When you think of tech, do you think of agriculture? Yeah, me neither. But technology is everywhere. The only problem is it’s not being used in all possible ways — yet, until a visionary sees a powerful method of adaptation in a struggling market.
Meet Hello Tractor!
Hello Tractor is a social enterprise focused on improving food and income security throughout sub-Saharan Africa. That’s quite a summarizing sentence of all that this tiny startup is doing and setting out to do, at the intersection of agriculture and tech.
Hello Tractor is on its way to revolutionizing agriculture for small farmers in Nigeria. They are engineering what they call “Smart Tractors,” which are two-wheeled GPS-enabled tractors that allow usage tracking, data gathering — on geo-location, market trends, uptake and tractor demand. Coupled with the Hello Tractor service that allows farmers to request, schedule and prepay for tractor services via SMS messaging and mobile money, it’s a win win for small farmers.
Labor constraints lead to late planting and under cultivation, which equals loss of time and money. Long-term struggles such as these could potentially lead to farmers selling their land for pennies on the dollar. That would be a detriment to rural families and Nigeria as a whole. With the introduction of Hello Tractor, small farmers are able to fully cultivate their land and free up time that could be spent with family or on other work-related duties. This puts more money into the hands of small farmers, more food into the local markets and boosts the security of Nigeria’s agriculture.
It can take 40 days for a single farmer to manually cultivate 1.1 hectare (2.7 acres) of land and it would cost $200 to hire someone to do it for them. But with Hello Tractor (machine + service), cost drops down to $75 to fully cultivate that same piece of land in a matter of hours. Time is wealth!
A majority of the farmers in sub-Saharan Africa are women. Women tend to be the caretakers, and since Hello Tractor is looking to disrupt that industry, it’s quite evident why they put women at the forefront of their customer base. Due to this, Hello Tractor is also looking to have the company driven by women. If you are a hardware and/or software engineer living in or willing to move to Nigeria, reach out to Hello Tractor for an exciting opportunity to work with an awesome startup with a heaping lot of growth potential.
So who’s behind this excellent idea? Co-founders Jehiel Oliver and Van Jones have been leading this company for roughly a year and a half. They’re definitely two to watch and fellow Blerds. They’ve won almost (if not every) pitch competition for which they’ve been involved — now that speaks for itself. I had the opportunity to chat with Jehiel a few weeks ago, who is extremely knowledgeable in his domain, socially conscious, understanding of the issues and solutions with regards to agriculture in Nigeria; but most importantly respectful of the culture. That, I believe will lend a hand in making their company very receptive and successful.
For more information on Hello Tractor, check their website and follow them on Twitter @hellotractor.
Quiessence is an Information Security Professional with over seven years of experience within the Financial Industry. She is also the Co-founder of Urban Tech Alliance, creator of the Girltechie Campaign, and a workshop series called SecurEd. Quiessence gravitated to technology at an early age and has been captivated ever since.