Farm equip­ment sup­plier op­ti­mistic

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Business - Harare Bureau

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.

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