ESCORTS – AFRICA’S AGRI-PARTNER OF CHOICE
Mr Rajiv Wahi, in an interaction with The Times of Africa, discusses how Escorts’ affordable mechanization solutions will bring long-term sustainable benefits for the African governments and the four pillars that will catalyse this transformation. Excerpts:
Q. Progress in agricultural mechanization in much of Africa is gaining momentum. In which African countries are you most likely to set foot for expansion?
A. Food security is a uniform challenge. We are keen to partner in all markets having the potential to develop agriculture. Our focus is to build long-term relation and cooperation with the entire African continent and partner in its growth story. Setting footprints is a result of long-term engagement and commitment to Africa.
Food security remains a major challenge for coming generations. Rising population and rapid movement of population from rural to urban areas put further stress on increasing farm productivity. With our range of appropriate and affordable mechanization solutions, we are looking to be the partner of choice for the African farmers.
Q. Cost of tractors in India is the cheapest in the world. Apart from the cost, what other advantages will give your company an edge over your competitors?
A. We, at Escorts, have been positioning our self as AFRICA’S AGRI-PARTNER of choice. This is an initiative to support the agricultural landscape in Africa and help transform farmer’s lives with technology and know-how. This initiative of ours will focus on four pillars for the upliftment of the agriculture scenario in India. These initiatives are:
- Capacity building
- Crop solutions
- Empowering farmers with training
- Establishing regional assembly and distribution hubs
Our heritage of partnering with governments gives us the skills to create an umbrella of services for the farmer. Our services and technology are backed with collaboration with leaders like Porsche Design and Ferrari. Powered by proven world-class technology, Escorts R&D has fine-tuned the tractors to offer reliability, high performance, durability for African conditions at highly competitive costs.
Escorts has two brands under Farmtrac and Powertrac, offering the complete range from 12 to 110 HP tractors in Compact, Utility, Narrow and High Horse Power segments. These are backed with an extensive range of Farmpower branded implements and attachments.
Q. Given its potential role in agriculture development, mechanization needs to be given higher priority by African governments and development agencies. What kind of policy intervention would you like to see to facilitate access into the markets of Africa?
A. Africa requires a long-term perspective and strategies. African governments require inculcation of farm mechanization and rapid development. Introduction of right products for precision farming, better yield per hectare, right implements etc. is the need of the hour. Rapid farm mechanization will enable this transformation.
Agriculture has long-term sustainable benefits. African government should focus on developing above the soil, rather than only under the soil.
Q. With mechanization strategies initially being focused on small and medium scale enterprises, what are the options available for small scale farmers and entrepreneurs involved in agro-processing?
A. African farmers are some of the hardest working people living in remote places with limited access to resources. The small-holding farmers need support in farm inputs, training, skill and technology for better yield and higher productivity. They require adequate resources and technology for better crops, increased farm income and creating a path out of poverty and chartering a better life, on a sustainable basis.
As they say, it’s better to teach a hungry person how to catch fish, rather than give them a free fish, as with the skill he can feed himself and his family on a sustainable basis.