iFarmer teams up with Hello Tractor to create access to mechanization for smallholder farmers in Bangladesh
There is a saying if you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together. Both iFarmer and Hello Tractor, we believe in that adage and want to leverage each other’s strength to enhance the lives of smallholder farmers in Bangladesh. At iFarmer our strategy is to build a go-to platform for smallholder farmers for all kinds of agriculture and farming services.
Since its inception, iFarmer`s mission has been to create a platform that unifies stakeholders in a digitally enabled ecosystem.
As part of our mission, we are teaming up with Kenya based award-winning company, Hello Tractor. Hello Tractor’s award-winning software helps equipment owners manage their entire operations, from monitoring their assets, scheduling jobs and managing their crews, to route optimization and fuel management.
Through the launch of this partnership, iFarmer will offer access to financial services to increase smallholder farmers’ access to mechanization services and youth employment opportunities, and Hello Tractor to expand its services to Bangladesh over the next one year to connect 1,000 smallholder farmers to mechanization services, as well as to create jobs for youth as tractor operators and booking agents. Best practices and lessons learned will be shared by both organizations on implementing digital services for agricultural mechanization.
Using the Hello Tractor technology iFarmer will venture into financing for agriculture machineries such as tractors and combined harvester. This will enable farmers and service providers to get access to the aforementioned machines as well as funders to be able to track and monitor these machines and their performance.
According to an estimate of Bangladesh Agricultural University, the market for agricultural machinery in our country last year was USD 1.2 billion. However, the size of this market is increasing due to various reasons, including a rapid decline in the rate of agricultural labor and an increase in opportunities for crop production.
Adopting mechanization in agriculture can reduce cost and time for the farmers. If a farmer cultivates one bigha (33 decimals) of land using plough, it will cost Tk 2,000 (23.59 USD). The cost with a power-tiller is Tk 1,500 (17.70 USD). If they do it with a tractor, it will cost Tk 600 (7.08 USD). In the case of harvesting paddy, it costs Tk 2,000 on one bigha of land. It costs Tk 500 (5.90 USD) if the harvest is done with combined harvester. In planting the paddies, it takes Tk 2,200 (25.95 USD) on one bigha. It costs about Tk 500 to transplant and saves time as well.
This will also encourage more young people to join farming and the agriculture sector. In the case of Bangladesh, a study in 2016 shows that the average age of a farmer in Bangladesh is 48 years. However, in 1978, the average age of the farmers engaged in agriculture was 35 years. Participation of the youth in the agriculture of Bangladesh is decreasing. However, when older people's physical capacity is reduced, they cannot play a successful role in agriculture. This means, increasing the participation of the youth in agriculture is just as important as increasing the mechanization of agriculture on a large scale.
Hello Tractor is an award-winning agricultural technology social enterprise focused on improving food and income security for smallholder farmers relying on expensive and often unavailable manual labor. Our solution: we have developed technology to increase and optimize tractor activity across African as well as Asian markets. Hello Tractor connects tractor owners to farmers through an Internet-of-Things (IoT) digital solution that bridges the gap between traditional farming and more technologically advanced approaches. Our platform simplifies complex data to make tractors profitable as business assets even in smallholder farming systems. This disruptive technology holds the potential to increase agricultural productivity and farmer income for a more secure global food system. You can learn more about us today by visiting www.hellotractor.com.