Deere Teaming Up with Startup Hello Tractor in Bid to Break Ground in Africa

Reuters News reported yesterday that, “It’s ride-hailing, farm style. Deere & Co. is teaming up with the ‘Uber of tractors’ in Africa and betting on a future where farmers summon machines with the touch of a button.

“The world’s leading farm equipment maker is outfitting its tractors with startup Hello Tractor’s technology, which allows farmers to hail the machines via an app, monitors the vehicles’ movements and transmits usage information such as fuel levels.

“The aim is to help the U.S. company boost sales of it famous green and yellow John Deere tractors, a tough task in a continent with the world’s highest poverty rate and the least mechanized agricultural sector.”

Yesterday’s article noted that, “Deere is currently testing the technology – a small black box fitted beneath dashboards – on around 400 tractors in Ghana and Kenya. It told Reuters it plans to roll out the devices across Africa in the second half of this year, offering it to all contractors who buy its equipment on the continent.

“Jacques Taylor, who heads John Deere’s sub-Saharan Africa business, said that the continent badly needs more machinery to develop its farming industry but most farmers don’t have the scale to justify a large investment.”

The Reuters article added that, “Deere thinks it can help on the financing front: it told Reuters it could pull data from the Hello Tractor platform that showed in precise detail how farmers were using its equipment. That information, it said, could be used by the farmers – who typically lack credit histories – to help secure bank loans.

“This would mean they could buy more tractors.”

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