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Heifer International spends $1b to support agric in Africa

An agribusiness giant, Heifer International, has spent $1 billion to increase investments in agricultural capacity and resilience across Africa, its Country Manager, Yusuf Idris has said.

He made this known yesterday in Lagos during the launch of its Africa Tech Challenge christened AYuTe Africa Challenge.

AYuTe Africa Challenge, an agritech contest for young entrepreneurs run by Heifer International.

Idris said the mission was to end global hunger in 39 million households.

In Nigeria, he   said the target is to reach 10 million households by 2030.

He noted that the organisation was determined   to help innovative startups alleviate food insecurity and encourage solutions to boost food production, processing, and creation of market linkages.

He said the organisation created the AYuTe Africa Challenge last year, to award cash grants yearly to the most promising young agritech innovators across Africa.

The Challenge will award startups up to $1.5 million and they will also receive technical assistance to rapidly expand their activities.

He said the organisation has invested 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 followed the launch of Hello Tractor’s innovative Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG) Tractor financing for agri-entrepreneurs in Nigeria with $1 million. This took the organisation’s investment in catalytic funding for tractor financing in Africa to $4.5 million.

According to him, Heifer International’s additional $3.5 million investment under its Tractors 4 Africa (T4A) project l finances an additional 75 tractors across Nigeria, Kenya and Uganda.

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.

Its programme, ‘Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG) Tractor Financing for Increased Agricultural Productivity in Nigeria’, he said, has enabled tractor purchases in Nasarawa and Enugu states, including Abuja.

He also said these purchases could make tractors accessible to thousands of smallholder farmers via the increasingly popular Hello Tractor leasing platform.

With millions of farmers, Lagos Agriculture Commissioner, Ms. Abisola Olusanya noted that agriculture was still one of the nation’s most important sectors.

Ms. Olusanya said the government was in support of startups emerging to foster a vibrant startup scene that will help modernise the agric sector.

She   stressed the importance of youth involvement in the search for solutions to challenges which the sector faces.

By promoting youth entrepreneurship in the agriculture sector, she said the government is ensuring a resilient food supply chain and keeping the sector strong.

In furtherance of this, she said Lagos through its programmes provides young people with experience in agriculture that could lead to a career working in the sector. The main goal, according to her, was to foster the next generation of farmers.






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