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:
- 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.
- Preconditioned tractors. These are tractors that were faulty and have had to be ‘opened up’. They are repaired, repainted, and visibly new.
- Tractor parts are also imported into the country from disparate places before being assembled.
- 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