TechInAfrica – EcoFarmer Vaya Tractor plans on tilling for more than 1 million hectares of land for smallholder farmers, as revealed by the company last week. Cassava CEO Eddie Chibi said EcoFarmer was engaging the Government and farmers to help with this season’s plowing. For a country with more than 70 percent are smallholder farmers as estimated by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), pooling resources to work the land could have a wider impact on agricultural output and long-term food security of Zimbabwe.
“We have the capacity to do at least one million hectares as long as support is provided for financing the farmers, as well as ensuring there is enough diesel for the tractor owners,” Chibi said. According to him, Vaya Tractor already had 3,000 tractors on its platform with over 1 million smallholder farmers registered within its EcoFarmer network.
Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement Minister Perence Shiri said, “We have a deficit of 33,000 tractors, 10 000 planters, and 500 combine harvesters and the introduction of Vaya Tractor, therefore, complements our efforts and will help ensure there is efficient utilization of available resources and a boost in productivity.”
Sharing a pool of tractors is a result of the much-needed technology platform for easy access in terms of the farmers’ workload. As the platform is realized, productivity is guaranteed to improve and therefore affecting the used of foreign currency for food importing, which would be saved and allocated elsewhere, meanwhile generating the possibility of additional forex if surplus yields are to exist. For farmers, this means nothing but significant savings, with additional income for tractor owners, who tractors aren’t used much on the plowing seasons.
The existing 33,000 tractors deficit as mentioned by Minister Shiri is technically covered when at least 1 tractor is hired by 11 smallholder farmers during the plowing season, according to Mr. Chibi. The platform itself works like Vaya carpool service, in which a farmer may request a tractor like someone who requests a Vaya carpool ride.