January 30, 2023

Founded by an American woman entrepreneur, Tomato Jos grows and processes tomatoes, maize, and soya in Nigeria. 

The company uses best practices in agriculture and food processing, coupled with local market expertise, to replace bulk tomato imports with better quality, locally-processed products.

Tomato Jos was founded 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. 

Tomato Jos provides smallholder farmers with the tools to make long-term, sustainable improvements across the entire farming value chain. This has increased farmers’ yields from 5 to 22 metric tons per hectare, with average income increasing by 455 percent. 

The idea to process tomatoes into tomato paste first came to Mira Mehta when she encountered her first tomato market glut in Northern Nigeria. 

Nigerian farmers produced about 65% of the tomatoes grown in West Africa, but paradoxically were also the largest importer of tomato paste in the world. Tomato Jos took advantage of this opportunity by solving a vital problem. 

The company currently directly supports over 70 smallholder farmers across three growing cycles.

Growth plans include the installation of a drip irrigation system and a processing plant that can produce 24 tons of finished product per day.

Tomato Jos works with thousands of smallholder farmers on over 2,600 hectares of land, putting more than $1M of direct income into the local economy each year.

How it Works

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

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Tomato Jos works to increase yields and incomes of the local smallholder tomato farmers it works with, boosting the sector with an improved capacity of farmers, reduced post-harvest losses, and a high-quality product.

Production

The company has focused solely on the primary production of tomatoes, soya, and maize to demonstrate that global excellence in agriculture is achievable in Nigeria, to train a large network of smallholder farmers to grow high-quality produce for the company under mutually beneficial systems; and to guarantee enough raw material (tomatoes) to support an investment in a tomato processing facility.

Supply Chain

Tomato Jos helps to improve the lives and incomes of smallholder farmers and increase the sustainability and stability of food supply in Nigeria by connecting local farmers to domestic consumers. 

The startup directly supports over 70 smallholder farmers across three growing cycles. 

Founders

Mira Mehta

Mira Mehta

Mira Mehta is the current Founder and CEO of Tomato Jos. 

She previously worked at Autonomous Marine Systems as an Assistant Director of Business Development.

Before founding Tomato Jos, Miss Mehta worked in the financial services and healthcare sectors in New York and Nigeria, respectively, where she gained valuable technical skills, developed an empathetic worldview, and built a strong network that would empower her to launch a business at the base of the pyramid. 

She is a graduate of Brown University and Harvard Business School and has lived in Nigeria since 2008.

Shane Kiernan

Shane Kiernan

Shane Kiernan is the current Co-Founder of Tomato Jos. 

He previously worked at the Department of Health and Children as an Advisor to the Special Delivery Unit. 

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Shane Kiernan attended Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Investors & Funding Rounds

Goodwell Investments, Acumen Capital Partners, VestedWorld

Tomato Jos has completed a EUR 3.9 million Series A round. Goodwell Investments, via its West Africa partner Alitheia Capital, led the round with participation from Acumen Capital Partners and VestedWorld.

The combined €3.9 million Series A funding boosts the transition to its next stage of growth with the processing and distribution of tomato products.

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

The advisory support helped Tomato Jos respond to critical investor questions as part of the due diligence process; and enabled Goodwell Investments, Acumen, and other investors to gain further insight into the size of the opportunity and the value that Tomato Jos has created up to this point.

Growth plans include the installation of a drip irrigation system and a processing plant that can produce 24 tons of finished product per day. 

At scale, Tomato Jos will work with thousands of smallholder farmers on over 2,600 hectares of land, putting more than $1M of direct income into the local economy each year.

Main Competitors

AgroFresh: This is a food production company that offers horticultural technology.

Beta Hatch: It industrializes the production of insects as a sustainable protein for animal feed.

Agricool: It grows local, tasty, and pesticide-free fruits and vegetables by recycling shipping containers into urban farms.

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