Africa covers an area around 3.5 times larger than that of Europe and is already home to over a billion people – and this number is growing by 20 million a year. Valtra is doing its part to help mechanise African agriculture and feed the growing population.
While most people associate Valtra with Finland and Brazil, it is also a long-established brand in Africa. There was even an assembly plant in Kibaha, Tanzania, from 1983 to 1989, supplying thousands of tractors to Tanzania and other parts of East Africa. In recent years Valtra has been one of the most popular tractor brands in the 176 to 250 horsepower class, commanding a market share of over 20 percent.
“The population in Africa is growing rapidly, yet the mechanisation of agriculture is still only just getting started. Valtra already has a strong position in Africa, but there is still lots of room for growth,” says Mikko Lehikoinen, Marketing Director at Valtra.
Within the EAME region – Europe, Africa and the Middle East – Turkey currently accounts for the highest volume of annual sales at around 60,000 units, Africa accounts for sales of around 35,000 units, while France and Germany each account for around 30,000 units. Although the tractors sold in France and Germany are on average more expensive models than those sold in Africa, the demand for tractors throughout Africa is growing faster.
Service network expanding rapidly
”Currently Valtra has a sales network in 13 African countries, but this will be further expanded considerably this year. AGCO is investing heavily in growth in Africa. Traditionally, most Valtra customers in Africa have been large commercial farms that have purchased large T and S Series tractors, but we can now offer a growing range of smaller models, as well as harvesters, generators and implements. This will allow us to serve an entirely new customer segment,” Lehikoinen explains.
Already several dozen Valtra harvesters have been delivered from Brazil to Senegal and deliveries of AGCO Power generators will commence this spring. For the most part new tractor models will be supplied by the Valtra factory in Brazil, but European Valtras will also continue to be offered.
“Our model line-up in Brazil has been designed for the similar conditions that exist in Africa, so it is natural for us to offer these to customers there. Additionally, currency exchange rates at the moment are making our Brazilian tractors extremely competitive in Africa. Emissions regulations are already in place in South Africa, Morocco and Algeria, but they are also being introduced in other African countries. Naturally, our product range has to take these into consideration,” Lehikoinen adds.
288 tractors for Ghana
Valtra will continue to grow rapidly in Africa in 2016. Valtra’s order book already contains around 400 orders, which is more than was delivered during the whole of last year.
Last winter, for example, Valtra received orders for 288 Brazilian-made A750 tractors to be delivered to Ghana. These tractors are being financed in part by the More Food Program, in which Brazil is lending funds to African countries to help mechanise agriculture.
Valtra’s expansion in the African markets is being further supported by AGCO, which has opened a parts warehouse in Johannesburg, another in Istanbul to serve North Africa, and a model farm in Zambia to train farmers and dealers. Due to the long distances in Africa, a strong network of maintenance and spare parts services is vital. Since the mechanisation of agriculture is still in its early stages, basic training is also required for sales people, service technicians and customers.