Changing Nigeria’s Agric Landscape Through Innovation, Technology

Barbie Espinol


The introduction of tracking products that make it possible for farmers to book tractor solutions from regional tractor owners via a cellular cellular phone application, which is portion of a programme not too long ago unveiled by Hello there Tractor in collaboration with Heifer Worldwide, will improve tractor ownership and assure a reality for business people who locate it unattainable to get credit history by means of regular channels, writes Festus Akanbi 

With scarcely a month to the end of the second quarter of the calendar year, anticipations are superior that the federal governing administration will be ready to produce on its promise to make certain the provision of detailed farm inputs to rural farmers as a way of increasing curiosity in agricultural practice with a corresponding maximize in food items manufacturing for domestic functions and exports. 

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr. Mohammad Abubakar, experienced at the 2021 funds overall performance and 2022 spending plan defence session at the National Assembly promised that complete farm input, between many others, would be offered to rural farmers as a result of stakeholders these kinds of as the Central Financial institution of Nigeria (CBN) for the financial inclusiveness in the agricultural sector, to mitigate the adverse effects of COVlD-19 and support farmers affected by incidents of flood catastrophe. 

Nonetheless, as the 3rd quarter beckons, watchers of the nation’s economic system say funding is still a major offer to agric smallholders in Nigeria. 

Meanwhile, out there data showed that in the third quarter of 2021, Nigeria’s agricultural sector grew by 1.22 per cent in actual conditions as opposed to the exact same period of time of the past 12 months.

It is a fact that agriculture is a important exercise for Nigeria’s economy soon after oil. Analysts mentioned that Nigeria’s agricultural sector has substantial advancement likely, but that this probable is not remaining realised thanks to various motives.

First, productiveness is reduced and stagnant. In addition to this, farming methods, which are mostly little in scale, are nevertheless predominantly subsistence-primarily based and for the most portion, count on the vagaries of the weather.

These developments did not make any cheering news. For occasion, $22 billion is invested each individual 12 months on food importation and as of March 2022, the inflation fee accelerated to 15.7%, food stuff inflation rose to 17.20% and food charges jumped far more than 20%.

When desire for meals is escalating, the source aspect faces the problems of transforming environmental and climatic circumstances, dwindling water source, scarcity of arable land and farming inputs, the rapid price of urbanisation that is decreasing readily available land for agriculture, and a host of other issues.

To mitigate these troubles, farmers have to continue to innovate and embrace electronic technological know-how to boost productiveness to fulfill domestic and external need. That’s why, the require for the transformation to digital or wise agriculture.

Technologies such as cellular telephony, robotics, remote sensor technological know-how, the World wide web of Matters (IoT), huge facts, artificial intelligence, and quite a few other individuals, offer the agricultural field with the resources and information to make more knowledgeable conclusions and enhance productiveness.

 New Prospects

 However, as the Nigerian economic system is opening up to private investments, new possibilities are rising and are currently dwarfing some of the difficulties facing the agricultural sector in the state. The fact is that Nigeria, like some other customers of the African continent, is starting to appreciate direct interventions which assure to increase its agricultural financing.

Tractor Financing

Just one of this sort of direct interventions arrived from Heifer Worldwide, which not too long ago declared that it is investing $1 million in the tractor booking platform, Good day Tractor, to supply financial loans for tractor purchases—loans that can be repaid from revenues acquired by leasing them to area farmers.

The programme, “Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG) Tractor Funding for Improved Agricultural Productiveness in Nigeria,” already has enabled tractor buys in the states of Nasarawa, Abuja, and Enugu. These buys, in accordance to the business, could make tractors accessible to thousands of smallholder farmers via the significantly well-liked Good day Tractor leasing system.

 Sometimes referred to as Uber for tractors, Howdy Tractor delivers software and tracking equipment that allow for farmers to ebook tractor expert services from area tractor proprietors via a mobile mobile phone app.

“We made the PAYG programme to make tractor ownership—and the trustworthy cash flow these machines can bring—a reality for business people who find it extremely hard to get credit rating by means of normal channels,” stated Jehiel Oliver, Founder, and CEO of Hi Tractor.

“We glance at the profits tractor proprietors can make, not how a great deal collateral they can pledge.”

Oliver reported that partnering Heifer “enables us to extend revolutionary financing to people today who were being beforehand deemed ‘unbankable,’ even though expanding entry to technology that has the possible to improve the incomes of thousands and thousands of smallholder farmers throughout Africa.”

Unlocking Capital for Youths

Even so, Senior Vice President of Africa Programmes at Heifer Intercontinental, Adesuwa Ifedi, who unveiled the Howdy Tractor Spend-as-you-go Tractor programme previous month in Abuja spelled out that “The pay out-as-you-go product gives funding for business people who want to make employment by capitalising on the demand for tractor services on African farms, but who absence standard kinds of collateral”, incorporating that the gesture is a way to unlock money for youth who have potent small business skills that can assistance transform African agriculture but are frequently missed by personal fairness buyers.

Partnership with Community Economies

Since 1944, Heifer International has labored with much more than 39 million persons about the environment to conclude starvation and poverty sustainably. Doing work with rural communities across Africa for 47 yrs, Heifer Worldwide supports farmers and nearby food producers to strengthen neighborhood economies and construct safe livelihoods that supply a living revenue.

 Ifedi stated that the company’s strategic objective around the up coming 8-10 a long time is to help extra than 1 million farmers (mainly youthful gentlemen and girls) to access a sustainable dwelling income by 2030, by strategic private and public sector partnerships, unlocking desire and industry opportunities, leveraging finance throughout precedence price chains, and leveraging innovation and emerging agricultural technologies to get to transformational scale.

“Heifer believes leveraging technological know-how and fashionable practices will create a pathway for Nigeria and other African nations around the world to maximize productiveness and competitiveness of the agricultural sector to suppress food items insecurity and poverty. Additional progress can also be attained with the involvement of the biggest team in the inhabitants – the youth – in all phases of agriculture,” she stated.

She included that with Nigeria’s population now estimated at extra than 200 million individuals and increasing at 3.2% a 12 months, feeding 200 million people and a projected 400 million by 2050 will be a complicated challenge. 

With additional than 75 decades of investing and technically contributing to agricultural transformation programmes globally, Heifer Worldwide is repositioning its get the job done in Africa to include financial investment in infrastructure, younger social business people, and technology to support the continent’s agricultural sector leapfrog.

Heifer Worldwide for far more than four decades has been a dependable husband or wife for smallholder farmers across Africa combining the energy of African youth with the quite a few opportunities of rising systems.

 According to Ifedi, “Globally, there are about 200 tractors per 100 square kilometers of agricultural lands, but in sub-Saharan Africa, there are only about 27. This is illustrative of a mechanization deficit.

The deficit has a significant effect on farm productiveness and area economies in a area the place most individuals rely on smallholder farming for profits.

“Hello, Tractor is one particular of numerous new agritech get started-ups rising throughout the continent that are finding enterprise chances in addressing this and other farming worries.

Nonetheless, even though non-public equity groups and massive effects buyers have delivered far more than $5 billion for tech startups in Africa, very minor of that funding has long gone to youthful agritech business people,” she observed.

 In 2021, Heifer International established the AYuTe Africa Obstacle, which awards hard cash grants annually to the most promising youthful agri-tech innovators across Africa. It also supports Heifer’s aim of serving to far more than six million African farmers to earn a sustainable living revenue by 2030. The Spend As You Go Tractor product was a fallout of this yearly African challenge opposition.

 The inaugural AYuTe Africa Challenge awarded a total of $1.5 million to two providers, of which Hi there Tractor is one. The award permitted Howdy Tractor to finance 17 tractors for 17 business people in a few international locations.

Ifedi expressed the perception that Heifer’s today’s investment decision in the PAYG merchandise will give a lot more business people and smallholder farmers access to tractor providers at an reasonably priced amount and in turn increase farm productivity, employment, foods safety, and farmer livelihoods in Nigeria.

 Since 1944, Heifer Global has labored with a lot more than 39 million persons all-around the environment to finish hunger and poverty sustainably. Doing the job with rural communities across Africa for 47 years, Heifer Worldwide supports farmers and neighborhood food producers to strengthen area economies and create secure livelihoods that offer a dwelling income.

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