Mira Mehta is the CEO of Tomato Jos in Kaduna State. The firm has received $10m (N4 billion) worth of investment. Ms Mehta says Nigeria needs infrastructure to boost agriculture.
Aside from tomatoes, she grows corn and wheat.
In this episode of our Women in Agriculture, she shares her experience on how she engages rural farmers.
PT: Your farm is located in Kaduna not Jos, and your farm is called Tomato-Jos. Why is not Tomato-Kaduna?
Ms Mehta: The name came before the location in 2013 when I first came about the idea. I was thinking more of the company, the brand and the product. And the tomatoes from Jos gets the premium in the market. They usually sell at a higher price so I wanted to mark my product with that quality, that when you buy my product you’re buying a high-quality product.
Another thing is that the name grounds the brand in Nigeria unlike other top tomato brands in Nigeria with Italian sounding names but I really wanted to make the name Nigerian and the last thing is that the name is like the Igbo slang to a girlfriend “my Tomato-Jos” which means very clean; very fresh; when we were looking for land, Kaduna ended up being the best part for us.
PT: Aside from this, what actually inspired you to go into agriculture?
Ms Mehta: I wanted to do something that was going to be highly impactful for a rural community and basically, I had been working for four years and I had done a lot of healthcare-related work and what I saw travelling around these clinics and hospitals, how poor most of the patients coming to seek medical attention are and I wanted to make a profit while touching lives so that was why I was drawn to the sector.