Hello Tractor, a startup that helps farmers digitally access tractors has teamed up with the research team of the American multinational IT company IBM to create artificial intelligence- and blockchain-based agriculture solutions that will make it easier for farmers to track their farm records, access farming tools and manage their finances.
The solutions, include a digital wallet and a decision-making tool to connect farmers to tractor fleet providers and banks.
The solutions will also enable capturing, tracking, and instant sharing of data, while creating end-to-end trust and transparency for all the parties involved across the agribusiness value chain.
Hello Tractor is working with the IBM Research in Nairobi, Kenya.
According to officials, the two organizations will create solutions that apply several technologies, including the Watson Decision Platform for Agriculture, Blockchain, IoT and cloud, to bring new services to the app for tractor owners and dealers, farmers and banks.
The new services will be tested in a pilot starting in the first half of 2019, officials say.
“Our vision is to leverage AI, blockchain and the Internet of Things to digitize, optimize, and streamline agricultural business processes to create efficiencies and new services from farm-to-fork around the world,” said Dr. Solomon Assefa, Vice President, Emerging Market Solutions and Director, IBM Research – Africa.
“Through valued relationships with companies like John Deere, we’ve been very successful in increasing mechanization access in smallholder communities. To reach the next level, we need to add additional services including predictive fleet utilization and maintenance; operator and tractor scoring; financing and the crop yield forecasting,” Jehiel Oliver, CEO and Founder of Hello Tractor, said.
Hello Tractor, rolled out in 2014, enables farmers to access tractor services on demand in Sub Sahara Africa where more than 60% of farms are powered by humans, with less than 20% provided by engines, a model which is not sustainable as food demand.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, 35-50% post-harvest losses for perishable agricultural products are lost annually in the region due to poor planting practices.
Hello Tractor plans to expand beyond Nigeria to Kenya, Mozambique, Senegal, Tanzania, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.