Heifer announces $3.5m funding to boost agriculture in Nigeria, others

International development organisation, Heifer International, on Wednesday announced an additional $3.5 million funding for its tractor financing initiative in Nigeria and other African countries, in order to speed up the pace of agricultural development.

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 .

The additional $3.5 million investment announced under its Tractors 4 Africa (T4A) project is expected to finance an additional 75 tractors across Nigeria, Kenya and Uganda.

The total Heifer International investment of $4.5 million 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, Pierre Ferrari, President and CEO of Heifer International said in Abuja.

The President further informed that 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. He added that the investments will also support increased mechanization of smallholder farmers, promote increased food security and entrepreneurship across Africa.

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“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,” Ferrari said.

He also disclosed that Heifer investment will create 6,979 new jobs as booking agents, tractor operators, technicians and tractor owners over 10 years,

“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,” the President added.

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 AYuTe Africa Challenge $1 million award enabled Hello Tractor to finance 17 tractors for 17 entrepreneurs in three countries – Nigeria, Kenya and Uganda, the president noted.

Meanwhile, the president expressed his delight over enthusiasm shown by smallholder farmers, booking agents, tractor operators and tractor owners to transform the agricultural landscape in Nigeria and other African countries.