A Nigerian Agric company, Tomato Jos, has closed a €3.9 million series of funding. According to the company, the funding will be deployed into the processing and distribution of tomato products.
Tomato Jos, located in Kaduna, about 190km from Abuja, Nigeria’s capital city of Abuja, works with smallholder farmers to increase yield, reduce losses after harvest, and get optimum returns from sales to customers.
Since its inception in 2014, the company says it has directly supported over 70 farmers in growing their average yield by over 340% from 5 to 22 metric tons per hectare while increasing average income 455%.
In a 2019 presentation, the Chairman of Governing Board of the Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC), Abdullahi Tambuwal, stated that Nigeria loses 40% of its post-harvest tomato stock annually. While the volume of production has increased to 1.8 metric tons, it does not match the demand for tomatoes which is estimated at 2.4 metric tons per annum.
Poor infrastructural support for the Agric sector jeopardizes the work of farmers who own small-scale farms and often lack the means to secure their produce.
In line with its operations, Tomato Jos has focused on efficient production of tomatoes and paste, solving the problems of wastage in the value chain. With this funding, the company will work on installing a drip irrigation system, and a tomato processing plant that can produce 24 tons of finished product per day.
Mira Mehta, the Founder and CEO of Tomato Jos, says that processing has always been the plan for Tomato Jos. “Still, to get there, we spent a long five years working only on farming and primary production to make sure that we had a rock-solid foundation in place”.
Having started its operations five years earlier, Tomato Jos has become a 500-hectare-enterprise with plans to work with thousands of small-scale farmers on over 2,600 hectares of land. They estimate that they can generate over the US $1 million in direct income for the local economy each year.
The company’s big plans are backed by a consortium of investors including Goodwell Investments, the Netherlands venture capital firm. The investment was made through Alitheia Capital, the Nigerian investment management company that co-owns the $75 million IDF fund for women-led businesses.
Mobola da-Silva, a partner at Alitheia, says “Tomato Jos has chosen the right market, business model and management to succeed as a truly inclusive business within this environment.”