Agritech startup Thrive Agric launches US$10m project to support smallholder farmers

NIGERIA – Thrive Agric, the Abuja-based agritech startup, has launched a one-year project that aims to support 50 000 smallholder farmers and will be supported and conducted in collaboration with the USAID-funded West Africa Trade & Investment Hub’s (Trade Hub).

As part of its partnership with the Trade Hub, Thrive Agric has committed to raising at least US$10 million to fund this support while Trade Hub will invest US$1.75 million grant.

The farmers to be supported are the ones that grow rice, maize, and soybean in Nigeria, as part of the agritech’s commitment to strengthening value chains in the country.

Ayodeji Arikawe, Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer of Thrive Agric outlines that the programme is a tech-driven approach to assisting smallholder farmers.

“Existing efforts to support smallholder farmers tend to follow traditional approaches to boost their agricultural productivity, such as commercial firms integrating them into value chains through modern inputs,” Ayodeji said.

“We know that most smallholder farmers, particularly women and youth, require more nuanced support to facilitate their participation in markets and, ultimately, increase food security and incomes at the household and national levels.”

The programme will be targeting smallholder farmers in Kaduna, Kebbi, and Kano States. All the selected beneficiaries of the programme will be either women or young smallholder farmers.

The 50 000 smallholders selected to take part in the project will receive agronomy advisory services, pre-and post-harvest storage and logistics support, links to credit and agriculture insurance products, and access to the company’s current and future mobile apps.

The project aims to produce at least 50,000 metric tons of rice, maize, and soybean produced by the end of the 2021 season, which will be sold to premium markets and result in farmers enjoying higher-than-normal incomes.

In addition, the project will create 1,000 jobs for others involved in the agricultural value chain, including for prospective farm, field, and warehouse managers. Nearly 70 percent of these jobs will go to women, who are often overlooked for higher-paying managerial positions.

Founded in 2016, Thrive Agric aims to empower smallholder African farmers by removing the existing barriers to accessing capital and financial services, data-driven best practices, and technology.

The startup claims to have assisted over 140 000 Nigerian farmers. It has assisted these farmers in increasing their capacities to meet supply, quality, and food safety standards set out by domestic and international export markets.

Thrive Agric has created a mobile app Tradr, which provides farmers direct access to seed and other input providers, and off-takers within their locations. In addition, the agritech’s Tmoni mobile app provides customers with a digital mobile wallet, which can be used to send, receive, save, and borrow money.

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