February 14, 2017, Nairobi. 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 ownerslose 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 and SMS based application which helps farmers to 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.
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 80 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 SMS shortcode 22150 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 satisfiedwith 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 ploughing, 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 servicesby 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.
To book tractor services, farmers are required to send the keyword “TINGA” to 22150, a free SMS service. In addition, farmers who own smartphones can download the TINGA on Google Play Store.
Currently TINGA has engaged farmers in Namanga, Narok, Nakuru, Bomet,Kericho, Eldoret, Kitale ,Naivasha, Molo, Meru,Nyahururu, Laikipia, Nyandarua, Embu, Thika, Nanyuki, Narumoro, Migori, Ahero 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 jointly access tractor services, earn discounted services among other benefits.
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