An Innovative New Tractor Rental Platform Seeks to Mechanize Farms in Zimbabwe

The founder and Chief Executive Officer of, Michael Matope, released information last year about an innovative program his company plans to launch in the African nation of Zimbabwe. He hopes the program will help boost agricultural production dramatically. If successful, the model might provide an example for many other developing economies to embrace. It offers a realistic way for some of the most impoverished farmers in the world to gain the use of tractors and other expensive production technologies.

The Tractor Sharing Model

Under the proposed new program, customers will use a Farmvest subsidiary called “HIRRETRACTOR” to rent tractors and other farming equipment for periods of time ranging between 18 months and three years. Third-party investors will supply the rental equipment to the HIRRETRACTOR platform. The HIRRETRACTOR will equip each item with a GPS tracker before making it available for lease.

The new platform will carefully insure, administer, book, and monitor the use of rented farm machinery. The equipment serves as security for investments, which begin in the $1,000 per share range. Due to careful GPS tracking, the platform enjoys the ability to lease the equipment within designated local areas. The program hopes to eliminate many logistical pitfalls which have posed problems for mechanizing farms in developing nations in the past.

A Boon For Zimbabwe

Certainly, the availability of cost-effective tractors and other farming equipment would benefit numerous impoverished and middle-class farmers in Zimbabwe. This landlocked nation of over 16 million includes many diverse ethnic regions; the population speaks 16 official languages. Years of mismanagement and human rights abuses by the corrupt government of former President Robert Mugabe left the nation’s agricultural sector in a dire condition.

Between 2000 and 2016, Zimbabwe declined from being a food exporter to a net importer. The production of wheat, corn (“maize”), and coffee all fell significantly. Some areas of the nation suffered food shortages and hunger. The collapse of the agricultural sector contributed to a steep increase in refugees from Zimbabwe seeking shelter in neighboring South Africa and Botswana.

An Innovative Program

Agricultural products still remain one of Zimbabwe’s most economically important potential exports. However, Zimbabwe today contains only 1.3 tractors per square kilometer. This figure remains much lower than neighboring South Africa (where farmers utilize 43 tractors per kilometer) or populous India (with 116 tractors per square kilometer).

The production of farms in Zimbabwe remains severely limited by the lack of fully operational tractors and other automated farming machinery. Currently, most farmers work as small landholders. Most agricultural producers simply cannot afford to purchase expensive automated equipment. Some have described the innovative platform as a new tractor “Uber”. If successful, the program holds the potential to boost Zimbabwe’s agricultural production by placing more efficient technology within the reach of small landowners. It might offer a successful business model for some other nations in Africa.

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