Hello Tractor, a platform connecting farmers to tractors is working with Scientists from IBM Research to launch an AI and Blockchain-based agriculture digital wallet and decision-making tool to connect farmers to tractor fleet providers and banks.
“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,” said Jehiel Oliver, CEO and Founder of Hello Tractor at TechCrunch Startup Battlefield Africa 2018.
Launched in 2014, Hello Tractor 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.
In addition, 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.
To achieve this, Hello Tractor turned to IBM’s research lab in Nairobi, Kenya. Scientists at the lab are working with Hello Tractor’s developers 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.
The blockchain-enabled and AI-based agriculture digital wallet and decision support platform will 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.
“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.
Hello Tractor plans to expand beyond Nigeria to Kenya, Mozambique, Senegal, Tanzania, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.
IBM Research is also working with Twiga Foods, business-to-business logistics platform for kiosks and food stalls in Africa to add microloans to 220 food stall retailers across Kenya using a blockchain-based financing system.