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Tata moves in on agriculture

An employee of newcomer Tata walks in front of a Farmtrac tractor at the company’s showroom in Phnom Penh
An employee of newcomer Tata walks in front of a Farmtrac tractor at the company’s showroom in Phnom Penh. PHA LINA

Tata moves in on agriculture

India-based Tata International Ltd announced yesterday that it would import and distribute its Farmtrac Tractors in Cambodia to profit from the country’s growing agricultural sector.

Speaking at the launching ceremony at the Koh Pich exhibition centre, Jitendra Manghinani, country manager of Tata South East Asia (Cambodia), said Cambodia is looking at a large agricultural machinery market in the next four or five years, which shaped his decision to set up operations in the sector.

“It is the best opportunity to bring [tractors] to Cambodia,” Manghinani said. “What we are trying to do is to become the most considered brand in Cambodia in the next three or four years.”

Tata International is the global trading and distribution company of Tata Group, a multinational conglomerate headquartered in Mumbai.

Local arm Tata South East Asia (Cambodia) will have a showroom to display and distribute Farmtrac tractors on National Road 6A, about three kilometres from the Cambodia-Japanese Friendship Bridge.

Four kinds of tractors will go on the market, ranging from 50 to 80 horsepower. Prices start at $22,300 and go as high as $32,600.

The need for agricultural machinery largely coincides with the amount of land for cassava, paddy and corn cultivation because the crops are often grown on large fields where tractors are widely used.

According to the statistics department at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, the total cultivated area of paddy fields was 2.9 million hectares last year, a slight increase from 2.8 million hectares in 2011. In 2012, the total land for corn cultivation reached 215,000 hectares, while cassava was planted on 337,000 hectares.

Cambodia imported some 40,000 units of tractors in 2010, according to the most recent government data. A year later, 44,000 units arrived, while the number decreased slightly to around 36,300 in 2012.

Teng Lao, secretary of state of the Ministry of Agriculture, welcomed the new importer, saying that he hopes it will contribute to increased agricultural production in Cambodia, especially at a time of rising migration to cities.

“Modernisation in the agricultural sector is playing a very important role these days as it helps to substitute the shortage of labour in the agricultural sector in rural areas,” Lao said.

Agricultural machinery brands from the US, Japan and Belarus operate in Cambodia.

Heng Than, sales manager for American brand John Deere, said he wasn't threatened by the arrival of a new player.

“We don’t think it will seriously impact our business,” he said.

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