Farm machinery maker John Deere will this year start leasing tractors to Kenyan farmer groups in an effort to enhance mechanised farming.
East and Central Africa divisional sales manager Janalize van Buuren said the contractor tractor leasing model will see smallholder farmers encouraged to form clusters of between 20 to 30 farmers.
“The typical smallholder does not have money to buy a tractor and this is the biggest obstacle to smallholder farmers wanting to adopt mechanised farming...,” he said.
A director at Mascor — John Deere’s dealer in Kenya — Francois Marais said it had established 11 remote service centres that will facilitate the partnership via provision of spare parts and servicing of the tractors.
“The contractor model allows smallholder farmers to solve the problem of access to expensive mechanisation equipment and provide employment that is a key mover to the economies of rural communities,” said Mr Marais.
The partnership will see John Deere facilitate access to funding for farmers to buy farm inputs and train them on the best practices.