New Telegraph

Heifer int’l boosts tractor financing with $3.5m

Three weeks after committing $1 million investment for the purchase of tractors, Heifer International has invested an additional $3.5 million for the Tractor For Africa initiative, with a view to speed up the agricultural productivity and development through innovative farming in the African continent. This brings Heifer International’s investment in catalytic funding for tractor financing in Africa to $4.5 million.

It would provide affordable access to tractor services to 872,250 smallholder farmers at an affordable rate, boost farm productivity, food security and farmer livelihoods, create 6,979 new jobs as booking agents, tractor operators, technicians and tractor owners over the next 10 years. Senior Vice President of Heifer International Africa, Adesuwa Ifedi, who explained that the investment was being deployed through Heifer International’s Tractors 4 Africa project, noted that the $4.5 million would add additional 75 tractors to the already existing 70 tractors in Nigeria, Kenya and Uganda.

He said: “Last year, we invested $1 million that was needed to leverage on Pay-As-You-Go tractor ownership financing model where we provided 70 tractors for Nigeria, Uganda and Kenya, this year, we are doing an additional follow up investment as a result of the need and the impact on another initiative we kicked off this year called Tractor for Africa, and we have invested $3.5 million bringing the total investment in tractorization to $4.5 million. “This additional investment will provide 75 additional tractors across the three countries. However the ambition of Tractor for Africa is to be able to provide 50,000 tractors between now and 2030.

“We are beginning to design the innovative financing mechanism that will allow us to trigger additional investment into this space.” President and CEO of Heifer International, Pierre Ferrari, 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. According to him, Heifer International created the AYuTe Africa Challenge which awards cash grants annually to the most promising young agritech innovators across Africa in 2021.

Amongst other benefits, the AYuTe Africa Challenge supports Heifer International’s goal of helping more than six million African farmers earn a sustainable living income by 2030, and its $1 million award enabled Hello Tractor to finance 17 tractors for 17 entrepreneurs in three countries; Nigeria, Kenya and Uganda. He said: “Increased mechanisation and tractors in particular are vital as smallholder farmer’s 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.”

Ferrari added that “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.

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