Mr Peter Anarfi Mensah, the Kumasi Regional Minister, has inaugurated the Kumasi showroom of the West Africa Agro-Tech Company Limited (WAATCO) aimed at promoting ‘solanika’ tractors and implements, green generating sets, pumps and engines from India.
It is hoped that the tractors will significantly bridge the farmer to tractor ratio, lead to increased production and increase income levels of farmers.
The Minister noted that WAATCO Limited has adequate plans to deploy innovative mechanisms to ensure total satisfaction of potential owners of these machinery and equipment with its strong after sales services, availability of spare parts, planned all the year round services and effective and efficient maintenance.
He expressed the hope that the company would build local capacity for field technicians, mechanics and operators and to create employment opportunities for the youth.
The Minister’s said the country’s agricultural mechanization policy seeks to make available agricultural machinery and equipment to all categories of the farmers to enhance production of food and agricultural raw materials
He said government has embarked upon a number of programmes aimed at accelerating agricultural development and that efforts have been made to attract and sustain private sector investment and involvement in the agriculture sector.
Mr Mensah said “the private sector is expected to play a role in complementing government efforts at promoting intensive mechanization and to make agricultural production attractive, especially to the youth”.
He said government has taken some initiatives to promote public private partnerships in the sector, and that the gesture is in fulfillment of government pledge to enhance agricultural production and productivity.
Mr Patel Akoliya, Executive Chairman, Balaji Group of Companies, said in pursuit of the company’s vision of development through Agriculture and goal of providing total agriculture solution, they have introduced the high performing, rugged, user friendly and easy to maintain ‘sonalika’ brand of tractors.
He said the brand comes in range from 20 HP to 120 HP and with variants of two wheel drive, four wheel drive, with and without canopy.
Mr Akoliya said ‘sonalika’ farm implements range from traditional disc plough, disc harrow, cultivators, rotavator to improvised tipping trailer, MB Plough, power harrow, ridgers, planters for rice.
He said the products are among top brands of the Indian market and are used in over 100 countries across the world.
“WAATCO has a philosophy of ensuring value for investment for all its customers. We believe in ensuring availability of trained service advisors, authorized service personnel, plan and forecasting availability of spare-parts on demand prior to embarking on sales”, Mr Akoliya said.
He said the ecological systems in India are very similar to Ghana and that if Ghana is able to adopt an efficient mechanization driven agriculture, the country will not only be self-sufficient in food production but could be a net exporter of agriculture produce.
Mr Akoliya said the company plans to open eight more showrooms making a total of ten adding that the five year plan of WAATCO is to deliver and assemble 5,000 tractors in the country and have an assembling plant to manufacture some components of tractors in the country.
“WAATCO will train Ghanaians locally and also give job opportunities to the youth in various fields of technology and service to help farmers across the country”.
Mr Akoliya said the company intends to launch mobile service vans for tractors and generators, which will move across the country to offer after sales service, repairs and maintenance to farmers.
“We will provide service on site like in farms. This we believe will guarantee the lifespan of tractors and also reduce the long distances farmers have to travel to seek spare parts and technical support in some cases”.
The company’s current plan of investment is 20 million dollars and intends to invest 200 million dollars in the next five years.