E-Farm is entering the African market. Here is an interview with Dr. Nicolas Lohr, Founder and CEO of E-Farm.
[Interview] Dr. Nicolas Lohr: "E-Farm enters a traditional market with an unconventional and modern business model"
Dr. Nicolas Lohr is the CEO and Founder of E-Farm , a Germany-based global platform dealing with quality used agricultural farm machinery.
Tell us about E-Farm and your role
E-FARM.COM is the first global platform for used farm machines. We give our customers safe access to more than 300,000 machines, provide independent inspections by DEKRA and organize transport as well as customs - in Europe with an unprecedented warranty. We leverage market price inefficiencies and economies or scale to offer our clients the best rates.
I founded E-FARM.COM back in 2015 with the vision to make the highly inefficient market more transparent and secure for customers and dealers alike. Today I can see this vision become reality together with my international team or more than 20 employees here in Hamburg, Germany.
Who are your target audience?
With a reliable transnational network at our hand, we can provide huge agricultural businesses as well as small farmers with the perfect equipment catering for their everyday needs. Thanks to our international team, we are able to communicate in more than 10 languages and are not limited to certain markets.
Dealers profit likewise, as we open up new markets for them. On the African continent this means we are able to provide dealers with high quality equipment as well as detailed know-how and how to adapt to local requirements. It's a huge chance for all of us.
What is the biggest threat to your business at the moment?
E-FARM.COM enters a traditional market with an unconventional and modern business model. Even though today farmers all over the world involve smartphones, the internet and recent technology in their everyday farm-life, they predominantly turn to local dealers when it comes to purchasing machines.
Thereby, farmers not only miss out on great deals but also might not have their needs met. We know that it takes time to build trust, and we are a 100 % convinced by our business model as well as it’s use for our target group – that’s why we keep developing E-FARM.COM passionately.
What makes the E-Farm.com model unique?
E-FARM.COM offers an all-round carefree package with a maximum of security when buying used farm machines. Buying from E-FARM.COM really means us being the contractual partner, using a German bank account for the payment, having transport and customs organized and the machine delivered to your door. An independent inspection by DEKRA provides the buyer with a detailed overview of the machine's condition. If any defects should arise, our warranty covers the repair costs.
How did the market respond to your products?
We did face skepticism in the beginning, but people are curious and willing to walk unknown paths with us. In the past years we've been able to gain trust and month by month the number of happy E-FARMERS keeps on growing. I love hearing every single story by customers all over the world, who, after receiving their used farm machines, contact us once more to let us know how surprisingly easy the purchase has been after all. These success stories keep me going.
As a key industry player in agriculture, what in your opinion is the place of farm mechanization in addressing global food hunger?
An ever-growing world population and critical climate changes demand a rethinking or how to use our resources more efficiently in the most sustainable way. I'm convinced that farm mechanization is a key element to increase agricultural output while setting free work force significantly.
How have farmers and agri businesses benefited from your services since you started operating?
We provide global transparency to a market that is used to be - and still is - often limited to a rather local environment. With E-FARM.COM, farmers are able to compare prices, avoid fraud and with our warranty be sure to receive their machines in the exact condition as expected.
By entering the African market, E-FARM.COM allow a shift of machines from markets with over mechanization to markets with under mechanization. To me this is a highly sustainable way to bring reliable machinery and know-how at great prices to a whole continent.
You recently entered into a partnership with agricultural machinery manufacturer CLASS. Tell us more about cooperation and what it means for E-Farm.com.
The cooperation with Claas has been our biggest proof of concept so far. Our partnership means more machines and better data quality and easier access to used farm equipment. However, E-FARM.COM continues to operate as an independent platform, that sells machines or any kind of brand.
Are you looking for any other strategic partnerships?
We're always open to partnerships we can grow and improve with. Working together in a network of crucial players in this industry brings us closer to our vision of a secure and transparent market.
What are your priorities in 2020?
In 2020, we will continue to grow our supplier network in order to offer our customers more choices and thus better deals. We will also introduce new transaction services to further optimize processes for equipment sellers and buyers.
What are the short and long term ambitions of E-Farm.com?
Our long-term vision is the number one online shop for used farm machinery worldwide. In order to do so, we need to continue our hard work to make customers happy so that they spread the word about our services.
Who should contact you and why?
Basically, any farmer currently looking for farm machinery. For Africa we suggest mid-to-large-scale farms, equipment dealers or farm cooperatives that want to use bigger machines as a sharing model between smaller farms.