Tomato Jos, a private equity-backed, social enterprise agric company has been awarded a N494 million grant by the USAID-funded West Africa Trade & Investment Hub (Trade Hub) to boost the productivity, income, and resilience of 4000 maize and soybean smallholder farmers in northern Nigeria’s Kaduna State.
This was disclosed in a statement by USAID and Tomato Jos viewed by Nairametrics on Tuesday evening.
Tomato Jos stated that the grant will be used to launch a 3-year maize and soybean outgrower project in Kaduna State to help farmers overcome the challenges of outdated farming techniques, limited awareness of the market’s quality demand, and a lack of funds to improve their farming practices.
Mira Mehta, founder of Tomato Jos said, “Leveraging private investments to finance smallholder farmers is key to driving inclusive economic growth. We are proud to partner with the Trade Hub on this innovative project.”
The statement revealed that Tomato Jos will leverage its grant and approximately 3.3 billion naira ($8 million) of private funds to launch a 3-year maize and soybean outgrower project in northern Nigeria.
“The project will benefit 4,000 smallholder farmers who will work as outgrowers (also known as contract farmers) with Tomato Jos. Sixty percent of the outgrowers will be women and at least 40 per cent youth.
“The 4,000 smallholders will be trained on modern farming techniques to ensure their crops’ quality and increase their productivity. As many smallholders currently lack the capital to fully run their farm, loans will also be offered. These loans, combined with a guaranteed offtake of the crops through Tomato Jos, will provide a much-needed financial backstop to the smallholders, particularly for those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Through these efforts, smallholders’ will be able to produce 3,600 metric tons of maize by the third year of the project, and 400 metric tons of soybean,” they said.
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“Nigeria has seen its outputs of maize and soybean decline in recent years and efforts to counter this have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Karl Littlejohn, Acting Chief of Party for the Trade Hub.
“Thus, it is vital to assist companies such as Tomato Jos to help farmers increase production of these two staple crops and support food security,” he added.
What you should know
The West Africa Trade & Investment Hub (Trade Hub) is a USAID-funded initiative that catalyzes economic growth through co-investing with the private sector to generate new investments, create new jobs, and increase the value of regional and international exports in West Africa.
Tomato Jos is a private equity-backed, fast-growing social enterprise located in Kaduna, Nigeria, that believes in the power of local production for local consumption. Its mission is to create a middle class in rural Nigeria by empowering smallholder subsistence farmers to transform into expert growers of tomato, maize, and soybean.