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Helping Farmers Grow More, Better
"Jonne Catshoek" Photo by Andrew Kovalev

Helping Farmers Grow More, Better

Most of Georgia’s smallholder farmers are not achieving their full productivity potential. This is largely due to a lack of information across the agricultural value chain.

Traktor enables farmers to increase output by at least 30% through a) distance training through tutorial videos; b) highly localized weather and climate reports and c) relevant updates such as news on pests and diseases. This information is targeted very precisely, based on location, season, weather and individual user preferences.

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Still in beta, Traktor is already popular with Georgian farmers and supported by leading donors.

Traktor is implemented in partnership with Mosavali, a non-profit initiative to develop educational content for farmers. Over the past months, Mosavali has reached over 250,000 farmers in Georgia with new online educational content. It currently has over 25,000 subscribers on its mailing list, Facebook, and YouTube accounts.

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Traktor (www.traktor.co) is an innovative service platform for Georgian farmers. Its mobile app and website provide them with education (training videos), information (weather and market prices) and services (agro loans, expert advice). Traktor also gives businesses tools to carry out effective outreach and customer services. Financial service providers will for instance be able to more easily issue agro loans and conduct online consultations using both the Traktor app and SMS.

Traktor is a social enteprise that helps farmers to improve their output and income, while allowing businesses to perform more targeted marketing and outreach.

The initial idea was developed by Jonne Catshoek, Mark van Embden Andres and Hans Gutbrod. The platform is built by developers Vakho Shotashvili and Lasha Tavartkiladze.

Farmers in emerging markets will have to feed over 7 billion people by 2050.

“We believe that better information and communication within the agricultural value chain can help the farmers to improve their performance dramatically. In other words, we use a modern, market-driven approach to help address an important social-economic issue in Georgia and beyond”, – said Jonne Catshoek.

They have been overwhelmed by the public interest in our work. Last year, the training videos produced by our non-profit branch Mosavali were watched over 350.000 times. This shows that farmers are increasingly using internet to inform them about farming practices.

As a result, small and medium-sized farmers (0.5-50 hectares) in emerging markets are the main target segment for this special start-up program.

According to the head of the enterprise, there is a lot of potential for agricultural innovation in Georgia. As a middle income economy with a relatively good internet and telecommunication infrastructure, most farmers have good internet access. This means that Georgia is ahead of the curve compared to other emerging markets. Moreover, both the commercial sector and the government are generally open to new and innovative approaches.

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“Georgia is an excellent environment to validate our business model”, – Jonne Catshoek noted.

The beta version of the platform will go live in October. Over the course of 2017, we aim to register at least 20.000 farmers. About the company’s future plans Jonne noted that:

“We are currently talking to potential investors who are interested in helping us grow in Georgia and expand our services to larger markets in Asia and/or Latin America.”

There are 500 million smallholder farmers in emerging markets worldwide. They strive to reach as many of them as possible.