Tomato Jos, Nigerian agro-processing company focused on the local production and processing of tomatoes has diversified its operations venturing into the grains sector.
Under the new move, the private equity-backed, fast-growing social enterprise is seeking to boost the productivity, incomes, and resilience of maize and soybean smallholder farmers in northern Nigeria’s Kaduna State.
The company has received a N494 million (US$1.2 million) co-investment grant from the USAID-funded West Africa Trade & Investment Hub (Trade Hub) to facilitate the venture.
According to Trade Hub, Kaduna State is home to approximately 1.3 million farming families, many of whom farm both maize and soybean, two of Nigeria’s staple crops.
However, domestic production of these grains is failing to meet the high market demand because of several limitations faced by farmers, including outdated farming techniques, limited awareness of the market’s quality demand, and a lack of funds to improve their farming practices.
To address these challenges, Tomato Jos will leverage its grant and approximately N3.3 billion (US$8 million) of private funds to launch a 3-year maize and soybean out grower project in northern Nigeria.
The project will benefit 4,000 smallholder farmers who will work as out growers (also known as contract farmers) with Tomato Jos. Sixty percent of the out growers will be women and at least 40 percent youth.
“Leveraging private investments to finance smallholder farmers is key to driving inclusive economic growth in Northern Nigeria,” says Mira Mehta, founder of Tomato Jos. “We are proud to partner with the Trade Hub on this innovative project.”
The 4,000 smallholders will be trained on modern farming techniques to ensure their crops’ quality and increase their productivity.
Tomato Jos Receives $1.2 Million Ssupport From USAID
As many smallholders currently lack the capital to fully run their farm, loans will also be offered. These loans, combined with a guaranteed offtake of the crops through Tomato Jos, will provide a much-needed financial backstop to the smallholders, particularly for those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Through these efforts, smallholders’ will be able to produce 3,600 metric tons of maize by the third year of the project, and 400 metric tons of soybean.
The co-investment will also be used to assist Tomato Jos in improving its operations and productivity.
The company will expand its storage capacity for grains, source improved inputs for greater yields, and increase its model farm and out grower programs to cover more locations for maize and soybean farming.
Tomato Jos will also develop its mobile and cloud technology platforms for data capturing, farm monitoring, and improved communication.
“Nigeria has seen its outputs of maize and soybean decline in recent years and efforts to counter this have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Thus, it is vital to assist companies such as Tomato Jos to help farmers increase production of these two staple crops and support food security,” says Karl Littlejohn, Acting Chief of Party for the Trade Hub.
The Trade Hub’s partnership with Tomato Jos builds on its other recently launched partnerships in Nigeria, such as ones with PYXERA Global and Thrive Agric, also focused on increased maize and soybean production.
The financial backing comes a year after the agribusiness firm, completed its US$4.2m Series A funding round led by Goodwell Investments, via its West Africa partner Alitheia Capital with participation from Acumen Capital Partners and VestedWorld.
The funding was channelled towards spearheading its transition to the next stage of growth which will entail the processing and distribution of tomato products.
Tomato Jos’ growth plans include the installation of a drip irrigation system and a processing plant that can produce 24 tons of finished products per day.
Nigeria’s Inflation Rate Falls To 17.01% In August 2021
Nigeria’s inflation rate in August this year dropped to 17.01% compared to 17.38% reported in July 2021 says National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
The fall represents the fifth consecutive decline in the rate of inflation recently recorded in Nigeria.
The latest figure is 0.37% represents lower than what was recorded in the previous month. Meanwhile, on a month-on-month basis, the headline index increased by 1.02% in August 2021, this is 0.09% higher than the rate recorded in July 2021 (0.93%).
The urban inflation rate increased by 17.59% (year-on-year) in August 2021 from 18.01% recorded in July 2021, while the rural inflation rate increased by 16.43% in August 2021 from 16.75% in July 2021.
On a month-on-month basis, the urban index rose by 1.06% in August 2021, up by 0.08% points compared to the rate recorded in July 2021 (0.98%), while the rural index also rose by 0.99% in August 2021, up by 0.12% points compared to the rate that was recorded in July 2021 (0.87%).
Food inflation Rate
The closely watched index, which measures the rate of change in the prices of food items in the country, dropped to 20.3% in August 2021, compared to 21.03% recorded in the previous month.
According to the report, the rise in the food index was caused by increases recorded in the price of bread cereals, milk, cheese and egg, oil and fats as well as tea and cocoa.
The ”All items less farm produce” or Core inflation, which excludes the prices of volatile agricultural produce stood at 13.41% in August 2021, down by 0.31% when compared with 13.72% recorded in July 2021.
The Central Bank Governor Godwin Emefiele said on Tuesday at the 14th Annual Banking and Finance Conference that the declining inflationary trend has reflected several measures put in place by the fiscal and monetary authorities.
Recall that the Monetary Policy Committee had kept the country’s monetary benchmark rate constant at 11.5% in a bid to expand the economy from the recession recorded in the third quarter of 2020. He however stated during the last MOC meeting that the committee had hoped for a faster moderation in the inflation rate than is being recorded.
Sanwo-Olu Signs VAT Bill Into Law
Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Friday signed into law the State VAT Bill.
By this act, the Bill has now become a Law to impose and charge VAT on certain goods and services.
Consequently, Lagos State Internal Revenue Service (LSIRS) has been empowered to administer and implement the law and account for money collected in accordance with the law.
The VAT law titled, “Lagos State Value Added Tax Law: A Bill for a Law to Impose and Charge Value Added Tax On Certain Goods And Services, Provide for the Administration of the Tax and for Related Matters,” empowers the state to charge VAT at the rate of six per cent on the value of goods and services in the state.
It also states that “the value of taxable goods and services shall be determined in the following ways: where the supply is for a money consideration, its value shall be deemed to be an amount which with the addition of the tax chargeable is equal to the consideration.”
The law further states that revenue accruing from VAT would be shared on a ratio of 75 per cent to 25 per cent between the state government and the Local Government Council Areas.
Meanwhile, a Federal High Court in Port Harcourt in August delivered a judgment restraining the FIRS from collecting VAT and personal income tax in Rivers State.
FIRS on Wednesday said it has appealed the judgment which held that it does not have the right to collect VAT in the state.
“Be assured that FIRS has filed an appeal and that one is in process and that is why we are not able to speak,” FIRS Group Lead, Special Tax Operations, Matthew Gbonjugbola told a news conference on Wednesday.
MTN Group Announces Mobile Money Partnership With Flutterwave
MTN has announced a mobile money partnership with Africa’s leading payments technology company, Flutterwave. This partnership will allow businesses integrating Flutterwave in Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Rwanda, Uganda, and Zambia to receive payments via MTN Mobile Money (MoMo).
MTN MoMo is a fintech platform providing consumers and businesses with an electronic wallet, enabling electronic transfers and payments as well as access to digital and financial services. At the end of June 2021, MTN MoMo had 48.9 million active users and 581,514 merchants. MoMo enables businesses to accept and make payments within the mobile money ecosystem. This new partnership will enable Flutterwave to offer MTN Mobile Money as a payment method to its business customers.
In recent years, Africa has witnessed an explosion in mobile penetration as smartphone adoption has risen rapidly. According to the GSMA, this year Africa will hit the half a billion mark of unique mobile subscribers, and the continent will reach 50% subscriber penetration by 2025. Sub-Saharan Africa alone is responsible for more than 45% of the world’s mobile money accounts with the number of account holders exceeding half a billion by 2020, as shared on Statista.
Through this partnership, MTN and Flutterwave aim to positively contribute to this trend by increasing mobile money usage and penetration in Africa to improve local economies and livelihoods as well as create opportunities for individuals and businesses across the continent.
Commenting on the partnership, Serigne Dioum, MTN Group Chief Digital, and Fintech Officer said: “As we progress on our journey to becoming the largest fintech platform in Africa, we will empower millions of businesses to embrace e-commerce in our markets to accept digital payments from MoMo consumers. We believe this is an enabler to accelerating digitized payments in Africa. Building strong ecosystems through partnerships is central to our platform strategy and we will continue to invest in expanding the reach of our platform to consumers and businesses in Africa.”
Commenting on the collaboration, Olugbenga “GB” Agboola, Founder and CEO of Flutterwave, said: “Africa has one of the highest growth rates for mobile money adoption and e-commerce in the world. It makes sense that we help provide a seamless payment method to support and ensure African businesses reap the full benefits of the e-commerce boom in the region. Our goal has always been to grow a new wave of prosperity in Africa by creating more avenues for businesses in Africa to accept payments. With this partnership, we can achieve this while creating endless possibilities for our customers.”
The new partnership will further expand on Flutterwave’s previous collaboration with MTN, beyond Uganda and Rwanda – with the potential of deepening adoption of digital payments and e-commerce in Africa, a sector expected to reach $29 billion by 2022, according to Statista.
Business2 years ago
Alleged Manipulation of Tax : Italian Construction company, Borini Prono, Battles Nigerian Police
Business2 years ago
PRESIDENT BUHARI’S GODSON, NASIRU HALADU DANU’S WINNING STREAK
Society2 years ago
Gumsu Abacha’s Pretentious Lifestyle after Marriage Crash
Society2 years ago
When Mohammed Babangida Stepped out With Umma
Business2 years ago
Visionscape Boss, Niyi Makanjuola’s Myriad of Troubles
Society2 years ago
CITY BUSINESSMAN, GERALD ANOZOBO’S NEW LIFESTYLE
Society2 years ago
Lulu-Briggs: Family Exposes Wife, Seinye’s Dirty Ways.. Ola KING
Society2 years ago
Lulu-Briggs’ Death Controversy: Dumo Laughs Last