The Tryctor: A Motorbike-Turned-Tractor Targeting Small Farmers In Nigeria

The Tryctor: A Motorbike-Turned-Tractor Targeting Small Farmers In Nigeria

By Kate Douglas | From How We Made It In Africa

While Nigeria’s agriculture sector employs the majority of the population and has a large contribution towards GDP, its true potential has yet to be unlocked.

The UN’s International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) estimates that only half of the country’s 71 million hectares of arable land is being cultivated, with irrigation on just 7% of irrigable land. And over the years local food production has not been able to keep up with population growth, resulting in rising food imports and prices. In fact, recent statistics reveal that Nigeria is spending ₦1.3tr ($6.5bn) annually importing food.

Part of the challenge is at least 80% of the country’s food is being produced by small-scale and subsistence farmers, who struggle to increase production. Most live in poverty and do not have the finances to improve farming yields through mechanisation. As a result they are forced to cultivate the land by hand and battle to move beyond subsistence.

It was knowledge of this that prompted Nigerian automobile designer Olufemi Odeleye to spend nearly 10 years developing the prototype for a low-cost, multipurpose, mini tractor – created with the Nigerian, and African, small-scale farmer in mind. His invention, dubbed the Tryctor, has been adapted from the traditional motorcycle and caught the attention of the Nigerian government which is currently piloting the solution among farmers. And this year Odeleye and his Tryctor are up for the Innovation Prize for Africa.

Make do with what you have

Odeleye spent years working for the automotive industry in the UK before returning to Nigeria with the hope of using his skills to benefit his home country.

“I identified the need to contribute to the number one Millennium Development Goal – to eradicate extreme hunger and poverty. I studied automobile design in the UK and on my return to Nigeria I started looking for ways in which I could contribute.”

His grandfather had been a farmer and Odeleye knew that unlocking the country’s agricultural potential could play a key role in eradicating poverty and hunger. Then, in 2004, he got the idea for the Tryctor while sitting in Nigerian traffic and watching hundreds of motorcycles zigzag around vehicles.

Read more at How We Made It In Africa