Agricultural production in Kenya relies on 50% human labour, 20% animal power and 30% motorized power (FAO, 2006; MoAL&F, 2015). A good portion of the 30% work on large scale farms as this is more profitable. The cost of operation on small-scale farms is one of the main challenges both farmers and mechanization service providers face. This challenge is exacerbated by inadequate availability and subsequently limited access to machinery when needed, lack of credit and finance to farmers and private contractors, and limited access to advisory services, among others.
Kenya’s Agriculture Sector Transformation and Growth Strategy 2019-2029, indicates 70-80% of its farmers are smallholder farmers. Farm Machinery access among small scale Kenyan farmers stands at 5% and use of this machine is declining because of continuous land fragmentation (Bymolt and Zaal, 2015). In order to address some of these challenges for this target group, M-Tractor, will act as an interfacing platform to bring together farmers, micro financiers, machinery service providers with an aim to deliver the following services: (1) Connecting and matching stakeholders based on needs and mutual benefit; (2) Enabling farmers to access machinery services through loan services, provided from a combination of the seed grant and partner financial institutions that will be engaged as part of the project. It is envisaged that the demonstration achieved through this project will provide proof to local financial institutions (including those working with women and youth) that such a model can work, as it structured to facilitate loan recovery in a way that works for these poor farming families; and (3) Providing advisory services during the crop cycle, with initial focus on maize and associated legumes such as beans and groundnuts, to enable farmers to make timely informed decision to increase production.
M-Tractor, unlike other bundled farm IT-based solutions, will be running on a platform preferred by the users. This information comes from the baseline survey. This will increase the adoption and use of the platform as the perceived ease of use and perceived usefulness will have been taken into consideration. Increased adoption and use of the platform will translate directly to increased adoption of agricultural mechanization.
Objectives of M-tractor
- To develop a mobile interface technology platform that links small scale farmers to Tractor rental service providers
- To provide affordable financing services through loans to small scale farmers to enable access to mechanization services when needed.
- To provide farmers with readily accessible advisory services through the crop cycle to enable them make informed farming decisions