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Nigerian Tomato paste processing firm secures over N1.8b series A funding

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The local production of tomato in the country received a huge boost when Tomato Jos, an African agricultural production company, secured Series A round funding of EUR 3.9 million (N1.83 billion) through a consortium of investment firms, who are especially focused on providing support for small and growing businesses in Africa.

This series A funding is to help position Tomato Jos to further improve the lives and incomes of smallholder farmers and increase the sustainability and stability of food supply in Nigeria.

The funding round was led by Goodwell Investments, through its West Africa partner, Aliyheia Capital with participation from Acumen Capital Partners and VestedWorld.

Tomato Jos was founded by Mira Mehta in 2014 with the vision to create and retain local value add to the tomato value chain, reduce post-harvest losses, and improve the lives of smallholder farmers. Since its inception, Tomato Jos has focused on securing its supply chain through primary production.

The secured EUR 3.9 million Series A funding boosts the transition to its next stage of growth i.e. the processing and distribution of tomato products. The agricultural firm will work with thousands of smallholder farmers on over 2,600 hectares of land, putting more than $1 million of direct income into the local economy each year

According to the founder and CEO of Tomato Jos, Mira Mehta, ‘’Processing has always been the plan for Tomato Jos, but to get there, we spent a long five years working only on farming and primary production to make sure that we had a really solid foundation in place’’.

‘’Everyone at the company is extremely excited to take this big step forward into the world of food processing and value-add production’’.

Although Nigeria is the second-largest producer of tomatoes in Africa, farming inefficiencies create a demand-supply gap resulting in Nigeria also being one of the biggest importers of tomato paste in the world.

A partner at Alitheia, Mobola da-Silva, ‘’Tomato Jos has chosen the right market, business model, and management to succeed as a truly inclusive business within this management. As an agro-processing company that sources from local smallholder farmers and provides access to finance in the form of farming inputs to farmers, Tomato Jos is a good fit for uMunyhu’s inclusive strategy of investing in agribusiness’’.

Tomato Jos, through its initiatives and connecting local farmers to domestic consumers, has helped smallholder farmers’ average yield to grow by over 340% from 5 to 22 metric tons per hectare, while their average income increased by 455%.

CrossBoundary provided advisory support to this transaction through USAID’s INVEST program, funded by USAID Southern and Eastern Africa Regional Missions in support of the US Government’s Prosper Africa initiative.

The MD of Acumen Capital Partners said, ‘’Acumen Capital Partners is thrilled to join Tomato Jos’ Investors to help the company continue to develop a world-class vertically integrated tomato processing operation in Nigeria. Tomato Jos is positioned not only to locally produce tomato paste, which is mainly imported into Nigeria but to help Nigerian smallholder farmers increase their income by increasing their yield by 3-4x’’.

This is a huge boost to the country achieving self-sufficiency in tomato paste production as although Nigeria is one of the biggest producers of tomato in the continent, it is still one of the largest importers of tomato paste in the world.

It can also be recalled that in February 2020, Dangote Tomato Processing Company officially resumed the production of tomato paste after initial hiccups and suspension of operations. This was due to the inadequacy of raw materials.

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Nigeria signs MoU with Niger Republic on petroleum products transportation, storage

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The Federal Government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Niger Republic on the transportation and storage of petroleum products.

This was disclosed by the Ministry of Petroleum Resources via its Twitter handle on Thursday.

It tweeted, “Nigeria, Niger Republic Sign MoU on Petroleum Products Transportation, Storage. NNPC Pledges to Support SONIDEP on Capacity Building.”

The MoU was signed by the GMD NNPC, Mallam Mele Kyari and the Director General of SONIDEP, Mr. Alio Toune under the supervision of the two countries’ Ministers of State for Petroleum, Çhief Timipre Sylva and Mr. Foumakoye Gado, respectively with the Secretary General of the African Petroleum Producers Organisation (APPO), Dr. Omar Farouk Ibrahim in attendance.

Sylva explained that the development is another huge step in developing trade relations between both countries.

He said, “This is a major step forward. Niger Republic has some excess products which needs to be evacuated. Nigeria has the market for these products. Therefore, this is going to be a win-win relation for both countries.”

What you should know

Following bilateral agreements between Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari and President Mahamadou Issoufou, talks have been on-going between two countries for over four months – through the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and Niger Republic’s National Oil Company, Societe Nigerienne De Petrole (SONIDEP), on petroleum products transportation and storage.

Niger Republic’s Soraz Refinery in Zinder, some 260km from the Nigerian border, has an installed refining capacity of 20,000 barrels per day. Niger’s total domestic requirement is about 5,000bpd, thus leaving a huge surplus of about 15,000 bpd, mostly for export.

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House of Reps to support full aviation reform

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The House of Representatives has promised to support total reforms in the aviation industry through legislation, as it appeals for active participation of stakeholders in public hearings.

This was disclosed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, via his Twitter handle on Tuesday.

According to him, the House has identified that the aviation industry is a key contributor to the growth of the country’s economy and through legislation it would do all it can to develop the industry.

During the opening of a 3-day public hearing session on six aviation-sector bills by the Committee on Aviation, he explained that the draft legislation would make the sector more effective and efficient.

He said, “It is imperative to note that the development of our aviation industry is an added advantage to the growth of our economy. It is in this vein that the House of Representatives will continue to support total rehabilitation and upgrading of our airports and allied services.

“The consideration of these Bills during this Public Hearing is a testament to our commitment to give new life to the aviation sector and make our airports to be a better non-oil revenue-generating sector as is witnessed in other advanced economies.”

The Speaker appealed to the public and interested parties to honour invitations to House committee public hearings so that they can share ideas on how to make critical sectors deliver optimally.

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Hoodlums loot Shoprite store in Ilorin, stole iPhone 11 mobile sets, others

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Some suspected hoodlums l allegedly looted the Palms Mall on Fate road, Ilorin, Kwara State capital. The mall hosts stores of Shoprite, and Lifemate Furniture among other stores including Mobile phones retailers.

This was revealed by an eye witness.

He said, “They allegedly stole iPhone 11 mobile sets, other mobile sets brands, Refrigerators, and households items among others.”

According to him, the suspected hoodlums forced their way into the Mall after they have stormed and allegedly looted Kwara Agro Hall, an agro resettlement centre, where they carted away Aluminium roofing sheets, mattresses, bags of cement and bags of flour among others.

Back story: Similarly, similar incidents had occured in Lagos when suspected hoodlums looted at Shoprite Malls across Surulere, Sangotedo.

According to reports, suspected thugs from Orile have invaded the mall and the neighbourhoods.

The alleged looters were seen with a cartload of goods on the streets along Ajah Road.

An eyewitness account also submitted that the hoodlums were looting shops around Bode Thomas and Adeniran Ogunsanya.

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