South African agricultural services company AFGRI Agri Services has launched Axl a new agri-tech platform enabling farmers to find, rent, and pay for agricultural equipment through a secure online portal.
The platform also enables service providers – equipment owners, retailers, and contractors – to build their business and grow revenue streams and optimising the process of renting out their machines. Axl provides world-class payment solutions that ease the cash-flow challenges for service providers while connecting renters to a quality rated service.
Access to the right machinery at the right time is a critical success factor for farmers. “Whether it is a small, emerging, or large commercial farmer, this is an ongoing challenge for farmers of all sizes. Especially now, as 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,” says Niki Neumann, the head of AFGRI’s strategic innovation division, AFGRI Technology Services (“ATS’’), which has developed this product, along with AFGRI Equipment.
“We have decided to open the platform up sooner than originally planned due to the increased need for an alternative solution. As with all new products we expect some teething issues, however, we have already had successful rentals via the platform.”
Axl’s first customer and a member of AFGRI’s Future Farmer Forum, Hardu Prinsloo, shares his experience using the service, “It’s always very fulfilling to be part of something new that can make a difference to agriculture as a whole.”
“When we set about developing the concept, we understood that with farming comes many unforeseen challenges, we wanted to build a community of quality-rated equipment service providers to be there for farmers when they need them the most. Uncertainty and change are something we will never see the back of, it is inherent in our lives now and going forward. We are adapting and excited to embark on this journey with our Axl customers,” says Neumann.
AFGRI Equipment branches will be the first to offer the rental service to their customers. However, the platform is for all South African farmers and equipment owners, including contractors and retailers alike.
UNIGRO customers have the added benefit of using their revolving credit or production facilities to pay for rentals via the Axl service. “Axl is an exciting platform, and UNIGRO 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,” according to Ross Simmonds, the Managing Director of UNIGRO.
Axl goes beyond an online service – it breaks down the traditional barriers to accessing mechanisation for all farmers; it is creating a secure and shared environment and encourages us to do more with less. In times like these, this has never been more important.
According to Patrick Roux, the Managing Director of AFGRI Equipment, the platform is an exciting product. “It will further allow equipment owners to fully utilise their equipment throughout the year, and I am optimistic that this platform will change the way we utilise farm equipment in the future.”
He said that by launching Axl during the lockdown, AFGRI Agri Services can support farmers through uncertain times in a way not offered in the sector before now. ‘’In the long-term, the aim is to deliver an innovative digital service that both enables our customers to drive sustainability, profitability, and productivity for their business. We are positively transforming the equipment market for the better, starting now.”