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Tractor solves costs puzzle to smallholders

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Joshua Mwendo tries the Yuavra 125 tractor. This Yuvra is cost effective for small-holders who cannot use the walking tractor. Photo by Laban Robert.

In meeting the growing local mechanisation demand, Indian manufacture, Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd, has introduced an affordable four-wheel mini tractor for smallholder farmers in the country.

Various machinery suppliers have introduced two-wheel tractors for small-holder farmers, but the uptake has been limited.

The vibrations generated while pulling or pushing the two-wheel tractor discourages more other farmers, factor that may have informed the modification of low-fuel consuming four-wheel tractor by Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology last year.

The Yuvra 215 tractor requires about three litres of diesel to till one acre, Joshua Mwendo, a technician at the Nairobi branch said. That is about Sh300 in the cost of fuel.

“Technology is moving into small-scale farming. A farmer who cannot afford the giant tractors must be taken care of. For those who cannot use the walking tractor, this is a mini-machine for them to do their errands towards increasing productivity,” he said.

The 15 horse power machine allows for attachment of various implements for diverse functions.  Apart from ploughing, Yuvra can also spray, lawn-mow, sow, haul, among other functions.

Food and Agriculture Organisation states that if farmers include machinery, they can bring more than four times more land under cultivation and increase production by more than 40 per cent per acre.

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 The cost of the machines is usually unreachable for most small-holders, who may not have resources to invest in the machines.

Others may not be willing to invest in big machines when their lands under cultivation are limited.

It can pull loads of up to 1.5 tonnes.

The cost of two-wheel tractors ranges from Sh100,000 to Sh200,000, depending in the make and the number of attached implements. The Yuvra215 tractor costs about Sh700,000.

Large scale tractors cost more than Sh2.5 million, depending on the horse power.

Mwendo can be reached on +254716281801

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