A Report On How IBM Africa And Hello Tractor Pilots The Blockchain Agtech Platform

The final application from IBM. Hello Tractor is helping the African sub-continent. Read on the details from the service provider themselves. 

Blockchain Is Helping TheAgtech Platform

Developing an AI and blockchain-driven platform for Africa’s farmers is the IBM Research and agtech start-up called Hello Tractor as the two companies are set to pilot the product through an ongoing partnership co-financed by IBM. The cloud-based service dubbed Digital Wallet in beta aims to thereby support Hello Tractors' business of connecting small scale farmers to equipment and data analytics for better crop production. According to the CEO of Hello Tractor, Jehiel Oliver as agriculture comes to be a complex industry that has so many different variables, they are bringing a decision tool to the Hello Tractor ecosystem that comes powered by AI and the blockchain. 

In this case, it is to demo the new service at Startup Battlefield Africa in Lagos, it joined IBM Research as the availability to Hello Tractor clients is the online platform using a digital ledger and machine learning capturing, tracking, and sharing data. According to an IBM release, the creation of end to end trust and transparency across the agribusiness value chain. Therefore, the Digital Wallet is all set to draw on remote and IoT based weather sensing methods along with AI helping farmers determine crops and inputs choosing when to plant and optimize as well as predict crop yields. 

Here the cloud-based dashboard helps employ a blockchain ledger improving multiple points of Hello Tractor’s business. As Oliver explains they are an agricultural technology company with platform connecting farmers needing tractor services to the owners who own these assets as a business. Therefore, they create that marketplace bringing supply and demand together. 

Blockchain Application From IBM

According to IBM and the Food and Agricultural Organisation, the demand stems from the 80 percent of Sub-Saharan Africa’s crops that are harvested without tractors or machinery with 50 percent of the continent’s farmers suffering post-harvest losses annually. Looping in data from fleet owners IBM and Hello Tractor’s Digital Wallet bring data regarding tractor use, track and predict repair and servicing thereby building credit profiles opening bank financing for farmers. 

As Hello Tractor comes to be a connecting service, it is neither the start-up nor its farming clients own tractors as the venture began operations in Nigeria, further expanding to Kenya, Mozambique, Senegal, Tanzania, and Bangladesh according to its CEO. Hello Tractor as a for-profit entity raised funding from private investors, DFI grants, and a seed round. Currently, the company generates revenue by selling the tractor-monitoring devices as well as software subscriptions for its app, and according to Oliver, they don’t yet charge transactional fees connecting tractors to farmers. Eventually, they plan to create broader revenue opportunities from data analytics and Oliver is quoted to be saying at this phase they focus on mechanization coupling the insights being generated through that device with the IBM platform solutions specifically for agriculture extending the value they offer the customers to be monetized. 

Hereafter they come to be estimating that the business of connecting small scale farmers to the tractors he says it is a multi-billion market globally pointing to Nigeria as the African nation is the largest inventory of arable-uncultivated farmland that is 37 percent of the country according to World Bank data. The IBM has confirmed that IBM Research’s co-financing to build Digital Wallet has not included any equity stake in Hello Tractor. 

Aligning with IBM’s global agricultural strategy, the collaboration embedded largely in its Watson AI business platform as also global agtech partnerships. Here the latest news is that IBM partnered with Kenyan agtech start-up Twiga introducing to Twiga’s network of vendors which is a blockchain-enabled working capital platform. Viewing the partnership as scientific research collaboration is the VP Solomon Assefa as he says through all the touchpoints, the farmers, machinery, dealers, crop yields and data inputs the Hello Tractor convenes the whole agricultural ecosystem. 

Finally, Why Is Start-Up Being Observed To Be The Ultimate Solution?

Africa is shaping its blockchain-focused start-ups and use cases as discussed at Startup Battlefield Africa characterizing more by utility than speculation whereas on the crypto side it was several ICOs that included remittance start-up SurRemit worth $7 million token launches, payments venture Wala’s $ 1 million offerings as it is one by South African solar energy start-up Sun Exchange. 

Continuing to build out the blockchain-enabled Digital Wallet on a lab, engineer and business level is the IBM Research and Hello Tractor teams. Thereafter according to Assefa, they are cultivating the partnership which includes the executive and go-to-market side focusing on how you scale. 

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