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Savanna Circuit Study

Expanding opportunities for agri-mechanisation among smallholder farmers in Kenya. The experience of Mama Grace Taka Okello, Busia County.

Kenya’s adoption of agri-mechanization is very low at only 15%, in a country where there are only two tractors for every 2,500 acres and some 70% idle productive land. Limited purchasing power and the absence of sustainable agri-mechanization business models are some of the hindrances to adoption. Buying a tractor to plough 1-2 acres of land is not viable. 

To improve on smallholder farmers access to use of tractors, the Hello Tractor company aggregates demand and connects fragmented farms to tractor services, using a simple Hello Tractor Mobile Application. Using a tractor to plough a farm is 40 times faster than deploying 40 people to plough manually, is 2.5 times cheaper, enables the farmer to plant on time, gain 63% average savings and an upwards of 3 times in yields. A ripped farm also gives the farmer a uniform growth and crop height.

Mama Grace Taka Okello, is a smallholder farmer in Bwiri village, Funyula in Busia county. She is one of the farmers who are currently embracing agri-mechanisation to improve efficiency of farm production and increase outputs.

Kenya’s adoption of agri-mechanization is very low at only 15%, in a country where there are only two tractors for every 2,500 acres and some 70% idle productive land. Limited purchasing power and the absence of sustainable agri-mechanization business models are some of the hindrances to adoption. When I met with Grace, she had just hired a tractor for planting, at a fee of KES2,200 per acre, for her 4 acres (total of KES8,800). She seemed so happy with the deal, so I asked her about what she could have spent to hire farmhands to do manual planting.

To plant 1 acre in one day, she would need 20 farmhands, each earning KES300/day, and then she would have to provide them with some food averaging KES1,500 thereby totalling KES7,500 to plant 1 acre and KES30,000 to plant the 4 acres. Through mechanisation, Grace saved KES21,200. This was made possible through an amazing collaborative initiative between Hello TractorKenya Catalytic Jobs Fund and other organisations like Farm to Market Alliance and Cereal Growers Association .

To improve on smallholder farmers access to use of tractors, Hello Tractor aggregates demand and connects fragmented farms to tractor services, using a simple Hello Tractor Mobile Application. Using a tractor to plough a farm is 40 times faster than deploying 40 people to plough manually, is 2.5 times cheaper, enables the farmer to plant on time, gain 63% average savings and an upwards of 3 times in yields. In just a few months, the company has reached some 23,000 smallholder farmers with tractor services and the transformation in farm efficiency is on an upward trajectory.

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