Nigerian Agric-tech startup, Thrive Agric receives $1.5 million grant to boost incomes of 50,000 farmers
Driven by the desire to boost food security in Nigeria through technology-driven agricultural services, Thrive Agric has launched an ambitious 1-year project to support 50,000 smallholder farmers growing rice, maize, and soybean in Nigeria.
This new project will be done through the support of the USAID-funded West Africa Trade and Investment Hub (Trade Hub) and will see Thrive Agric receive a $1.75 million co-investment grant. This is part of USAID’s commitment to strengthening the agricultural value chain in the West African country, including the three crops.
Before this investment, Thrive Agric has been involved in helping over 140,000 farmers increase their capacities to meet supply, quality, and food safety standards required by domestic and foreign exports in Nigeria. The startup was able to achieve this by bundling a variety of products and services that were previously beyond the reach of smallholder farmers, distributing them in rural areas through its networks, and partnering with agriculture organizations to expand upon these efforts.
In his remarks, Ayodeji Arikawe, Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer of Thrive Agric said:
“Existing efforts to support smallholder farmers tend to follow traditional approaches to boost their agricultural productivity, such as commercial firms integrating them into value chains through modern inputs. We know that most smallholder farmers, particularly women and youth, require more nuanced support to facilitate their participation in markets and, ultimately, increase food security and incomes at the household and national levels. As part of the project, Thrive Agric will use its proven, forward-thinking strategies and technology to assist targeted farmers in Kaduna, Kebbi, and Kano State. All project beneficiaries will be either women or youth.”
The company is also big on leveraging technology to support and create better livelihoods for smallholder farmers across Nigeria and Africa at large. Through its Tradr mobile app, for example, Thrive Agric gives farmers direct access to seed and other input providers, farm machinery service providers, and off-takers within their locations. Likewise, its Tmoni mobile app provides customers with a digital wallet on their phone, which they can use to send, receive, save, and borrow money.
Michael Clements, Trade Hub’s Chief of Party said: “I look forward to seeing the company’s success in using tech solutions to benefit these farmers. The lessons learned through their tech-savviness can be leveraged to assist future partners seeking innovative avenues to assist stakeholders in the agricultural value chain.”
The 50,000 smallholders tapped to join the project will receive agronomy advisory services, pre-and post-harvest storage and logistics support, links to credit and agriculture insurance products, and access to the company’s current and future mobile apps. As part of its partnership with the Trade Hub, Thrive Agric has committed to raising at least $10 million to fund this support.