Heifer International has invested US$1 million into the Nigerian tractor-booking platform Hello Tractor. The funding will power a new programme, “Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG) Tractor Financing for Increased Agricultural Productivity in Nigeria,” which has already enabled tractor purchases in the Nigerian states of Nasarrawa, Abuja, and Enugu.
Hello Tractor has rolled out a tracking device and software that allows farmers and tractor owners to book connected tractors from their phones.
Farmers get a critical service formerly unavailable to them, and owners see a fleet optimisation opportunity that also minimises fuel theft and fraud. It currently serves over 500,000 small farmers across Africa with over 3,000 tractors and combines owners.
What they are saying
- Founder and CEO of Hello Tractor, Jehiel Oliver, said the partnership with Heifer would enable the company to expand its innovative financing to people who were previously considered ‘unbankable,’ while increasing access to technology that has the potential to improve the incomes of millions of smallholder farmers across Africa.
- “We developed the PAYG programme to make tractor ownership – and the reliable income these machines can bring – a reality for entrepreneurs who find it impossible to get credit through normal channels. We look at the revenue tractor owners can generate, not how much collateral they can pledge,” he said.
- Senior Vice President of Africa Programmes at Heifer International, Adesuwa Ifedi, said the PAYG model provided financing for entrepreneurs who want to create jobs by capitalising on the demand for tractor services on Africa farms, but who lack traditional forms of collateral.
- “It’s a way to unlock capital for youth who have strong business skills that can help transform African agriculture but are often overlooked by private equity investors,” Ifedi said.