Announcement made during President and CEO, Pierre Ferrari’s visit to Nigeria where he was meeting agriculture stakeholders in Abuja, Nigeria – May 18th, 2022: International development organization, Heifer International, today announced an additional $3.5 million USD in funding for its tractor financing initiative in Africa to speed up the pace of agricultural development on the continent.
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 USD from Heifer International, taking the organization’s investment in catalytic funding for tractor financing in Africa to $4.5 million USD. 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.
“Increased mechanization – and tractors in particular – are vital as smallholder farmers scale up their production and build profitable and sustainable farming businesses,” said Pierre Ferrari, President and CEO of Heifer International. “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.”
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 USD award enabled Hello Tractor to finance 17 tractors for 17 entrepreneurs in three countries – Nigeria, Kenya and Uganda.
At a stakeholder event held in his honor in Abuja on Wednesday, he said 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.
Heifer International’s additional $3.5 million USD investment announced today under its Tractors 4 Africa (T4A) project will finance an additional 75 tractors across Nigeria, Kenya and Uganda.
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.
“Africa has the lowest number of tractors per farmer globally and as a result, yields per hectare are low,” said Ferrari. “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.”
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.
About Heifer International
Since 1944, Heifer International has worked with more than 39 million people around the world to end hunger and poverty in a sustainable way. Working with rural communities across Africa for 47 years, Heifer International supports farmers and local food producers to strengthen local economies and build secure livelihoods that provide a living income. For information, visit https://www.heifer.org.
About Hello Tractor
Rapid urbanization, aging farmer populations and the drudgery of farm work have depleted rural labor supply and left viable farmland idle. Mechanization helps farmers plant 40 times faster at one-third of the cost, yet tractors often sit idle because there’s no market to serve smallholders. Hello Tractor works like Uber to get tractor services to smallholder farmers. Their inexpensive tracking device and software allow farmers and tractor owners to book connected tractors from their phones. Farmers get a critical service formerly unavailable to them, and owners see a fleet optimization opportunity that also minimizes fuel theft and fraud.
Currently serving over 500,000 small farmers across Africa with over 3,000 tractor and combine owners, Hello Tractor’s technology is successfully unlocking investment to create and drive the tractor market for smallholder farmers. For more information, visit hellotractor.com.