NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 21 – Power tools manufacture STIHL East Africa has embarked on Agriculture mechanisation training for farmers in Kenya.

The training dubbed ‘Fanya Hesabu Za Power’ is aimed at helping smallholder farmers increase productivity by reducing costs, time and energy through mechanisation.

STIHL East Africa Managing Director Francois Marais says the training targets various regions that include Central, Rift valley, Western, Easter, Nyanza and  the Coastal region.

“An African woman with hoe in hand is the default symbol of agriculture in Kenya, Women grow 70 percent of Africa’s food on smallholder farms, a task anchored by physical labour. Now, with Africa’s population expected to double by 2050, the continent must ditch the hoe in favour of modern technology, which will complete the same tasks far more efficiently,” Marais said during the launch of the training.

He said without mechanized agriculture, productivity suffers drastically, lowering farmers’ earnings hence a transformation from small-scale subsistence farms to mechanised, more commercially viable farms is essential.

“The training will be done through our dealership network across the counties as well as through local media channels. Technologies to achieve Africa’s green revolution are paramount and we must scale up efforts to  reach millions of farmers with the gospel,” he added.

The move comes as the firm recently launched new products in the market designed to enable smallholder farmers to adopt mechanisation in their farms in a bid to increase their productivity and income. The range of products available in the East African  market include  tillers, water pumps,  brush cutters, tea pruners, special harvesters as well as earth augers among other handheld tools, made specially for East Africa smallholder farmers.

East Africa  is dominated by smallholder production on farms of between 0.2 and 3 hectare.

s, which account for 78 percent of total agricultural production and 70 percent of commercial production. Agricultural GDP is driven by horticulture and cash crops, but productivity is low, particularly for cereals.

The level of mechanisation has a significant positive impact on the cost, output value, income and return rate of all types of crops. For every 1 percent increase in the level of mechanization, the yields of all crops, grain crops and cash crops increase by 1.2151, 1.5941 and 0.4351 percent, respectively.

“Our tools can perform the functions of levelling, land preparation, deep turning and deep scarification, which can improve land quality better than the traditional manual and livestock operation methods, especially in the transformation of medium- and low-yield fields.  Agricultural machinery can increase the degree of multiple cropping of cultivated land to provide the potential for multiple crop cycles per year, thus improving production capacity and land output rates Mechanical irrigation and drainage, dry farming machinery and mechanical spraying can effectively mitigate risks such as drought, floods, weeds and insect pests,” he explained.

He explained that STIHL tillers can till 1 full acre in 4.9 hours at  a fuel consumption rate of 3.9litres per acre, while a sprayer can spray 1 acre in 3.37hrs with a fuel consumption of 1.15l/hr. STIHL  cultivators can weed 1 acre of land in 18 hours  (approx. 2 days) with a fuel consumption of 1.01litres per hour.

STIHL  East Africa offices were launched in August 2022, after  The Stihl  Group picked Kenya as its first choice to establish its second subsidiary in Africa.

The subsidiary will be its Eastern Africa hub servicing countries that include Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, DRC, Rwanda, and Burundi among others. Kenya is the gateway into Eastern and Central Africa and its Infrastructure allows for entry into these markets.

“Our plan is to distribute our products from Kenya into the traditional East African Market which includes Tanzania, Uganda , Burundi, Rwanda,South Sudan , Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa countries. We are also looking at the new partner state in the East African Community (EAC), the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).  We will have representatives on the ground in all these countries ultimately looking after our customers via the dealership model,” Marais said.

The STIHL Group develops, manufactures, and distributes outdoor power equipment for forestry, agriculture, landscaping, construction and cleaning customized for professionals and discerning consumers.

Other products STIHL  has brought to the East African Market include chain saws, cut-off machines, brushcutters, hedge trimmers, grass trimmers,  concrete cutters, high pressure cleaners, and vacuum cleaners among others.

The firm is targeting the booming Agriculture and construction sectors in the region, as governments continue to increase investments in these areas.

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