Tractor-Sharing for Zimbabwean Farmers: What the ‘Uber of Tractors’ Means for the Future of Agri-Tech in Zimbabwe


We are witnessing unprecedented levels of adoption of technology in agriculture. There are many emerging technologies in agriculture that seem very promising for the future of farming. Internet of Things (IoT) technology was once an emerging agricultural technology and now it has taken a mainstream position as more agriculturalists adopt it.

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IoT in agriculture by the simplest of definitions is just that: using the internet to determine and control how things are done. Every time you look at your smart-watch to count calories or ask Alexa or Siri to calculate the value of pi, you are using what is called IoT tech. IoT devices are ‘smart’ devices that can transfer data over a network.

With the population of Southern Africa continuing to grow, many smallholder farmers want to scale up production. But there are challenges. Equipment is expensive, financing is out of reach and the scale is often small, with many farmers looking for equipment for only a few days each growing season. That’s where Murimi 247 comes in.

On a commercial scale, most black African farmers in Zimbabwe don’t have adequate infrastructure, roads, irrigation, networks, the electricity as compared to white farmers in Zimbabwe, and government support is mostly delayed because of bureaucracy, corruption, and maladministration. That lack of government funding ends up creating an uneven playing field for African farmers, who struggle to sell their crops, as exacerbated by the influx of much-cheaper imports.

Manufacturers of farm and processing equipment to a large extent do not design this machinery while factoring in smallholder farmers. In the end, equipment that is meant for big agriculture enterprises does not work for small scale producers, which ends up locking this crucial group. In essence, these manufacturers should have small-scale producers and the environment in mind. This will also be key in making farming sustainable and winning more youth into farming.

Alive to the struggle around the mechanisation of farming in Zimbabwe, Murimi 247, an emerging agricultural consultancy organization, is utilising Africa’s digital renaissance to come up with innovative agricultural solutions guided by a shared economy model.

One such initiative connects farmers with tractor owners who rent them out on an ad hoc basis. The project is modelled after ride-sharing apps like Uber that offer transportation options to those who do not own cars or need them for short term use.

In light of this, the tractor for hire initiative has been dubbed Uber for the Farm, and Murimi 247 offering it have hailed the concept as the first crucial step in addressing agricultural productivity and farmers’ income challenges in Zimbabwe.

Murimi 247 aims to improve farm mechanization among farmers no matter the size of their farms and its location. Murimi 247 solutions leverage the power of technology and strong farm equipment networks to make farm mechanization easily accessible and affordable to farmers across the country.

Murimi 247 increases easy access to farm mechanization solutions through rental of tractors and farm equipment for small and large farms. Most farmers do not afford the costs of purchasing farm equipment and implements; and Murimi 247’s services bridge this gap by connecting these farmers with tractor and equipment owners.

The Murimi 247 app connects farming equipment owners directly to farmers seeking farm mechanization solutions, thereby facilitating a fair and transparent rental process while focusing on quality, dependability and timely delivery.

To this end, Murimi 247 offers pay-per-use farm mechanization solutions to farmers and corporates; i.e., tractors, implements or self-propelled equipment on rent.

It leverage the power of digital innovation for the agricultural industry. Murimi 247 helps farming investors to farm smarter, carefully use resources, effectively to increasing profit.

As digital platforms for agriculture and other agri-tech solutions continue to evolve, the experiences of these digitally enabled mechanization service pioneers can help advance innovation, practice and scalability to make farm mechanisation rental a viable proposition for all stakeholders.

Murimi 247 is symbolic of both the rise of digitization in agriculture and the popularization of sharing economy services. The sharing economy model can be applied to other agricultural services because it supplements supply shortages, saves costs, and helps build stronger communities.

If Murimi 247 services are implemented throughout Southern Africa, it could reshape the experience of farming. This initiative may open doors for other aspects of agriculture to be digitized, hopefully improving the livelihoods of farmers and their families.

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