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Tomato Jos believes in the power of local food production for local consumption. We help Nigerian farmers make awesome tomato paste!
638 backers pledged $55,178 to help bring this project to life.

About

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$55,178

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Our Story

#TeamTomatoJos is led by two social entrepreneurs with a passion for food and a strong desire to support socially responsible economic development in Africa. Between us, we have six years of number-crunching experience in the US and Europe, six years of operating experience in Africa, two years of entrepreneurial experience, multiple graduate degrees from top universities, and a whole lot of love for all things tomato!

Our Name

We chose the name "Tomato Jos" (rhymes with "boss") because it is distinctly Nigerian - Jos is a city in Nigeria known for its fertile land and temperate climates. In fact, the term Tomato Jos means "cute girl" in Nigerian slang, since the tomatoes from Jos are especially ripe and juicy! Our model farm is located in Keffi, a small town few hours outside of Jos. The tomatoes in Keffi may not be as famous as the ones in Jos, but they sure are delicious - and our tomato paste will be, too!

Progress

This past May, we went from being full-time students to being full-time tomato entrepreneurs, diving headfirst into the world of global agriculture. We evaluated 16 different locations across Ghana and Nigeria in order to find the right place to set up our farming operations. Along the way, we've developed close relationships with the Nigerian Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development as well as other technical partners on the ground.

Next Steps

The next quarter will be an exciting one. We are establishing operations in Nigeria, which means #TeamTomatoJos will be spending considerable time in Nasarawa state building the nursery, planting seedlings, preparing the fields, designing the trials, and building a strong community of smallholder farmers who will form the backbone of our operation. We keep a weekly blog, so sign up to to stay informed about our progress!

Risks and challenges

It takes great tomatoes to make tomato paste - and there are a number of risks associated with agriculture (and with Nigeria!) that could delay the completion of our project. Here are the risks, and how we're mitigating them!

Low Harvest: The rainy season is just finishing up in Nigeria, so we are right on time to start planting seedlings in our greenhouse. However, there is always a risk that the "Harmatan" season (the hottest time of the year) will come early, which could negatively affect the tomato crops when they are transplanted to the field. If we see uncooperative weather patterns or a natural disaster such as a flood or a drought, we may need to fulfill backers' orders for tomato paste using tomatoes that we buy from the market, rather than tomatoes grown on our farm and by the farmers in our network.

Equipment: We are in touch with the manufacturing partners who we will work with for small-scale processing equipment, and they have equipment in stock. Although there could still be delays in getting equipment to our site, we are trying to mitigate this risk by launching the kickstarter campaign for equipment more than four months before the tomatoes will be harvested, to build in a sufficient lead time for its arrival.

Security: Boko Haram is an Islamist extremist group in West Africa that aspires to establish Islamic law in Nigeria, to destabilize the Nigerian government and to remove western influence from the country. Boko Haram regularly mounts attacks in northern Nigeria. The majority of attacks occur in the northeast, particularly in Borno and Yobe states where Boko Haram has based its operations. There have, however, been a number of Boko Haram-related attacks in other Nigerian states. To mitigate the threat associated with terrorism we are operating in Nasarawa state deemed by the US State Department to be at low risk of insurgency. Additionally, we work closely with foreign offices and security companies that compile a weekly risk assessment report that captures alerts on changing threats to safety and security of personnel, critical infrastructure, supply lines and transportation routes. Finally, we are working with a private security company to secure our operational assets and, more importantly, protect our staff.

Shipment Delays: We will need to get our delicious tomato paste from Nigeria, where it is made, to our backers all over the world. Depending on how many backers support our project, we may need time to work with both customs and food agencies on the appropriate methods to bring our products safely and securely to their final destinations.

Live Streaming: Internet connectivity on the farm can sometimes be an issue, especially during the rainy season when storms can knock out power, cell phone coverage and even satellite reception. For those backers who purchase the live-streamed cooking lesson, depending on the time of year that the lessons are fulfilled, we may need to live-stream from Lagos or Abuja rather than from the farm in Nasarawa State.

Ebola: Ebola is an increasing concern in many West African countries. Nigeria experienced a small number of cases over the summer, but was able to successfully eradicate the disease from its borders earlier this fall. Although no cases have been reported in any of the countries immediately bordering Nigeria, the virus remains a very real threat to the region, and thus to the safety of our farmers, our staff, and ourselves. We are monitoring the situation closely.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 1 or more About US$ 1.00

    TOMATO TALK: Stay connected to all things tomato through exclusive updates offered to Kickstarter backers only!

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    74 backers
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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 15 or more About US$ 15

    BUILD YOUR OWN MODEL FARM: Join Tomato Jos in Nigeria - or at least pretend to! In addition to getting our exclusive updates, we’ll send you 10 tomato seeds and instructions on how to care for them, so you can farm alongside us from the comfort of your own home!

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    Pledge US$ 15 or more About US$ 15

    SAVOR THE FLAVOR: Cook Jollof Rice the Nigerian way, with your very own Tomato Jos spice pack! We’ll send you a recipe card too, so you can cook with confidence. And of course, we’ll keep you updated through our exclusive distribution list.

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  4. Reward no longer available

    Pledge US$ 25 or more About US$ 25

    THE EARLY BIRD CATCHES THE TOMATO: Be the first to try a sample of our delicious, all-natural Tomato Jos tomato paste - the first product of its kind in Nigeria. We love it, and we know you will too! Backers will receive a 100 grams of paste, along with recipe cards for Jollof Rice and two other delicious Nigerian dishes. And of course, we’ll keep you posted on all things tomato.

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    Reward no longer available 100 backers
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 45 or more About US$ 45

    YOU SAY TOMATO: Missed out on the early bird special? Don’t worry, you can still get your very own Tomato Jos tomato paste right here. Backers will receive a 100 grams of paste, along with recipe cards for Jollof Rice and two other delicious Nigerian dishes. And of course, we’ll keep you posted on all things tomato.

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 75 or more About US$ 75

    THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF OUR BASKET: Backers get 100 grams of our delicious paste, three great Nigerian recipes, a super soft American Apparel Tomato Jos t-shirt, the Jollof Rice spice pack, and the seeds for your own model farm, PLUS you get to adopt your very own tomato plant on the farm in Nigeria! We’ll send you a picture of the little guy once he’s been transplanted from the greenhouse into the field.

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    Pledge US$ 100 or more About US$ 100

    BASKETS WITH BENEFITS: Diamonds last forever, and we hope our processing equipment will too! Backers will receive all the goodies from the "Thank You from the Bottom of our Basket" reward. However, since your adopted tomato plant is only going to live for one season, we will also engrave your name (or your phrase of choice, as long as it's not explicit!) on a piece of processing equipment and send you a photo. This way, you will be forever in our hearts, in our minds, and in our factory.

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    Pledge US$ 130 or more About US$ 130

    WHAT'S COOKING, GOOD LOOKING? Take a virtual cooking class with an expert chef in Nigeria! We’ll live-stream from the farm and teach you how to cook tomato-licious Nigerian Jollof Rice. Each class size will be restricted to 5, to make sure you get our undivided attention. Plus, you’ll get a Thank You from the Bottom of our Basket.

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    Pledge US$ 250 or more About US$ 250

    FINE DINING, NAIJA STYLE: Enjoy a specially curated, romantic dinner for two at your local Nigerian restaurant, on us! Plus, you’ll get a Thank You from the Bottom of our Basket. Available only in the following cities: Abuja, Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Dublin, Lagos, London, New York City, Port Harcourt, and San Francisco.

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    Pledge US$ 1,000 or more About US$ 1,000

    IT'S JUST YOU, ME, AND THE TOMATO: We will fly to you and cook a 3-course Nigerian dinner in your home for up to 8 people. Plus, you’ll get a Thank You from the Bottom of our Basket. Available only in the following cities: Abuja, Austin, Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Dublin, Lagos, London, New York City, Port Harcourt, and San Francisco.

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  11. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 5,000 or more About US$ 5,000

    COME HARVEST WITH US: You plus one friend are cordially invited to witness the magic first-hand - come spend a week with team Tomato Jos harvesting tomatoes on our farm in Nigeria! You cover your visa costs and your flights to Abuja, and we’ll cover everything else! And, of course, you’ll get a Thank You from the Bottom of our Basket.

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    Pledge US$ 7,000 or more About US$ 7,000

    NAMING RIGHTS TO OUR GREENHOUSE: Who DOESN’T want their name to live on, long after they’re gone? Tomato Jos is offering the opportunity of a lifetime - we want to dedicate our greenhouse, the place where all the magic starts, to YOU! One lucky backer will have his or her name in brass above our greenhouse door. Your name will be immortalized as the [INSERT NAME] Center for Agricultural Excellence. You and one friend also get to come harvest with us and be the guests of honor at our dedication ceremony. Plus, you will each receive your very own Thank You from the Bottom of our Basket. Now THAT’S a steal!

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Funding period

- (31 days)