Nigeria: Uka Eje assists smallholder farmers with agritech Thrive Agric

By : Melchior Koba

Date : jeudi, 14 avril 2022 15:43

After four years of professional career, Uka Eje traveled abroad to sharpen his skills to efficiently meet the needs of the more than 200,000 farmers he assists.  

Uka Eje was born and raised in a farming community in Benue State, Nigeria. Though he found his passion for agriculture quite early, the man who birthed agritech Thrive Agric started committing to farmers between 2012 and 2016. During this period, Eje was working at Royal Impact Corp, “a social enterprise that builds systems around the food, agricultural, and technological sectors and aimed at solving the daily challenges faced by a targeted community. There, he grasped the many opportunities agriculture could offer if proper practices were implemented.

In 2016, the Nigerian entrepreneur co-founded Thrive Agric with Ayodeji Arikawe to improve the living conditions of smallholder farmers.

Leveraging technology, Thrive Agric collects and analyzes farm management data to make smallholder farmers more productive, notably by devising personalized financing, farming, and marketing plans.

To be more useful to farmers, Uka Eje enrolled in food production courses at the University of Reading, and Innovation courses at Leeds University between 2016 and 2017.

In March 2022, Uka Eje successfully raised US$56.4 million to expand the operations of his startup, which was claiming more than 200,000 farmers in his client base at the time. His expansion targets are notably Ghana, Zambia, and Kenya. “The new investment takes us one step closer to fulfilling our mission of building the largest network of profitable African farmers using technology to ensure food security,” he said after the fundraising operation.

To date, Thrive Agric has funded more than 15,000 farmers across 20 states in Nigeria. The achievement earned Uka Eje various awards, including the 2018 Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) award. He was also featured in Forbes’ Top 30 under 30 Most Promising Africans in 2019. The same year, Thrive Agric was selected to participate in the  Y Combinator Winter 2019 batch and the Go Global Africa fund, in the Google Developers Launchpad. In 2021, Africa CEO Summit named Thrive Agric one of Africa’s most promising startups.

Melchior Koba


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