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How to get your hands on affordable second hand EU tractors

Tractor imports
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By George Munene

A com­puter op­er­a­tions su­per­visor by pro­fes­sion, Peter Mu­sakali has cut a niche for him­self within the ag­ri­cul­ture space in help­ing farm­ers source for and ac­quire European second-hand tract­ors and ag­ri­cul­tural equip­ment which are less than half the cost of newly bought tract­ors. 

“A new tractor bought from a dealer in Kenya costs about Sh3.5M; this puts mech­an­ised farm­ing out of the reach of most of our farm­ers. An im­por­ted second-hand tractor costs between Sh 1.1 and 1.3M, mak­ing it pree­m­in­ently more af­ford­able to farm­ers,” he il­lu­min­ated. 

Ac­cord­ing to the Malabo Mont­pel­lier Panel in a re­port titled Mech­an­ised – Trans­form­ing Africa’s Ag­ri­cul­ture Value Chains, des­pite ac­count­ing for 60 per cent of the world total un­used ar­able land and the most fa­vour­able cli­mate for farm­ing, Africa is the re­gion with the least mech­an­ised ag­ri­cul­tural sys­tem in the world… African farm­ers hav­ing ten times fewer mech­an­ised tools per farm area than farm­ers in other de­vel­op­ing re­gions. Af­ford­ab­il­ity was cited as the main reason for this short­fall.

Hav­ing been in what he de­scribes as his side hustle since 2007, he helps 6-10 farm­ers ac­quire their exact pick of Ex-UK tract­ors every month.

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Mu­sakali cau­tions farm­ers who are look­ing to ac­quire tract­ors from out­side the coun­try not to be taken in by good-look­ing pic­tures on­line. “You have to build work­ing re­la­tion­ships and con­duct thor­ough due di­li­gence,” he cau­tioned. 

He sits at a unique vant­age point to do this; “through es­tab­lished con­tacts across Europe I have ac­cess to sellers and people I’ve worked with for years who ex­am­ine the agri-ma­chinery be­fore pur­chase to verify that everything is in good work­ing order and as­cer­tain that the pic­tures I have match what is on the ground, ex­plained Peter. 

At least once every he also vis­its Europe to col­lect the ref­er­ences of farm­ers that may be look­ing to dis­pose of their tract­ors.

He coun­sels farm­ers look­ing to buy im­por­ted tract­ors need to be cog­niz­ant of four cat­egor­ies the tract­ors come in: 

  1. Stand­ard farm used tract­ors which he deals with are bought worn but in the exact state, they were in off the as­sembly line. They have never been ‘opened up’ or re­paired. 
  1. Pre­con­di­tioned tract­ors. These are tract­ors that were faulty and have had to be ‘opened up’. They are re­paired, re­painted, and vis­ibly new. 
  1. Tractor parts are also im­por­ted into the coun­try from dis­par­ate places be­fore being as­sembled.
  1. Lastly, there’s the farm used tract­ors.

Being ag­ri­cul­tural equip­ment, tract­ors are only charged a 14% VAT and ex­empt from both cus­toms and ex­cise duty.

Older tract­ors also come with gen­er­at­ors which were re­placed with al­tern­at­ors in the 1990s. While gen­er­at­ors can still power the ma­chine, al­tern­at­ors are more ef­fi­cient and easier to fix. An al­tern­ator costs about Sh4,500.

Peter ex­clus­ively deals in John Dear, Ford and Mas­sey Fer­guson tract­ors. These are the trus­ted brand names farm­ers seek out.

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Their man­u­fac­ture dates range from between 1960 to early 80s. This is also a factor of mar­ket de­mand; “Kenyan farm­ers are still wed­ded to an­cient tract­ors–older ma­chines are dur­able and farm­ers trust the brand mod­els they grew up see­ing till their farms,” he said.

Most of these tract­ors he poin­ted out have been over­taken with time and would not meet cur­rent European man­u­fac­tur­ing stand­ards. ” Kenyan farm­ers are however ap­pre­hens­ive about buy­ing semi-auto­matic tract­ors or even ones with gear sticks on the steer­ing wheel or to the side. Get­ting them to move off the ‘tried and tested’ is not an easy feat, Peter lamen­ted.”

With time however he hopes to see a steady march of farm­ers seek­ing out more mod­ern tract­ors; “There was a time you could not get any­one to buy an auto­matic car, now you would struggle to find one stocked in a show­room,” he said.     

Peter Mu­sakali: 0722701981/ 0752701981

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