Considering the rapid rise of Uber and its “gig economy” business model, it’s no surprise that a ton of other startups have been trying the formula in the hope of writing their own Uber-style success story.
The latest to land is the Uber for farmers, reports the NY Times. Sure, there won’t be much call for the service in the heart of Manhattan or some similarly urban location, but for small-scale farmers in India who only need such machinery for part of the year and who can’t afford to buy one outright, the opportunity to hail a tractor could be just the ticket.
While rental services for tractors and other farming equipment already exist in the country, the system can be unreliable, badly organized, and pricey. So Indian vehicle maker Mahindra & Mahindra recently created a new smartphone app called Trringo to try to make life a little easier for the nation’s farmers.
Trringo offers a range of farming equipment at affordable prices, including the all-important tractor. Once the farmer selects what they need, the kit is sent from one of 20 hubs across the southwestern state of Karnataka, where the service has just launched.
India has more than 135 million farmers working with relatively small plots of land, so the tractor-hailing business could turn into something big if it expands across the nation.
It has, however, had to deal with one tricky obstacle. Mobile internet access reaches just 9 percent of rural India at the current time, so the company has put in place a number of phone centers that farmers can call from to arrange delivery.
Commenting on the existing system of machinery rental, Mahindra & Mahindra’s Rajesh Jejurikar told the NY Times, “One of the things that struck us was the toll it took on the self-esteem of the farmer,” adding, “It was, literally, like having to beg for it. He didn’t feel like it was his right.”
With that in mind, India’s enormous community of farmers will be hoping Trring can sow the seeds of a more efficient and affordable rental service.