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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - KN capitalizes on Cambodia’s existing preference for Yanmar machinery

Long before KN become the exclusive, official importer for Yanmar machinery Cambodian farmers knew and valued the brand because the equipment was already available on the grey market
Long before KN become the exclusive, official importer for Yanmar machinery Cambodian farmers knew and valued the brand because the equipment was already available on the grey market. Photo supplied

KN capitalizes on Cambodia’s existing preference for Yanmar machinery

As more Cambodian famers choose to use agricultural machinery for farming, traditional farming using cattle is becoming a thing of the past. This new trend towards mechanization helps increase the production and investments in agricultural machinery.

For many years, Kong Nuon Group (KN) has been one of the biggest local companies that have invested in general machinery. In 2010, the company decided to start importing agricultural machinery such as tractors after conducting a study on market demand and revenue potential, said Chea Virak, general manager of KN.

Chea further explained that KN wanted to see farming using cattle replaced by modern technology, since it was smarter, easier, faster and increased productivity.

Keo Phannara, section manager for Yanmar in KN, told Post Plus that Yanmar machinery imported from Japan received a lot of support from many Cambodian customers because of its high quality.

The numbers seem to speak for themselves. Over the course of merely one year, KN’s Yanmar business has expanded into 16 provinces in the Kingdom where roughly 80 per cent of the population make a living in agriculture.

“Our company has exclusive rights to import Yanmar machineries from Japan, including tri-wheels tractors, pumping machines and many other tractors for plowing, harrowing and bulldozing,” Virak said and added: “Many farmers acknowledge its quality, resistance, strength, easiness in using and fuel-economy”.

According to Phannara, tractor and tri-wheel tractor sales went up by 45 per cent in the first quarter of 2015 compared to the same period a year earlier. Based on this estimation, KN’s newest business unit may well grow by 100 per cent in the current financial year.

Before KN became the official importer, however, Cambodian farmers had already used Yanmar machines for many years because it was available on Cambodia’s unregulated grey market.

Capitalizing on the demand for spare parts created through the grey market, KN imports spare parts for all kinds of Yanmar-brand machines, as well as brand new equipment.

“We have expert mechanics for Yanmar machinery at all our branches to help provide consultation services on how to use, maintain and repair [machinery]. Our service is fast because we do not want our customers to waste time in their daily work,”
Phannara said and added that generally, KN provided a one-year guarantee for tractors and tri-wheel tractors. However, based on experience, first fixes only became necessary after a much longer time.

“[Customers] experience the strength and usefullness of Yanmar machines, spread by word of mouth. Some of our customers chose Yanmar after their relatives or friends told them about the advantages,” Phannara said.

In another attempt to satisfy growing customer demand, KN will make Yanmar-brand rice mills available later in 2015.

Japanese Yanmar farming equipment is popular among farmers due to its durability and reliability
Japanese Yanmar farming equipment is popular among farmers due to its durability and reliability. Photo supplied

“Furthermore, the company has been importing Hitachi brand heavy machinery for bulldozing and digging pond, big irregation and construction sites,” Phannara said.

Nowadays, many Cambodian farmers are turning away from using old methods and tools to utilizing modern machines to meet the market demand.

Traditionally, 10 to 12 people and 20 to 24 animals ploughed the rice fields and spent five to eight hours per hectare, according to company statistics. However, a farmer using a Yanmar tractor, for example, could easily plough a three-hectare rice field in eight hours, Virak said.

“Currently, it costs $35 for one person and one tractor to plough a one-hectare rice field,” Virak said. “After spending two and a half hours and $35 on expenses for gasoline, workforce fees and other spendings, such as oil and food, farmers can gain a net profit of 60 per cent, translating to about $20 per hectare.”

In order to make it easy for all farmers, KN and Yanmar Finance has allowed “customers to purchase Yanmar tractors and tillers through installment payments over the course of three to four years and requires customers to pay 20 per cent down payment for each product,”Vireak said. “The interest rate is the lowest one, with an easy condition, allowing them to be tractor owners in one to three years.”

The 16 KN branches have Yanmar tractors containing 35 to 49 horse power. Yanmar EF49T tractor is priced at $22,900. As for additional accessories, a plough is $1,600, a loader is $2,000 and rotary cultivator is $2,000. A Yanmar ST-A1 tiller ranges from $2150 to $2650. The life span of Yanmar tractors and tillers range from 15 to 25 years, depending on geography and climate in Cambodia, according to the analysis from a group of experts from Yanmar machinery.

For more information contact: Building 291, Street Tep Phan (No. 182), Tel: 023 888 806

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