EXPANSION: FARM EQUIPMENT RENTING PLATFORM OPENS A NEW BRANCH IN NTULELE NAROK

In its quest to ease access to farm equipment and boost agricultural productivity, Regional Leasing Firm, Vehicle And Equipment Leasing Limited (VAELL) agricultural arm dubbed TingA Rental Store has opened a new branch in Ntulele Narok County at a cost of Kshs. 400 million in the first phase as it strengthens its regional presence in line with its expansion plan announced early in the year 2020 just before Covid-19 ravaged the world economy. The new branch will strengthen its agricultural mechanization and farmers’ training and empowerment in Narok County where it has already set up two other hubs in Narok town and the Oloikirikirai-Mau region. The firm’s other branches in Kenya are located in Nairobi, Kisumu, Mombasa, Kajiado, and Nakuru among other counties.  

VAELL Group launched its tractor sharing platform in Kenya in the last quarter of 2015 and has been vital in helping to boost productivity and curbing post-harvest losses in various parts of Kenya through their mechanization services and farmers’ training which have seen a 300% increase in harvests and 90% decrease in postharvest losses. Its mechanization efforts in Kenya have proved to be a success triggering the firm to replicate the model in Tanzania, after which it plans to cascade it to other countries including Zambia and DRC. They adopted an expansion strategy that involves a combination of the establishment of agricultural hubs, strategic partnerships, and diversification of service variety leveraging on technology to meet growing clients’ needs.

“We are moving closer to the clients. They will no longer have to travel to distant hubs to access our services and equipment. Our sole aim remains to reduce the cost of doing business in Africa by providing quality and exceptional services backed by an experienced maintenance team to enhance customer satisfaction,” said Fredrick Kipukel, the firm’s Ntulele Branch Manager. 

Research shows that due to a lack of access to modern farm implements, most farmers in the region use outdated farming methods and therefore deterring them from getting proper returns on their investments. With this support, we anticipate that farmers’ harvests will increase and improve their living standards.

Speaking while receiving new agricultural equipment at the firm’s newest branch, TingA’s Potato Manager, Consolata Wachira, said, “Small-scale farmers have limited access to specialized agricultural implements such as Air seeders, Harrows, Chisel plough and Cultivators. Keeping in mind that they have limited financial resources they are unable to even purchase their own tractors. As a matter of fact, we are providing a platform where they can access these machines communally which is cheaper and very convenient. With these farm equipment, there have improved the quality of produce by a 300% margin and a reduction in post-harvest losses by a 90% margin. Our goal is to reach as many farmers as possible because they are the primary stakeholders in the Kenyan economy.”

This comes after the farm equipment renter identified with scores of farmers who have arable land but lack proper knowledge, resources, and market to sell their produce had opted to leave the land dormant. These farmers have been trained, supported to make good use of their farms, and even helped to sell their produce by linking them with offtakes. Thousands of farmers who have signed up for their services and through referrals attracted even more.

To make this initiative effective the farm equipment renter and its partners are grouping farmers together as it trains them to enhance their economic strengths and market linkages to improve their income with the most recent one being in Oloikirikirai, Narok County.

The firm uses cutting-edge technologies to give farmers access to farm mechanization. One of these is its web-based platforms and mobile app dubbed E-TingA, which allow farmers to register and order services as groups or individuals online. The app has an easy-to-use interface with a variety of options to suit all the farmers’ needs. Due to its user-friendliness, farmers can rent farm equipment in the comfort of their homes.

“As residents of Ntulele, we are pleased to have the mechanization experts around. We are excited to access their services and equipment, which have been brought closer to us, and we expect to improve our farm productivity and have sustainable living standards with the help of TingA,” said Reuben Salaon, a farmer in Ntulele.

Due to its various innovations the firm has been honored in the Key Industry Leadership recognition program dubbed Pacesetters Awards Kenya organized by Jubilant Stewards of Africa (JSA), a Non-Governmental Organization dedicated to the improvement of living standards, social ethics, dignity, and empowerment of communities. The firm is currently constructing warehouses and storage hubs for farmers in the second phase of this expansion. The firm in conjunction with European Union through Agrifi Project is constructing a state-of-the-art warehouse in Narok to support farmers from that region. This will save farmers from losses caused by weevils and natural produce spoilage. The construction of facilities such as cold storage in the area will enable farmers to delay the sale of their crops such as potatoes for up to four months thereby helping them withhold harvest and wait for prices to rise.  

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