IBM Research, Hello Tractor pilot digital wallet for farmers to drive mechanisation

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Scientists from IBM Research and Hello Tractor – a start-up are piloting an agriculture digital wallet and decision-making tool that provides demand-supply visibility for farmers to easily access tractor services to drive mechanised farming on the continent.

The e-wallet technology which was unveiled recently at the 2018 TechCrunch Startup Battlefield Africa is a combination of advanced analytics and the blockchain technology that enable farmers easily access tractor services providers through the application of a mobile app.

“Through valued relationships with companies like John Deere, we have been very successful in increasing mechanisation access of smallholder farmers in rural communities,” said Jehiel Oliver, CEO and founder of Hello Tractor.

“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,” Oliver said.

In Sub Sahara Africa more than 60percent of farms are powered by humans, with less than 20percent powered by tractors, a model which is not sustainable to achieve food sufficiency for the continent as population grows at an alarming rate.

In addition, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) states that the continent records 35-50 percent of post-harvest losses annually due poor farming practices.

The adoption of the e-wallet technology will help in addressing the issues.

To achieve this, Hello Tractor turned to IBM’s research lab in Nairobi, Kenya to to 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.

 

Josephine Okojie

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