announcement at a meeting with farmers and other stakeholders, in Abuja, this afternoon.

According to him, “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.”

Mr.  Ferrari noted, “Africa has the lowest number of tractors per farmer globally and as a result, yields per hectare are low.

“Smallholder farmers do not have access to tractors and that’s something we aim to change. We encourage our partners and the donor community to join Heifer International on this journey.”

The Heifer boss said that he was impressed at the enthusiasm shown by smallholder-farmers, booking agents, tractor operators and tractor owners to transform the agricultural landscape in Nigeria and other African countries.

Also speaking, the Senior Vice President, Africa Programmes, Adesuwa Ifedi, explained that last year’s $1 million investment was utilized to leverage on the Pay As Go tractor ownership financing model and that the initial investment was for 17 tractors distributed between Nigeria, Kenya and Rwanda.

She added, “This year, we are making an additional follow-up investment of $3. 5 million dollars in the initiative called tractors for Africa.  Bringing the total investment into tractorisation $4.5 million.  This additional investment will provide 75 additional tractors across these three countries that we are reaching.

“However, our target for tractors in Africa is to be able to provide 50, 000 tractors and this is for between now and 2030.  So 50, 000 tractors is our ambition.  As we go forward, you may realize that 50, 000 tractors might not be as ambitious was we want but what we are now doing is to design financing mechanism that will allow us attract additional financing into the investment space.”

Ifedi said that Heifer did not to finance the 50, 000 tractors all alone by itself but would work to bring other financing organizations onboard in order to realize that goal.

She said that part of the goal of yesterday’s Heifer activities was to create awareness around the opportunities that existed in the region’s agriculture space and to attract other organizations to fund agriculture mechanization, as a means of increasing yield, job creation and eliminating poverty and hunger in Africa.

The investment comes two weeks after the launch of Hello Tractor’s innovative Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG) Tractor financing for agri-entrepreneurs in Nigeria with $1 million from Heifer International, taking the organization’s investment in catalytic funding for tractor financing in Africa to $4.5 million.

Heifer International’s investments in tractor financing support increased mechanization of smallholder farmers, promoting increased food security and entrepreneurship across Africa.

The investment is being deployed through Heifer International’s Tractors 4 Africa project.

In 2021, Heifer International created the AYuTe Africa Challenge, which awards cash grants annually to the most promising young agritech innovators across Africa. It also supports Heifer International’s goal of helping more than six million African farmers earn a sustainable living income by 2030.

The total Heifer International investment of $4.5 million USD will provide affordable access to tractor services to 872,250 smallholder farmers at an affordable rate, boosting farm productivity, employment, food security and farmer livelihoods over the next ten years.

The investment will create 6,979 new jobs as booking agents, tractor operators, technicians and tractor owners over 10 years.

Heifer International’s Tractors 4 Africa project aims to deploy 50,000 tractors servicing more than 90 million smallholder farmers across Africa, improving their incomes, while creating more than 500,000 jobs.

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