Lessons from the Past: A Growing Demand for Mechanisation
Sub-Saharan Africa has been characterised by persistent low levels of mechanisation (as little as 1.3 tractors in use per 1,000 hectares) and the past incident that occured in Ghana is an example of this:
During the 1960s and 1980s in Ghana, the government imported a total of 10,000 tractors, however due to a considerable lack of qualified technicians, operators and fuel, the vast majority of these machines were abandoned and stripped for a steady supply of parts.
This state-led mechanisation effort was considered to be a miserable failure, however the demand for mechanisation is increasing again in many African countries. This demand, recognised by the private sector and development cooperation has spurred governments into launching corresponding programmes.
A successful example of state-led mechanisation can be found in Ethiopia; the Oromia Regional Government recently launched an initiative to positively impact communities through mechanisation, and handed 950 John Deere tractors to independent entrepreneurial contractors who will support over 6,000 farmers in the region, creating jobs, increasing food security and capacity building in the area.
Aftermarket Care & Service
We pride ourselves on our aftermarket care and service. Our belief is that comprehensive support in this area is what new era farmers - farmers who are relatively new to the agricultural industry and who don’t yet fully understand the majority of the equipment - require.
John Deere wants to give new era farmers the support of our team and the aid of our technical employees, should they need it. As a farmer, you want your equipment to be maintained and running at optimum condition to ensure that there is minimal downtime during planting and harvesting seasons. John Deere understands that everything is time based and our goal is to offer peace of mind by keeping that downtime to a minimum when farmers are utilising our products.
Furthermore, buyer’s of John Deere equipment are covered through an extensive warranty, giving you further assurance.
Capacity and Dealership Networks
The John Deere dealership footprint has become one of the largest in Africa, with over 218 dealer touchpoints. Despite this expansive scale, our focus has and always will be on fostering a genuine working relationship with our clients that spans across generations.
Our dealership network will also play an integral part in the S.M.A.R.T programme, by assisting new era farmers at every step of the journey; even in our commitment to speedy parts distribution to minimise downtime, a liability that our new era farmers cannot afford when scaling up their new operations.
John Deere keeps a detailed database of all our clients, the sole purpose of which is to assist in the growth of our clients and their agricultural operations. This history of collected information is useful in the event of equipment challenges, or even in situations where clients are considering upscaling their operations. By tracking the progress of our client operations, we are able to foresee potential pitfalls or opportunities and then provide professional guidance should it be necessary.
We also make productive use of this information to continually improve our service across the country, in South Africa, Africa and the Middle East.
SMART Model Provisions for Contractor Suppliers
We understand that small-scale farmers with farming operations that span 20 to 40 hectares of land cannot justify the cost of purchasing a tractor.
Our solution to this problem, as per the Ethiopian example above, is the training and equipping of a capable contractor, who can then provide assistance to small-scale farmers at an affordable cost. This solution also provides several additional benefits by improving the quality of land owned by this small-scale farmer and simultaneously stimulating job creation by upskilling and offering potential employment to the contractor.
The resulting effect of this system is the establishment of an entire agricultural community. John Deere wants to promote this model and roll it out into different areas, such as the Eastern Cape for example.
As a collective in the agricultural industry, John Deere wants to ensure that they can effectively implement this system to stimulate the growth of new era farmers and their small-scale agricultural operations, while also promoting job creation in the process.
For more information on the John Deere S.M.A.R.T model, look out for our next article where we will be discussing A - “Access to Finance”.