‘Uber for tractors’: India Government to launch app to help farmers rent tractors

A laser-guided land leveler harnesses advanced technology to accurately flatten a field in a fraction of the time utilized by a conventional oxen-powered mechanical tool.

The result? Farmers save precious groundwater and increase productivity by ten to fifteen times

The hitch? Such hi-tech laser levelers cost a minimum Rs. 3 lakh, which is far more than what a typical small farmer can afford.

But a brand-new app that’s being presented as “Uber for tractors” offers a solution.

“We want farmers to have affordable access to cutting-edge technology at their doorsteps,” says a senior Agriculture Ministry official. “There are now more than 38,000 custom hiring centers (CHCs) across the country, which rent out 2.5 lakh pieces of farm equipment every year. By the end of the month, we plan to launch a new mobile app to efficiently connect farmers with these CHCs, just like Uber connects you to cabs.”

The CHC app is now accepting registrations by the farmers, societies, and entrepreneurs who run these centers. So far, almost 26,800 CHCs have registered to supply more than one lakh item of equipment for rent.

Once the app is formally launched, farmers who want to rent equipment will register using their names, addresses, and mobile numbers, and also key in their specific needs.

“Say, I need a rotavator with a tractor for one acre of land. The app will show me the CHCs which have the equipment available within five, 20 and 50 km of my location, with their rates,” explained the official. “I can then call the CHC or just use the app to book the equipment at a specific time and location, and it will turn up just like an Uber.”

Rating system

Feedback from each of the CHC and also the farmers contributes to a scoring system, permitting customers to make educated choices.

The Ministry’s app will produce useful information for policy-makers, who will track the use and price of equipment. The system would additionally facilitate tracking the usage of recent technology that the government wants to push, like the Happy Seeder that aims to end stubble burning that causes pollution or solar dryers that may facilitate farmers' process and preserve their harvest.

“We have already done very successful demo runs in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Punjab,” said the official.

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