Farm Company launches mini tractor for smallholder farmers
Tractor tilling a land. Tractor ownership among small-scale Kenyan farmers stands at five per cent and use of this machine is declining because of continuous land fragmentation and their expensive price for farmers.
Tinga, a community mechanization concept that enables farmers to jointly access farm equipment such as tractors, plows, planters, combine harvesters, sprayers among others has developed Tinga App that enables farmers request for tractor services as opposed to using middlemen who charge them high fees to cater for their (middlemen) services.
According to Tinga project manager, John Mogire, farmers have been using brokers to order for tractor services for chiseling, harrowing, ploughing, spraying and planting but it ends up a raw deal due to hiked prices or delayed services.
“In the bargaining of prices, brokers raise prices of tractor services making the cost of accessing them so expensive especially for smallholder farmers who cannot afford the hiked prices as only few farmers own tractors,” said Mogire.
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Tinga App can be downloaded from appstore by farmers on their smartphone where they will be needed to provide their telephone contact and go on to request for particular services they require.
Once a request is made, Tinga makes contact with the farmer to get details of their request, including their specific location. The team then engages their branch manager in the farmer’s region.
So far, Tinga has about 10 offices across the country serving up to 200 farmers.
The app is installed with external GPS antenna that enables it collect real-time information in remote areas and to track its usage.
Mogire says the GPS system keeps track of all the clients and the specific services they request for. Tinga charges Sh2,500 for every acre of ploughing or harrowing.
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Tractor services helps farmers relieve farmers of traditional tools which are time consuming and are inefficient for farmers.
“Introducing cheap and better tractor services has been a relief for every farmer who were previously using hoes which were tiresome and still they needed many people to provide the labour a single tractor can do within a short time even than the many farmers,” said Mogire.
Agricultural mechanization is low in Kenya and yet there have been several efforts by the government, voluntary and non-organizations (NGOs) to promote it since independence, according to the Status of Agricultural Mechanization in Kenya 2016 study by Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO).
The low agricultural productivity has been associated with numerous factors, one of them being low levels of mechanization.
Tractor ownership among small-scale Kenyan farmers stands at five per cent and use of this machine is declining because of continuous land fragmentation.
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KALRO established the Agricultural Mechanization Research Institute (AMRI), in 2015 with the mandate of generating and disseminating agricultural mechanization technologies and innovations that are geared towards enhancing productivity and value addition in Kenya.
In Kenya there are twenty three agricultural machinery services (AMS) across the country, which have been devolved to the County governments. The AMS also provide hire tractor machinery services for the farmers.