28 January 2013

Tanzania: New Tractor Models May Improve Farming Methods

IN attempts to back up government-led 'Kilimo Kwanza' initiative, a Dar es Salaam-based company, dubbed "Noble Motors Limited (NML)," recently launched two newly low-fuel consumption and affordable farm machinery.

These were a 40 hp Powertrac 439 tractor, with inventor and Powertrac 4455, a 55hp tractor with 4 cylinders. Speaking to 'Daily News' in an exclusive interview at the official launching of the tractors, the company's Agricultural Machinery Division Sales Manager, Max Mhagama said the firm was more than committed to enabling farmers to access modern farm implements suited to the realities of the country.

Through its Agricultural Machinery Division, the company's other main tractor brands it deals in are Farmtrac 80 and Powertrac from Escorts Ltd of India; Foton Lovol tractors from China and other farm implements, trailers, power tillers and combine harvesters.

A handful of journalists who attended the launching of the new models, also witnessed various types of modern machinery on display. Expounding further on how the inverter works, Mhagama said it was practical for a typical Tanzanian farmer.

"The inverter is operated while tractor is parked, it gets charging during the day while the tractor is operated in the field. It is sufficient to provide lighting as well as operating some electric gadgets like a "14 TV or electric fan at all places without electricity for at least 5-6 hours, depending on the number of pieces of equipment's connected," he said.

On the Powertrac 4455, Mhagama said the engine is extra- powerful for a 55hp tractor because it is 4 cylinder. However, its main characteristic as a Diesel Saver gives low fuel consumption ideal for any farmer. "This machine uses 3.5 litres of diesel per acre. The tractor is power steering, has a dual clutch, seats for driver assistants and a sun protector.

The driver's seat is adjustable," he explained. "We have so far managed to reach out to as many farmers as possible across the country. Every year, we organise service camps through which we provide free services and sell spare parts to various farmers determined to revolutionise agriculture.

The service camps are advertised through radio networks throughout the country. We receive a lot of positive feedback about what we are doing," he said. He said although NML started its dedicated agricultural machinery division in 2000, the importation of various products went back to 1994.

On services offered, Mhagama said a customer who bought a machine at their company had a oneyear guarantee service. "We offer after sales service. The company makes sure a customer gets tractor installation and operation instructions by NML mechanics to whichever region a customer is based.

All mandatory first 4 services are provided by the company within the one-year guarantee period at the recommended intervals of tractor working hours," he noted. He said after the guarantee period, the customer is expected to pay nominal charges for services and repairs to be done at his sight.

Furthermore, the company will be introducing VST 150 DI Dragon Shakti Mitsubishi power tillers, which will increase fieldwork operations. During the same occasion, there was a handing over of the newly introduced Powertrac 4455 tractor to the first customer, Mr Anderson Elias, who had purchased from Noble Motors Limited.

Speaking to the 'Daily News,' the customer said he was happy to have known NML through their reliable services and with what he had purchased he believes he has a quality product and has established good networking. He urged other Tanzanians to familiarise themselves with the company and get what they wanted.

Since its inception in 1994, NML's main thrust area has been to build an organisation that can provide quality services of highest standards to automobile users in Tanzania. Presently, it is providing services to many international clients, embassies, corporate institutions and a few individuals who have understood the cost-effectiveness of their services.

The company maintains a modern showroom and workshop facility in Dar es Salaam, offering a comprehensive range of automotive related services to discerning customers. Currently, NML is in process of building another state-of-art showroom and service centre in Tanzania to meet customer needs and increased products. Since 2009, the government of Tanzania has been making considerable efforts to mobilise the private sector to engage in strategic agricultural investment and production as provided for in Resolution 4 of 'Kilimo Kwanza' Initiative.

There are positive responses to show how the private sector welcomed the idea. Some private companies have decided to invest in agricultural production or in the importation and distribution of agricultural implements and inputs. The sector of agriculture accounts for about half of the national income, three quarters of exports and is the source of food and provides employment opportunities to about 80 per cent of Tanzanians.

It contributes 26.7 per cent of the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP), 30 per cent of exports and 65 per cent of raw materials for Tanzanian industries. Agriculture has therefore the highest multiplier effect on the economy. Revolutionising it implies utilising modern farm implements to improve production and eradicate poverty.

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