By the time the next planting season starts, farmers will be able to find a tractor within minutes, anywhere in Zimbabwe.
This is part of an ambitious plan by Vaya, a division of Cassava SmartTech, to expand the range of services available on its mobility and logistics App.
According to Cassava Smartech Zimbabwe CEO Mr Eddie Chibi, the company plans to register more than 10 000 tractors from the national fleet of more than 15 000 tractors. Tractor owners will be able to offer their tractors to other farmers using the Vaya Tractor App, once they finish tilling their own fields. The cost of the service will be standardised.
Mr Chibi said based on computer modelling done by Vaya engineers, 10 000 tractors could plough and service 1.5 million small holder farmers if deployed efficiently. The company will leverage its sister company Econet Wireless' cell phone network, as well as satellite GPS systems, to deploy the tractors. They will know exactly where each tractor is located, and will be able to deploy them where and when they are needed.
"This is the age of the Internet and shared economy. You don't need to own a tractor. And there is no need to be phoning around, we know each tractor, and have tools that enable us to ensure the farmer and the tractor owner are able to transact using EcoCash," said Cassava Smartech Zimbabwe CEO Mr Eddie Chibi.
He said eventually Vaya wants to be able to offer access to other types of agricultural machinery, including transportation.
"We want to add every type of machinery available for agriculture. We are also adding trucks of all sizes to the App within the next 3 months," Mr Chibi said, calling on people with tractors to register on the platform as soon as possible.
"The market opportunity for contract ploughing and mechanization is over $500 million per annum. This is huge and we can transform agriculture and make it less laborious for all our farmers. We need entrepreneurs and farmers to come into this space quickly. It will be very lucrative for everyone," Mr Chibi said. Vaya, which now operates more than 10 000 cars on its Vaya Lift ride hailing service, is working on many other services, including a Car Pool service which will be much cheaper than the current premium service, a van delivery service to help small businesses, as well as an ambulance service.
"We have now stabilised the system and built up our capacity. We are preparing for the new service and that is why you see us advertising for different services. We will soon be able to carry virtually anybody and anything within into and from Zimbabwe," Mr Chibi said.