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How Nigeria’s First Hydroponics Company Aims to Transform the Country’s Agriculture Business

More than 170 million people need to be fed in Nigeria, according to Fresh Direct Nigeria. To satisfy this demand, Nigeria imports over US$3.5 billion in food products annually while exporting only US$500 million. 

The agricultural potential of this nation is going untapped, but Fresh Direct Nigeria has a solution:

Using stackable container farms, Fresh Direct Nigeria is applying simple agricultural technologies to increase domestic yield and entice a new generation to become farmers.

Fresh Direct Nigeria’s container farms are enabling locals to grow produce directly in urban areas, closer to market. How? They are combining hydroponics and vertical farming techniques within stackable shipping containers. Fresh Direct Nigeria says that this technology also allows the company to produce 10 times more yield using only 7 percent of the land.

Other technologies like drip irrigation, cold storage, and specific transportation processes reduce water use, decrease post-harvest loss, and slash the price — all while ensuring quality of produce.  

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All of these technologies combined make it possible to farm without extensive land and with significantly less risk. Fresh Direct Nigeria is using this appeal to inspire the younger generation to become farmers, specifically urban unemployed youth. 

The company is currently in its pilot phase, aiming to engage 1,000 young urban farmers.

The process is designed to work like this: youth apply to be independent urban farmers with Fresh Direct Nigeria. Once accepted, the company trains them and finances the container farm with a collateral-free micro-loan obtained through a bank. Finally, Fresh Direct Nigeria provides a guaranteed market for the urban farmer’s crop yield.

Fresh Direct Nigeria is actively testing the waters with customers including grocery stores, hotels, online retailers, restaurants, and cafés.

What do they hope to achieve next? They have two locations but are ready to scale to 10, and hope to work with the Solve community to take its containers off-grid and market their solution throughout Africa.

Angel Adelaja is the Founder & CEO of Fresh Direct Produce and Agro-Allied Services. She pitched Fresh Direct Nigeria remotely during the Solve Challenge Finals in September 2017 before becoming a Solver. Watch this amazing 30 seconds from that pitch that cuts to the heart of their model:

Read the solution application for Fresh Direct Nigeria. Interested in partnering with them as they scale for global impact? Solve wants to hear from you. Reach out at

Angel Adelaja pitches Fresh Direct Nigeria remotely at the Solve Challenge Finals in the Sustainable Urban Communities Challenge, September 17, 2017. (Photo courtesy of MIT Solve)

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