For many years, farmers in East Africa have had a hard time accessing farm machinery to work on their farms due to financial and credit limitations. As a result, most farmers are unable to purchase or maintain farm equipment due to the high costs involved. This in turn hinders farmer’s capacity to fully maximize on their farm’s output. In addition, equipment owners lose revenue as their farm equipment are only needed at a certain time of the year, rendering the equipment idle for the rest of year.
To overcome this, Quipbank trust ltd has come up with an innovative solution dubbed Tinga, a mobile based application which helps farmers book their preferred tractor service(s) at a click of a button and track it right to their farm. This is the latest agro-based product in the region that is seeking to connect farmers in search of tractor services to equipment.
For Mr. Samuel Tunoi, a wheat farmer in Narok East, the gains he has made are immense. He could not hide his joy as he spoke standing next to his tilled farm.
“Previously, I could only utilize 20 acres of my 200 acres’ farm and even that was exhausting. I could not afford the cost of buying a tractor and I would depend on middlemen who were unreliable, costly and the tractors broke down often. I booked chisel ploughing service using the mobile app and within a week they had mobilized a tractor, with a capable operator who was able to do the work efficiently. Am very happy and satisfied with their service,” said Mr. Tunoi who is among a network of over 3,000 farmers in Narok benefiting from Tinga.
Tinga is an SMS and mobile based application that enables farmers to access a host of services ranging from chiseling, no-till planting, ploughing, harrowing, planting, spraying, harvesting, lawn mowing among others. The application allows farmers to create an account, indicate their preferred service, location and the size of land to be worked on. When the request is received, and processed the tractor is dispatched from the nearest Tinga hub to work on the farmer’s farm within the allocated time frame.
Farmers end up slashing the cost of accessing tractor services by only paying for the number of acres worked on. They also receive free regular training on conservation farming and new technologies in agricultural mechanization, such as chiseling and no-till planting among others.
The platform further engages equipment owners through a partnership program that allows them to register their equipment and earn by getting paid for machinery which would have otherwise being laying idle in the shed.
Currently TINGA has engaged farmers in Narok, Nakuru, Bomet, Naivasha, Molo, Meru, Embu and is quickly expanding across the country. In it is expansion plan, Tinga has introduced a community ownership model which enables organizations and NGOs such as churches, SACCOS, cooperatives, chamas to own tractors and allow their members to earn discounted services.