Hello Tractor, ColdHubs win Sh165m Heifer grant for smallholder farmers


The chief executives of Hello Tractor, Jehiel Oliver, and ColdHubs’ Nnaemeka Ikegwuonu, have been awarded a total of $1.5 million (Sh165 million) by Heifer International for their creative technology aimed at improving smallholder farms across Africa.

The two were given the grants by Heifer International as a way of drawing young farmers in Africa into technological innovation.

Hello Tractor, which operates in Kenya and other African countries, provides technology that allows farmers to connect with local tractor owners on the company’s app and book equipment for as long as they need it.

On the other hand, ColdHubs owns and operates dozens of compact, walk-in, solar-powered coolers at rural produce markets in central Nigeria.

The transportable, stand-alone units give local farmers a means of keeping their beans, peppers, tomatoes and fresh for days or weeks, thus reducing waste.

Heifer created the AYuTe Africa Challenge (AYuTe stands for Agriculture, Youth and Technology) to boost farms’ access to technology.

The grants come a few days after a survey showed only 23 percent of African youth who work in agriculture use any form of agricultural technology.

The survey which includes responses from almost 30,000 young Africans pointed to the need for new investments to stimulate access to innovations that could encourage African youth to consider opportunities in the sector especially given the need to generate jobs and repair food supply chains battered by the pandemic.

Senior vice president of African Programs at Heifer International, Adesuwa Ifedi said the award will incentivise young people across Africa to be creative in improving food production.

"Today, we are pleased to provide funding to Hello Tractor and ColdHubs as they provide African smallholder farmers with the products and services needed to promote sustainable and profitable trade," Ms Ifedi said.

She added that the money will help fund rapid expansion plans of the companies and provide needed services to smallholder farmers.

“Our ambition is for Hello Tractor to be available across Africa and we’re excited that winning the AYuTe Africa Challenge will help make that happen,” Mr Oliver said.