International development organization, Heifer International, has announced an additional $3.5 million 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 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.
“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 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 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 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.