As the coronavirus pandemic forces the world towards digitalisation, agriculture industry leader Afgri Technology Services on Wednesday unveiled a new digital platform set to make the acquiring of farm equipment easier.
The platform, Axl, is designed to facilitate the rental of agricultural equipment through a secure online portal while easing cash flow challenges for service providers.
Head of the strategic innovation division Niki Neumann said the company decided to launch the online platform sooner than planned. She attributes this to the “need for an alternative solution”.
Neumann says that when developing the concept for Axl, the company wanted to adapt by building a community of quality-rated equipment service providers to support farmers as uncertainty is one of the challenges of the industry.
The coronavirus pandemic has slowed down productivity as government restrictions pose a challenge to industry operations. The platform will assist farmers, equipment owners, retailers and contractors on the platform and to lease out their equipment. However, Afgri Equipment branches will be the first to offer the rental service to their customers.
“Access to the right machinery at the right time is a critical success factor for farmers, especially now that the global pandemic has left global supply chains under immense pressure. Uncertainty remains in the minds of our customers and currency volatility has resulted in the increase in equipment costs,” said Neumann.
The Axl platform allows clients of Afgri Technology Services subsidiary, Unigro, to use their revolving credit or production facilities to pay for rentals. Unigro MD Ross Simmonds says the company is “excited to integrate its financial services offering in support of the platform. If a quality product offering like Axl, enabled with convenient access to finance, delights our customers then we have been successful.”
Afgri Equipment MD Patrick Roux said that by launching Axl during the lockdown, Afgri Agri Services can support farmers through uncertain times in a new way.
“The company is positively transforming the equipment market for the better, starting now,” he said.