When Mira Mehta made the decision to relocate to Nigeria in 2014, her father questioned her choice of residence.

“But you already lived there once! Why do you want to go and live there again?” he asked. That question didn’t have the perfect answer. Mehta just couldn’t shake off the emotional attachment she has for Nigeria, a country she has been living in since 2008.

Mehta, who is a Finnish/Indian and American citizen, had the opportunity to begin her career in a developed country where basic amenities are readily available to be utilised. Instead, she chose to establish an agricultural company in a Sub-Saharan African emerging economy like Nigeria. Now mind you, she didn’t even establish her company in Lagos, the so called commercial hub of the country. Instead, she went all the way up north.

Why Northern Nigeria?

So what made Mehta prefer Northern Nigeria as the location for her business, Tomato Jos? Could it be the market size or guaranty of returns on investment? After all, Lagos is like the promise land for entrepreneurs. Regardless, reports about the environment and entrepreneurial spirit of Northern Nigerians were enough to lure Mehta and her dreams.

That was how Tomato Jos was established in Nasarawa State before it was eventually moved to Kaduna. Nairametrics learnt all these during a TweetChat we had with the her yesterday, April 26, 2019.

Why Tomato Jos?

The name of Mehta’s business shows the deep connection she has with the North. According to her, the fondness she has for Northern Nigeria was influenced by the likes of Sim Shagaya (the Founder of Konga and Executive Chairman of DealDey) and his friends who kept telling her how beautiful their town, Jos.

How she raised capital to establish Tomato Jos

While trying to set up Tomato Jos, Mehta approached friends and family with a SAFE (Simple Agreement for Future Equity) document.

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What is SAFE?: It is an agreement between an investor and a company that provides rights to the investor for future equity in the company similar to a warrant; except without determining a specific price per share at the time of the initial investment.

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Tomato Jos operates in three segments;

  1. Farming tomatoes (and maize and soy in the rainy season),
  2. Processing tomatoes, and
  3. Selling a branded product – So far we’re only really doing the first thing, but the company intends to start processing in 2020.

Mehta disclosed during the TweetChat that the company is currently in need of capital in order to build a factory that will process tomatoes and improve Tomato Jos‘ financials.

Mehta said Tomato Jos operates like any other tomato paste company

Challenges faced in the business

Although Tomato Jos has yet to begin full-fledged tomato paste business, Mehta said the non-availability of raw materials makes it difficult for her paste business. Therefore, there is need to always farm.

Short term plan for Tomato Jos

Mehta said during the TweetChat with Nairametrics that the goal is to launch Tomato Jos’ tomato paste brand in the second quarter of 2020.

6 COMMENTS

  1. Oh please give me a break , tomatoes jos has been in existence for long befor she came to naija, y’all just love to promote foreigners, that’s all.

    • “Anonymous April 27, 2019 at 4:38 am
      Oh please give me a break , tomatoes jos has been in existence for long befor she came to naija, y’all just love to promote foreigners, that’s all.”

      You are not intelligent. It does not matter whether it is a foreigner or indigene. The issue is about promoting young businesses playing in challenging spaces, especially with the volatile political situation across Nigeria and the tough economic realities. I will be glad that she can get investors, can imagine the job she will create. As a foreign national, she could have taken her work elsewhere than labour painfully. Go and start a business and witness what it takes before releasing feeble-minded statements.

    • Did you read the article at all? It’s called Tomato Jos, but it is NOT based in Jos. I don’t know why she decided to do that because Jos’ tomatoes are so good, hence the popular term “tomato Jos”.

  2. Not that easy, tomato can be in short supply, not enough income to keep up the factory and can lead to closer,oh yes marketing and distribution is a tough terain in niaja. good luck

  3. if I do not like Nigeria or Nigerians I do now. i.e that is if I am not a Nigerian, nobody is addressing the issue of tomatoe production in jos.if miss Mehta is going into production,we do not know ? if nairametric is informing us or educating us,we do not know ?all I saw is a white woman making a lots of noise,from south east of Nigeria,we do get potatoes,tomatoes,some vegetable down south to south south part of Nigeria. what Does this woman really want ?Does she want to take the advantage of agricultural industry in jos area because of jos mild temperature of that area.we do have a sizeable white people living in jos,who came during the colonization and still stayed in jos area.Mr John Major,the former prime minister of Britain was living in jos town during the colonization,he was working as a banker in jos
    What I enjoyed is Gyang comment Why ?he wrote because he is from jos area,he could be an idoma or tiv person.he know what he is talking about

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