Profit-making idea: Maintenance support for agricultural equipment in Nigeria

The federal government of Nigeria is continuing with its renewed focus on the agricultural sector in an effort to diversify away from oil. In January 2020, the government inaugurated the committee that will lead the $1.1 billion agriculture mechanisation scheme known as the Green Imperative Programme. As part of the programme, Nigeria is expected to acquire 10,000 tractors and 50,000 units of assorted implements and equipment to be assembled locally.

However, the maintenance and servicing of agricultural equipment (especially tractors) remain a concern for farmers in the country.

According to Mira Mehta, founder and CEO of Tomato Jos (a Nigerian agricultural operation farming tomatoes for processing into tomato paste), one of the biggest headaches for the company is the maintenance of its mechanised equipment. Tractors are sometimes out of commission for weeks due to a shortage of parts.

“If you have a business that can provide an efficient service in fixing tractors or industrial agricultural implements, I think it could be a huge success,” says Mehta. Tomato Jos has struggled in the past because large agricultural machinery companies did not stock the parts it required.

Her advice for someone wanting to enter this market is to connect with the large commercial farming companies, to assess their biggest pain points, and then offer a solution to those challenges.

“You will have to do your research with the functional commercial farms, with the companies who have money to spend,” she says.