1. Farm Mechanization

Pay-as-you-use Tractor Service for Indian Farmers

Chander Mohan
Chander Mohan

Tractor is an important farming vehicle that mechanizes common agricultural tasks such as tillage, ploughing and planting in farms. It plays a crucial role in increasing agricultural productivity.  In ASEAN, per capita arable land area is 0.12 hectare, among the smallest in the world. Across the regions, the small landholdings make it unviable for farmers to own agri-machinery and implements like tractors, rotary and power tillers, rotators, seed drillers and other efficient farm equipment. In India less than 30 percent of farmers use the necessary equipment that facilitates productive and profitable work. Farmer’s can barely afford high-cap equipment and often take loans to buy them. This often adds onto the financial burden in a bad crop yield season. Also, small farmers often lack knowledge about modern farming practices or struggle to finance farm operations. 

Leveraging the partnership with Hello Tractor in the African region, Aeris India brings on-demand farming capabilities to the predominantly agrarian economies of India and ASEAN.  Indian agriculture continues to face challenges, but technology continues to try and help the Indian farmer. With the advent of driverless tractors or Autonomous Electric Tractors (AETs), the agri tech space goes up a notch in tech quotient.  Aeris, a California-based technology company and Hello Tractor, an ag-tech company, which has worked with farmers in Nigeria and Kenya, are coming up with a ‘pay-as-you-use tractor service’ for Indian farmers. 

With the Aeris IoT platform, called Aeris Mobility Platform, (also known as AMP), tractor tracking, and utilization of time and billing are simplified, based on time in the field and area covered. The  partnership enables the pay-as-you-use model for small holding farmers to use tractors with innovative commercial models. Hello Tractor's innovative use of IoT simplifies complex data to ensure transparency, profitability, and accountability across the ecosystem of farmers, tractor owners, tractor dealers, original equipment manufacturers, banks, and governments.  

The Tractor Owner App includes tools such as, service request management, tractor and fleet management, operator performance, and activity tracking. Using the technology to their advantage, the farmers are able to plant 40 times faster at one-third the cost. The digital IoT platform is making it easy and profitable for tractor owners to monetise their machines as business assets whilst improving the livelihood of rural farmers.   

Dr. Rishi Mohan Bhatnagar, President, Aeris India said “Our world has many challenges to solve and we at Aeris are committed to delivering innovative technology solutions to serve the unserved. Majority of the farmers in the predominantly agrarian societies, such as India and ASEAN countries, have less than five acres of land and can barely afford high-cap equipment. We wanted to help the farmer by offering accessible and affordable farm mechanized equipment service and enable economic advancement. After successful alliance with Hello Tractor to enable ‘Tractor-as-a-Service’ in Africa, we are now launching this in India and the ASEAN region. The service eliminates the need to invest upfront and brings down the operational costs with the pay-as-you-use model for small holding farmers.” 

According to Mr. Jehiel Oliver, Founder & CEO, Hello Tractor, “There is no doubt agricultural mechanization is having an impact on Indian, African and ASEAN farmers' efficiency, resource management, and productivity. The magnitude of that impact moving forward will largely depend on the private sector, government, and public working together. Hello Tractor and Aeris have partnered to make a significant step toward amplifying this positive impact in India, Africa and the APAC region. This alliance will help farmers access more affordable, dependable, and transparent tractor services that can make a real difference in shaping the future of agriculture.” 

Apart from this, Bakur Kvezereli, the CEO of Ztractor, who are about to launch their electric, driverless tractor  informed  that driverless tractors can help farmers who are poor: “With the AETs, farmer will be able to scale the size of a farm and upgrade to new high margin crop." 

Renting farm equipment is an upcoming trend in Indian agriculture in recent years. Companies such as EM3 have operations in Madhya Pradesh since 2014, now extending to Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan as well. Also, Trringo, Mahindra & Mahindra’s farm equipment rental business is into the same sector.

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