IT WAS ONLY a question of time before the feeble economy also hit the SA tractor sector, which recorded better sales in 2008 than in 2007.
Even though the year didn’t begin too badly, with sales figures for the first three months comparing well with last year’s, figures collapsed shockingly in April. According to industry organisation Saama, only 304 tractors were sold throughout the country, 54,5% down on last April’s 668 units. That restricted total sales for the first four months to 2 061 units, 18,5% lower than the 2 528 of the corresponding period in 2008.
Saama chairman Leon Pretorius attributes the poor sales to a combination of factors and not only the poor economy. “First, April was a poor business month, because of all the public holidays, and, second, farmers may have decided to hold fire until they saw what was happening with their crops, the economy and crop prices. Some farmers probably postponed their buying decisions until they had more clarity.”
However, the SA agricultural industry is preparing itself for an excellent harvest, as can be deduced from sales of combine harvesters.