IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/wdevel/v144y2021ics0305750x21000929.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Uber for tractors? Opportunities and challenges of digital tools for tractor hire in India and Nigeria

Author

Listed:
  • Daum, Thomas
  • Villalba, Roberto
  • Anidi, Oluwakayode
  • Mayienga, Sharon Masakhwe
  • Gupta, Saurabh
  • Birner, Regina

Abstract

Digital tools hold great promise to promote agricultural transformation and benefit smallholder farmers in the developing world. One such tool is Uber for tractors, which aims to enable farmers to access tractor hire services in a way that is deemed similar to the Uber service for ride-hailing. While widely praised, Uber for tractors has not yet been rigorously analyzed. How does it work in practice? And what is its potential to reduce the transaction costs of tractor service provision, both for tractor owners and for smallholders who use tractor services? To answer these questions, we present case studies of two companies that apply digital tools in support of tractor hire: Hello Tractor in Nigeria and EM3 Agri-Services in India. A transaction costs economics framework was developed to identify how Uber for tractor tools can, in theory, influence the attributes of service hire transactions and, thus, reduce transaction costs. For the empirical analysis, a mixed-methods approach was applied involving approximately 400 respondents and comprising net-maps (a participatory mapping tool), focus group discussions, interviews with tractor owners and other stakeholders, and a survey among farmers. Our results show that the Uber for tractor models have indeed the potential to reduce transaction costs for service providers, in particular the owners of several tractors, by enabling the monitoring of tractors and operators through GPS devices. Farmers who access services have, so far, only indirectly benefitted from the new digital tools, because they still relied on “analog” solutions - booking agents and phone calls - rather than a smartphone app to request services. Overall, the paper shows that Uber for tractors is a pioneering concept, but investment in enabling conditions, such as digital literacy and network coverage, is required to harness the full potential of such digital innovations for smallholder farmers in the developing world.

Suggested Citation

  • Daum, Thomas & Villalba, Roberto & Anidi, Oluwakayode & Mayienga, Sharon Masakhwe & Gupta, Saurabh & Birner, Regina, 2021. "Uber for tractors? Opportunities and challenges of digital tools for tractor hire in India and Nigeria," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 144(C).
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:wdevel:v:144:y:2021:i:c:s0305750x21000929
    DOI: 10.1016/j.worlddev.2021.105480
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0305750X21000929
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    File URL: https://libkey.io/10.1016/j.worlddev.2021.105480?utm_source=ideas
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item
    ---><---

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Kherallah, Mylene & Kirsten, Johann F, 2002. "The New Institutional Economics: Applications For Agricultural Policy Research In Developing Countries," Agrekon, Agricultural Economics Association of South Africa (AEASA), vol. 41(2).
    2. Williamson, Oliver E., 2010. "Transaction Cost Economics: The Natural Progression," Journal of Retailing, Elsevier, vol. 86(3), pages 215-226.
    3. Thomas Daum & Regina Birner, 2017. "The neglected governance challenges of agricultural mechanisation in Africa – insights from Ghana," Food Security: The Science, Sociology and Economics of Food Production and Access to Food, Springer;The International Society for Plant Pathology, vol. 9(5), pages 959-979, October.
    4. Shelanski, Howard A & Klein, Peter G, 1995. "Empirical Research in Transaction Cost Economics: A Review and Assessment," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 11(2), pages 335-361, October.
    5. Diao, Xinshen & Cossar, Frances & Houssou, Nazaire & Kolavalli, Shashidhara, 2014. "Mechanization in Ghana: Emerging demand, and the search for alternative supply models," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 168-181.
    6. Diao, Xinshen, ed. & Takeshima, Hiroyuki. ed. & Zhang, Xiaobo, ed., 2020. "An evolving paradigm of agricultural mechanization development: How much can Africa learn from Asia? Synopsis," IFPRI synopses 1224277378, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    7. Kansanga, Moses & Andersen, Peter & Atuoye, Kilian & Mason-Renton, Sarah, 2018. "Contested commons: Agricultural modernization, tenure ambiguities and intra-familial land grabbing in Ghana," Land Use Policy, Elsevier, vol. 75(C), pages 215-224.
    8. Sheahan, Megan & Barrett, Christopher B., 2017. "Ten striking facts about agricultural input use in Sub-Saharan Africa," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 12-25.
    9. Xiaobing Wang & Futoshi Yamauchi & Jikun Huang, 2016. "Rising wages, mechanization, and the substitution between capital and labor: evidence from small scale farm system in China," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 47(3), pages 309-317, May.
    10. Diao, Xinshen, ed. & Takeshima, Hiroyuki. ed. & Zhang, Xiaobo, ed., 2020. "An evolving paradigm of agricultural mechanization development: How much can Africa learn from Asia?," IFPRI books, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), number 9780896293809, Winter.
    11. Bitsch, Vera, 2005. "Qualitative Research: A Grounded Theory Example and Evaluation Criteria," Journal of Agribusiness, Agricultural Economics Association of Georgia, vol. 23(1), pages 1-17.
    12. Binswanger, Hans, 1986. "Agricultural Mechanization: A Comparative Historical Perspective," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 1(1), pages 27-56, January.
    13. Singh, Gajendra, 2015. "Agricultural Mechanisation Development in India," Indian Journal of Agricultural Economics, Indian Society of Agricultural Economics, vol. 70(1), pages 1-19.
    14. Biggs, Stephen & Justice, Scott, 2015. "Rural and agricultural mechanization: A history of the spread of small engines in selected asian countries:," IFPRI discussion papers 1443, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    15. Cossar, Frances, 2016. "Boserupian pressure and agricultural mechanization in modern Ghana:," IFPRI discussion papers 1528, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    16. Jin Yang & Zuhui Huang & Xiaobo Zhang & Thomas Reardon, 2013. "The Rapid Rise of Cross-Regional Agricultural Mechanization Services in China," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 95(5), pages 1245-1251.
    17. Carol Hunsberger, 2014. "Jatropha as a biofuel crop and the economy of appearances: experiences from Kenya," Review of African Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 41(140), pages 216-231, June.
    18. Barzel, Yoram, 1982. "Measurement Cost and the Organization of Markets," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25(1), pages 27-48, April.
    19. Uwe Deichmann & Aparajita Goyal & Deepak Mishra, 2016. "Will digital technologies transform agriculture in developing countries?," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 47(S1), pages 21-33, November.
    20. Eduardo Nakasone & Maximo Torero & Bart Minten, 2014. "The Power of Information: The ICT Revolution in Agricultural Development," Annual Review of Resource Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 6(1), pages 533-550, October.
    21. Takeshima, Hiroyuki & Lawal, Akeem, 2018. "Overview of the evolution of agricultural mechanization in Nigeria," IFPRI discussion papers 1750, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    22. David Kahan & Roger Bymolt & Fred Zaal, 2018. "Thinking Outside the Plot: Insights on Small-Scale Mechanisation from Case Studies in East Africa," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 54(11), pages 1939-1954, November.
    23. Olmstead, Alan L. & Rhode, Paul W., 1995. "Beyond the Threshold: An Analysis of the Characteristics and Behavior of Early Reaper Adopters," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 55(1), pages 27-57, March.
    24. Adu-Baffour, Ferdinand & Daum, Thomas & Birner, Regina, 2019. "Can small farms benefit from big companies’ initiatives to promote mechanization in Africa? A case study from Zambia," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 84(C), pages 133-145.
    25. Jenny C. Aker & Ishita Ghosh & Jenna Burrell, 2016. "The promise (and pitfalls) of ICT for agriculture initiatives," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 47(S1), pages 35-48, November.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Belton, Ben & Win, Myat Thida & Zhang, Xiaobo & Filipski, Mateusz, 2021. "The rapid rise of agricultural mechanization in Myanmar," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 101(C).
    2. Yukichi Mano & Kazushi Takahashi & Keijiro Otsuka, 2020. "Mechanization in land preparation and agricultural intensification: The case of rice farming in the Cote d'Ivoire," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 51(6), pages 899-908, November.
    3. Thomas Daum & Filippo Capezzone & Regina Birner, 2021. "Using smartphone app collected data to explore the link between mechanization and intra-household allocation of time in Zambia," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer;The Agriculture, Food, & Human Values Society (AFHVS), vol. 38(2), pages 411-429, June.
    4. Adu-Baffour, Ferdinand & Daum, Thomas & Birner, Regina, 2018. "Can Big Companies’ Initiatives to Promote Mechanization Benefit Small Farms in Africa? A Case Study from Zambia," Discussion Papers 273521, University of Bonn, Center for Development Research (ZEF).
    5. Adu-Baffour, Ferdinand & Daum, Thomas & Birner, Regina, 2019. "Can small farms benefit from big companies’ initiatives to promote mechanization in Africa? A case study from Zambia," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 84(C), pages 133-145.
    6. Aryal, Jeetendra Prakash & Rahut, Dil Bahadur & Thapa, Ganesh & Simtowe, Franklin, 2021. "Mechanisation of small-scale farms in South Asia: Empirical evidence derived from farm households survey," Technology in Society, Elsevier, vol. 65(C).
    7. Anderson Jock R. & Birner Regina & Nagarajan Latha & Naseem Anwar & Pray Carl E., 2021. "Private Agricultural R&D: Do the Poor Benefit?," Journal of Agricultural & Food Industrial Organization, De Gruyter, vol. 19(1), pages 3-14, May.
    8. Zhang, Xiaobo & Yang, Jin & Reardon, Thomas, 2020. "Mechanization outsourcing clusters and division of labor in Chinese agriculture," IFPRI book chapters, in: An evolving paradigm of agricultural mechanization development: How much can Africa learn from Asia?, chapter 2, pages 71-96, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    9. Deng, Xin & Xu, Dingde & Zeng, Miao & Qi, Yanbin, 2019. "Does Internet use help reduce rural cropland abandonment? Evidence from China," Land Use Policy, Elsevier, vol. 89(C).
    10. Diao, Xinshen & Silver, Jed & Takeshima, Hiroyuki, 2016. "Agricultural mechanization and agricultural transformation:," IFPRI discussion papers 1527, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    11. Thomas Daum & Regina Birner, 2017. "The neglected governance challenges of agricultural mechanisation in Africa – insights from Ghana," Food Security: The Science, Sociology and Economics of Food Production and Access to Food, Springer;The International Society for Plant Pathology, vol. 9(5), pages 959-979, October.
    12. Takeshima, Hiroyuki, 2017. "The roles of agroclimatic similarity and returns on scale in the demand for mechanization: Insights from northern Nigeria," IFPRI discussion papers 1692, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    13. Anupam Sarkar, 2020. "Agricultural Mechanization in India: A Study on the Ownership and Investment in Farm Machinery by Cultivator Households across Agro-ecological Regions," Millennial Asia, , vol. 11(2), pages 160-186, August.
    14. Paudel, Gokul P. & KC, Dilli Bahadur & Rahut, Dil Bahadur & Justice, Scott E. & McDonald, Andrew J., 2019. "Scale-appropriate mechanization impacts on productivity among smallholders: Evidence from rice systems in the mid-hills of Nepal," Land Use Policy, Elsevier, vol. 85(C), pages 104-113.
    15. Rosegrant, Mark W. & Fan, Shenggen & Otsuka, Keijiro, 2021. "Global issues in agricultural development," IFPRI book chapters, in: Agricultural development: New perspectives in a changing world, chapter 2, pages 35-78, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    16. Bachewe, Fantu Nisrane & Berhane, Guush & Minten, Bart & Taffesse, Alemayehu Seyoum, 2016. "Non-farm income and labor markets in rural Ethiopia," ESSP working papers 90, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    17. Takeshima, Hiroyuki & Hatzenbuehler, Patrick L. & Edeh, Hyacinth O., 2020. "Effects of agricultural mechanization on economies of scope in crop production in Nigeria," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 177(C).
    18. Fuhong Zhang & Apurbo Sarkar & Hongyu Wang, 2021. "Does Internet and Information Technology Help Farmers to Maximize Profit: A Cross-Sectional Study of Apple Farmers in Shandong, China," Land, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 10(4), pages 1-18, April.
    19. Hiroyuki Takeshima & Rajendra Prasad Adhikari & Anjani Kumar, 2016. "Is Access to Tractor Service a Binding Constraint for Nepali Terai Farmers?," Working Papers id:9604, eSocialSciences.
    20. Sara Ratna Qanti & Thomas Reardon & Arief Iswariyadi, 2017. "Triangle of Linkages among Modernising Markets, Sprayer–traders, and Mango-farming Intensification in Indonesia," Bulletin of Indonesian Economic Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 53(2), pages 187-208, May.

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:wdevel:v:144:y:2021:i:c:s0305750x21000929. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/worlddev .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Catherine Liu (email available below). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/worlddev .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.