Technology diffusion is a buzzword not limited to Cambodia’s financial sector alone. Now, even local farmers are attempting to ride the technology wave and experiment farm mechanisation to improve their livelihoods.
Home-grown Kong Nuon Group is taking technology to a different level in the Kingdom, especially in the agriculture sector, which remains a mainstay for thousands of Cambodian workers.
By selling sophisticated tractors to rural farmers, it is trying to raise farm productivity and transform the farm sector, which could eventually improve their socio-economic status and even plug the increasing labour scarcity in the agriculture sector due to rural-urban migration.
Yanmar Co., Ltd. unveiled its latest YM tractor in Bangkok, Thailand on January 29 – a multi-purpose machine that can function in wet paddy fields as well as in dry corn or sugarcane fields – hailed as a “game changer” tool for farmers .
Kong Nuon is the sole distributor for Yanmar machinery in Cambodia.
The YM351A (51 hp) and YM357A (57hp) models are no ordinary machines. Fitted with SmartAssist Remote, the tractors are able to feed real time simplified information to farmers who can then read on their smart phones.
And, the tractor comes with a powerful and efficient Yanmar direct-injection TNV (total new value) diesel engine that offers high power with low fuel consumption and super durability.
“It is a new game changer, [the new models] come with lots of features. A tractor is an important tool for a farmer,” Bunnath Pha, executive director of Kong Nuon Group (Machinery Group) told The Post.
He added: “The demand for tractors is growing between 10 per cent and 20 per cent every year due to shortage of labour in rural areas, and the demand for cows and buffaloes are also dropping.”
The SmartAssist Remote transmits detailed information to farmers about the status of their tractors via satellite and the data is then transmitted to Kong Nuon’s office in Phnom Penh, and to Yanmar’s headquarters in Japan simultaneously.
A farmer will be informed of any malfunction in his machine, the tractor’s exact location or if it is due for maintenance – all this information will appear on a mobile phone application.
“Using SR (SmartAssist Remote) will help to improve productivity in the agriculture sector, a farmer can monitor the movement of his tractor, whether someone is trying to steal the machine or an operator trying to steal fuel.
“It will send a message to say it is time to service the tractor or change the [black] oil and SR can also calculate the number of hectares that has been ploughed [on a particular day],” added Bunnath.
Kong Nuon plans to carry out a pilot project by introducing the latest models across the Kingdom in March, in order to test if local farmers are able to manage the new tractors.
“In March we will carry out a durability test for about 600 to 1,000 hours for three months and send the feedback to our R&D [research and development] department in Japan. In August we will start importing the tractors and we target to sell about 200 units in the first year,” said Bunnath.
The Osaka-based Yanmar plans to promote the YM model in the Southeast Asian market progressively and the new edition will form the backbone of Yanmar’s tractor lineup in the region.
“The YM tractor will help famers to save cost, increase productivity, [it is] more comfortable and easier to monitor their farms with SAR technology which is consistent to digital transformation.
“With the entry of the YM into the burgeoning Southeast Asia tractor market, Yanmar is poised to deliver 21st century agriculture towards improving lifestyles and delivering value to the region’s farmers,” Yanmar’s Agribusiness Corporation President Hiroaki Kitaoka said in a statement after the launch in Bangkok.