Farm equipment supplier optimistic
SOUTHERN Region Trading, one of the country’s leading farm equipment suppliers is optimistic that demand will grow in the medium term in view of sustained recovery of agriculture.
The company, which has been operating in Zimbabwe for close to five years said its performance had surpassed expectations while the long term drivers of demand were in place.
Having successfully implemented the land reform programme, the Government has turned its focus on to mechanising the farms countrywide to optimise farm yields.
“It would have been much better if the finances were available for farmers, but otherwise our performance has been way above our projections,” director Mr Lawrence Sher said.
“Going forward, there is nothing that should stop us from growing. There are a lot of farmers realising the benefits of technology. We have the capacity to match the growth of the sector.
“We are aware of the limitless opportunities as people are now taking agriculture seriously.”
The company manufactures state of the art equipment such as IH tractors, high horsepower tractors, harvesters and sprayers, bailers, planters and tillage equipment.
The firm has raised competition in the domestic market, which has seen a significant decline in farm machinery prices. Some of the machinery is assembled locally and is imported as complete units.
SRT is the official agency of CASE, the world’s leading manufacturer of agriculture and construction equipment, KUHN, a farm implements supplier and SANY of China.
Since its inception, the company has invested several millions of dollars and currently has in stock, spares worth $3 million.
“Having enough spares (in stock) is much more important than having the machines,” said Mr Sher. The company has 14 teams that provide field service in terms of maintenance and servicing the machines. Only major breakdowns are attended at the workshop.
The machinery have an integrated equipment management system that provides real-time monitoring. “We have a core centre which monitors the movement of the equipment.”
In light of financial challenges, Mr Sher suggested Government could come up with a policy to promote co-operative farming to allow for sharing of agricultural equipment.
This would make it easier for contractors to help farmers to mechanise their farms. “Contractors are giving inputs to farmers, but not equipment,” Mr Sher said. “They can have a block of farmers, which can be provided with some pieces of machinery. This is the most efficient way of mechanising the farms by contractors, but it is something that Government should coordinate,” said Mr Sher. Over the years, SRT has been participating at the Harare Agricultural Show and is the sponsor of small scale farmer of the year award.