Cassava Smartech has introduced a new, EcoFarmer Equipment hire platform, that is set to transform agriculture in Zimbabwe by allowing farmers to hire farming equipment for use on their farms, using their mobile phones.
The platform will enable farmers to hire a wide variety of farming equipment, including ploughing, discing, planting, fertilizer-spreading, ridging, boom-spraying and reaping equipment.
The platform will connect farmers from anywhere in Zimbabwe to providers of farming equipment and essential ancillary services, such as borehole drilling for critical agricultural water supply.
Speaking at the launch event of the platform at Agricultural Research Trust (ART) farm north of the capital Harare, Cassava Smartech Zimbabwe CEO Mr Eddie Chibi said: “Equipment and water availability are key to successful farming, yet we have seen how our farmers struggle to get water or to access farming equipment for them to prepare the land, plant, spray their crops or harvest their crops, and this is the reason why we have introduced this platform.”
He said using a mobile phone, farmers in Zimbabwe will be able to dial *902# and access farming equipment for ploughing, discing, reaping, planting, fertilizer spreading, ridging, boom-spraying, harvesting and trailer works, among other services.
“They will also be able to access water drilling services and water deliveries to ensure their crops get adequate water up to the point of harvest, as well as for domestic and other uses,” Mr Chibi said.
He said the government had recently said there was a deficit of 33 000 tractors, 10 000 planters and 500 combine harvesters in the country. “We are therefore introducing this platform to complement Government efforts in addressing this need, boost productivity and ensure efficient utilisation of available resources,” said Mr Chibi.
The launch event at ART farm was attended by senior government officials, farmers, and agricultural equipment suppliers, among other guests.
Mr. Chibi said EcoFarmer Equipment hire platform will help the farming community access equitable, scarce farming equipment through an automated and efficient equipment allocation system.
Farmers with equipment that has excess capacity can also earn additional income from hiring out their excess capacity.
The EcoFarmer Equipment hire platform that was developed in partnership with Trotro Tractor Limited of Ghana is set to help the farming community have equitable access to the scarce farming equipment through the efficient equipment allocation system.
Farmers with equipment that has excess capacity can also earn additional income from hiring out their excess capacity. The platform has been on pilot and has already tilled over 5,000 hectares countrywide.
The EcoFarmer platform has over 1.4million farmers and new services will be added to the platform. These include marketplace, trading, cold chain, cattle tracking, drone technology and delivery services leveraging on the group’s logistics arm, Vaya Logistics, which already has over 20 000 vehicles including 2 000 tractors.