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completed, the prepayment is automatically released to the smart tractor owner.”
Since it was launched in mid-2014, farmers who participated in the beta period have reportedly seen their yields increase by 200% using a machine that’s 40 times faster than manual labour.
“We have designed an innovative, low-cost ‘smart tractor’ specifically for small farmers’ unique needs,” remarks Oliver.
“The smart tractor is a two-wheeled tractor with GPS antennae that allows us to track its usage and telematics, which collects and transfers data in nointernet areas such as the rural areas,” Oliver adds.
According to Oliver, each tractor on the platform works on approximately 250 hectares of farmland annually, which is substantial in Nigeria where farmers own, on average, just over one hectare of land.
With one of the fastest growing populations in the world, and huge pressure on the employment market to provide new jobs, optimising Nigeria’s agricultural industry is key to combating youth unemployment for the next generation.
“Despite the profitability of agriculture in Nigeria, there remains a substantial risk (both real and perceived) preventing banks to engage more deeply,” says Oliver.
To address this issue, Hello Tractor also coordinates low-cost financing to help facilitate the purchase of a smart tractor.
“Equipped with various attachments, owners can tailor its use for a variety of crops and stages of the production cycle, allowing them to serve their customers throughout the year. The GPS antenna allows Hello Tractor to track its usage and gather data on location, market trends, and uptake,” Oliver explained.
“At the beta phase we’re prioritising land preparation because, first of all, it’s the first stage of production,” Oliver said. “It’s also the most labour intensive. It takes about 40 days of manual labour to prepare the land. Our tractors do it in eight hours.”
On the impact so far, Oliver told The Nation that “Farmers are reporting that having access to tractor services saves them money on land preparation while removing the labour constraints that have prevented them from planting the land that they have access to.”
Hello Tractor was launched as a pilot project in Kenya this year. Oliver believes the results there should be as promising as in Nigeria.