Mecanización Agrícola Sostenible

Use of information and communications technology tools for tractor hire services in Africa

This publication discusses the role information and communications technology (ICT) plays in agricultural mechanization, which has the potential to transform and improve smallholder agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa. Although mechanization levels tend to be low in African countries, there is still evidence of demand for mechanization services from smallholder farmers, especially tractor hire services. Where such demand exists, tractor owners have formed private hiring markets to provide the required services. The main challenge is related to high transaction costs – incurred by farmers due to information distortion concerning the availability of tractor hire services and how to access them, and by tractor owners due to the difficulties locating farmers in need of their services and aggregating demand over distant, scattered, smallholder farm plots. The use of ICT tools in tractor hire services may help solve some of these challenges. In recent years, many start-ups and companies have begun applying an ICT approach with the creation of a smart tractor network accessible via Short Message Services (SMS) or mobile phone applications, either directly or indirectly. This paper seeks to identify the benefits and challenges of such approaches by examining three ICT-based models in different African countries (Hello Tractor in Nigeria, Tinga Rentals Store in Kenya and TROTRO Tractor in Ghana)

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Integrated Crop Management Series
Information and Communication Technologies (icts); tractors; agricultural mechanization; innovation adoption; agricultural innovation systems; Africa