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News and Events

04.10.2017

Interview with Jonne Catshoek, the Founder of the Traktor Platform.

Jonne Catshoek is the CEO of Traktor, a mobile app that helps farmers in emerging markets to improve the quantity and quality of their produce. For 8 years, he has lived in Georgia where he founded Elva Community Engagement, an organization that provides international organizations with mobile tools to communicate with their beneficiaries at scale. For Elva he worked with rural populations in a broad range of developing countries. It helped him realize that, despite the importance of agriculture for most of these countries' economies, farmers generally remained very underserviced. They often lacked adequate access to education, high-quality weather data, and affordable input supplies. To resolve this issue, with the financial support of People in Need in the frame of the project ‘Improving Formal, Non-Formal and Informal Vocational Education for the Agribusiness in Georgia', he launched Traktor.

 

• What is the Traktor Platform?

 

Traktor is a mobile and web app that helps farmers to grow more and better crops. It helps them boost their productivity and income by providing them with free training videos, high-quality weather data, tailored expert advice and access to affordable input supplies.

 

 

• How was the idea of the online platform for farmers born?

 

A friend of mine, who has a farm in western Georgia, told me how difficult it was for him to access good education materials and input supplies. This echoed similar complaints I heard from farmers in other emerging economies in Asia, the Middle East, and the Caucasus. So we decided to develop a solution to this problem. This ultimately became Traktor.


• What are the services Traktor can provide to farmers?

 

Traktor offers farmers several free services to boost their productivity and improve their income. First of all, it offers farmers free video and text tutorials, showing them how to grow more and better products. It also allows farmers to receive free, tailored advice from expert agronomists. In addition, Traktor has an online shop that allows farmers to purchase input supplies, such as herbicides, pesticides, and seeds, from vendors across the country. Through making the market prices of input supplies more transparent, this online shop promotes competition between input suppliers, allowing farmers to purchase at low prices. Lastly, Traktor offers highly localized weather forecasts and an agro calendar, showing farmers when to carry out crucial tasks in the field.

 

 

• As we know it is the first project of its kind in Georgia.

 

Yes, you are absolutely right. It is innovational and modern for Georgia's reality, therefore, meets the needs of 21st century farmers better than other existing outdated tools.

 

 

• Can you tell us, what you see as the main reason that makes Traktor so popular and successful in Georgia?

 

I think one of the main reasons Traktor has become so popular in Georgia is that we developed it specifically for farmers in emerging markets like Georgia. For instance, in contrast to many more developed economies, less than half of Georgia's farmers have access to the Internet. To reach as many farmers as possible, Traktor therefore also offers many SMS and phone-based services.

 

 

• What about PIN's role in establishing Traktor Platform?

 

PIN's support has been crucial in developing Traktor. PIN believed in the concept of Traktor from the beginning and funded many of Traktor's first training videos. The success of these early videos then convinced other donors and corporate sponsors to support us. So, we are very grateful for PIN's support, as without it we might not have been around today.

 

 

• What has Traktor achieved so far?

 

In a short time, Traktor has become Georgia's most popular online information and education tool for farmers. Our videos have been watched over 2 million times already, and our app has been downloaded more than 10,000 times, becoming the #3 business app on the Google Play Store in Georgia. Most users also give us very positive reviews and tell us that they are using our training materials to improve their practices in the field. Through improving these agricultural practices, we are strengthening the agricultural value chain in Georgia.

 

 

• What are your plans for the future?

 

Seeing Traktor's success in Georgia, we seek to scale up to other emerging markets. We are currently looking for partners who can support us in this effort. From a technological point of view, expanding Traktor to other countries will be relatively easy, as the platform can easily be translated into other languages.

 

rs in emerging markets to improve the quantity and quality of their produce. For 8 years, he has lived in Georgia where he founded Elva Community Engagement, an organization that provides international organizations with mobile tools to communicate with their beneficiaries at scale. For Elva he worked with rural populations in a broad range of developing countries. It helped him realize that, despite the importance of agriculture for most of these countries' economies, farmers generally remained very underserviced. They often lacked adequate access to education, high-quality weather data, and affordable input supplies. To resolve this issue, with the financial support of People in Need in the frame of the project ‘Improving Formal, Non-Formal and Informal Vocational Education for the Agribusiness in Georgia', he launched Traktor.

 

• What is the Traktor Platform?

 

Traktor is a mobile and web app that helps farmers to grow more and better crops. It helps them boost their productivity and income by providing them with free training videos, high-quality weather data, tailored expert advice and access to affordable input supplies.

 

 

• How was the idea of the online platform for farmers born?

 

A friend of mine, who has a farm in western Georgia, told me how difficult it was for him to access good education materials and input supplies. This echoed similar complaints I heard from farmers in other emerging economies in Asia, the Middle East, and the Caucasus. So we decided to develop a solution to this problem. This ultimately became Traktor.


• What are the services Traktor can provide to farmers?

 

Traktor offers farmers several free services to boost their productivity and improve their income. First of all, it offers farmers free video and text tutorials, showing them how to grow more and better products. It also allows farmers to receive free, tailored advice from expert agronomists. In addition, Traktor has an online shop that allows farmers to purchase input supplies, such as herbicides, pesticides, and seeds, from vendors across the country. Through making the market prices of input supplies more transparent, this online shop promotes competition between input suppliers, allowing farmers to purchase at low prices. Lastly, Traktor offers highly localized weather forecasts and an agro calendar, showing farmers when to carry out crucial tasks in the field.

 

 

• As we know it is the first project of its kind in Georgia.

 

Yes, you are absolutely right. It is innovational and modern for Georgia's reality, therefore, meets the needs of 21st century farmers better than other existing outdated tools.

 

 

• Can you tell us, what you see as the main reason that makes Traktor so popular and successful in Georgia?

 

I think one of the main reasons Traktor has become so popular in Georgia is that we developed it specifically for farmers in emerging markets like Georgia. For instance, in contrast to many more developed economies, less than half of Georgia's farmers have access to the Internet. To reach as many farmers as possible, Traktor therefore also offers many SMS and phone-based services.

 

 

• What about PIN's role in establishing Traktor Platform?

 

PIN's support has been crucial in developing Traktor. PIN believed in the concept of Traktor from the beginning and funded many of Traktor's first training videos. The success of these early videos then convinced other donors and corporate sponsors to support us. So, we are very grateful for PIN's support, as without it we might not have been around today.

 

 

• What has Traktor achieved so far?

 

In a short time, Traktor has become Georgia's most popular online information and education tool for farmers. Our videos have been watched over 2 million times already, and our app has been downloaded more than 10,000 times, becoming the #3 business app on the Google Play Store in Georgia. Most users also give us very positive reviews and tell us that they are using our training materials to improve their practices in the field. Through improving these agricultural practices, we are strengthening the agricultural value chain in Georgia.

 

 

• What are your plans for the future?

 

Seeing Traktor's success in Georgia, we seek to scale up to other emerging markets. We are currently looking for partners who can support us in this effort. From a technological point of view, expanding Traktor to other countries will be relatively easy, as the platform can easily be translated into other languages.

 

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