NIGERIA – Hello Tractor, a tractor booking platform, has received US$1 million investment from Heifer International to spearhead its Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG) Tractor Financing for Increased Agricultural Productivity in Nigeria program.
The initiative is focused on providing loan financing for tractor purchases to potential young entrepreneurs, with a flexible repayment plan i.e., utilizing revenues from the leasing of the farm machinery to local farmers.
This is a way to generate agribusiness opportunities for young African entrepreneurs and make tractors accessible to thousands of smallholder farmers via its increasingly popular Hello Tractor leasing platform at an affordable rate.
The partnership enables Hello Tractor to extend innovative financing to people who were previously considered ‘unbankable,’ while increasing access to technology that has the potential to boost farm productivity, employment, food security and farmer livelihoods.
“It’s a way to unlock capital for youth who have strong business skills that can help transform African agriculture but are often overlooked by private equity investors,” said Adesuwa Ifedi, Senior Vice President of Africa Programs at Heifer International.
Hello Tractor curbs mechanization deficit in Nigeria
Referred to as Uber for tractors, Hello Tractor offers software and tracking devices that allow farmers to book tractor services from local tractor owners via a mobile phone app.
This is illustrative of a mechanization deficit that has a significant impact on farm productivity and local economies in a region where most people depend on smallholder farming for income.
However, while private equity groups and large impact investors have provided more than US$5 billion for tech start-ups in Africa, very little of that financing has gone to young agritech entrepreneurs.
Ifedi noted that Heifer International is stepping into the breach to demonstrate the potential of agritech investments to generate jobs for the ten and twelve million young people entering the workforce every year in Africa– and in an economy that, according to the African Development Bank, generates only three million formal jobs annually.
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’s goal of helping more than six million African farmers earn a sustainable living income by 2030.