Polaris NAMPO 2017

Agriculture important for economic growth

The continued economic growth of agricultural exhibition Nampo Harvest Day, in the Free State, reflects the importance of agriculture to the economic growth of South Africa, says equipment supplier Smith Power Equipment (SPE) Polaris and Linhai product range national sales manager Mark Chittenden.

Mark Chittenden - National Sales Manager for Polaris and Linhai
Mark Chittenden – National Sales Manager for Polaris and Linhai

Having attended the show for the past 16 years, he notes that every year, SPE showcases new products at the show in order to reach a broader customer base. “This year, we will be relaunching the Linhai range as some of the products have been revised. We will also have new models on our Polaris stand as well as have a new tractor from equipment manufacturer Kubota and the 8 t KX080-3 Kubota excavator.

Robert Keir
Robert Keir

SPE marketing manager Robert Keir explains that the Nampo Harvest Day show brings the agricultural industry – which includes importers, dealers and customers – to one place. The show offers an array of products and insights for farmers to make the best informed investments for their operations.

We’ve identified agriculture as a key market for SPE, since every farmer needs the right tools to do their work effectively and from a financial perspective, mechanisation is vital in running a farm more efficiently,” he says.

Keir points out that Nampo Harvest Day is the ideal event at which to launch new products to the agricultural sector. New products from SPE, like the Kubota compact excavator KX080-3S, which has been launched this year, boost mechanisation of agriculture in South Africa and fuel competition in the market.

KX080
Kubota KX080 – 8t Compact Excavator.

Chittenden explains that from Linhai, the relaunching of the all-terrain vehicles such as the 300 and 400 4 x 4 models will fill the stand while the diesel powered Linhai 800 side-by-side with a bench seat and steel bin will be demonstrated at the new agricultural track.

At the Polaris stand, there will be two new vehicles launched as well, the Polaris Ranger 570 and the Polaris Ranger 570 Crew.

Ranger 570 Crew
Ranger 570 Crew

Industry Challenges

Chittenden points out that the most successful year that SPE has had was in 2015, before the market slowed down as a result of the drought that hit South Africa last year.

The drought last year made trading conditions very challenging and as an industry, we have lost momentum,” he says.

However, Keir explains that SPE is positive about the outcomes this year as the company has already observed some positive trends in the market; the Rand is strengthening slightly and customers of the company are spending more strategically than before.

Even though we see disparate weather patterns and rainfall in different provinces, with the Western Cape still navigating a bad drought, it is encouraging that we have had good rains in the northern regions and that the crops are yielding,” he notes.

Creative fiscal offerings such as “off balance sheet funding” are important in this climate. With SPE having been accredited at all of the banking institutions in South Africa, the company can make deals that are aimed at assisting its clients. He points out that this type of approach to asset finance comes with benefits to the farmer, such as not having to lay out any initial capital, which helps with essential cash flow.

Further, lease payments on the equipment are fully tax deductible and VAT is paid on a monthly basis. Tailormade finance like this can mean the difference between the disappearance and survival of the farmer,” Keir explains.

Some of the topics being discussed at the show, such as greater agricultural mechanisation, the impact of emissions on the environment, product-buyer connections and financial solutions in the sector are of interest to SPE, he says, SPE specialists will participate in key discussions on these matters.

Chittenden concludes that because the Nampo Harvest Day show is an agricultural show, SPE will be focusing on the Kubota tractors and that the other brands from the company will be there to support a full product line-up. “This year has started off looking promising and we believe it will be better than last year”.

Download the official NAMPO 2017 press release. [Download].

This article was featured on the Engineering News website. [click here]. This article also appeared in the Engineering News – May 2017 edition.

This article was featured in Capital Equipment News – June 2017.

You can contact Mr. Mark Chittenden on 011 284 2037 or mchittenden@smithpower.co.za.

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