A young American Entrepreneur has just won $30,000 at the UChicago New venture Challenge, for a startup that could shake up Africa’s agriculture industry. The Startup is Hello Tractor, and it is a tractor sharing service targeted at farmers across Sub-Saharan Africa.
We all know Africa has an abundance of land and good weather. So one would think that Agriculture would be the primary Industry for most countries. This is not always the case. Take Nigeria for example, a country that currently holds the status as the largest economy in Africa. 70% of the countries labour force is involved Agriculture, yet Agriculture makes up only 30% of GDP! In the heyday of high oil prices that number was substantially lower. What this is telling me is, the industry that employs majority of the people in Nigeria does not generate the bulk of the countries revenue. Which means you have a lot of people working but not making much money. The discovery of Oil played a huge part in Agricultures demise in Nigeria, the Government all but ignored the industry, and during that period there was no infrastructure investments in the sector. Farming in the developed world is highly technical, and American farmers have access to all kinds of equipment that Farmers in Africa could only dream of. Even tractors, an essential for any famer, are are not always available. The guys at Hello Tractor are playing their part to fill in this gap. Similar to sharing services like ZipCar, farmers will be able to send a text message requesting the use of a tractor. They will then pay through their phones and the two-wheel tractors will be delivered in two weeks. All tractors will be fitted with GPS tracking devices to allow the company keep track of the tractors.
Really good idea and proves yet again, that in Africa more than anywhere else, every hardship is actually just an opportunity in disguise. I am sure the founder of Hello Tractor, Jehiel Oliver would agree 🙂