by Salim Dawood
The job is tough, the competition stiff, but he is equal to the task and all he wants is to put smiles on his clients’ faces.
Over the years, AFGRI Equipment turned into a popular stop for commercial and small-scale farmers, looking for farming equipment. They steadily spread their wings and today, the company has three branches in Zambia, with about 50 employees.
One of the prerequisites for a steady operation is good leadership, and AFGRI Equipment appointed a new Country Manager with the right credentials and attitude in September. The rightfull choice fell on Rayno van Niekerk, who came out of the ranks of AFGRI Equipment in South Africa.
Rayno has a very strong focus as the new Country Manager: “AFGRI Equipment has been a market leader in agricultural, golf and turf equipment in Africa. This experience will help us in assisting our farmers with the sales and after service capabilities to ensure that they have the equipment and ability to live out their passion and drive food security in Africa.” He attributes the thriving popularity of AFGRI Equipment to the premium agricultural equipment in stock from world renowned brands like JCB, John Deere, Falcon, RovicLeers, LEMKEN and Orthman.
He is already settling down in his new position, having moved to Lusaka with his wife, Marike. “This is the first time I came to Lusaka, but I am already settling down and looking forward to a good and long stay here,” Rayno says.
While many find the early-morning Lusaka traffic hectic, it doesn’t seem to bother Rayno that much. “Coming from a small town in the Free State province of South Africa, the traffic is different in Lusaka, but having lived in Mozambique for six years, I am used to it,” he says.
Rayno regards the Zambian economy and the drought as some of the challenges to the business. “The only real challenge at the moment is the economy of Zambia. But as a business we are doing well,” he notes.
On his readiness for the job, Rayno responds: “I am definitely up to the task, just pleasing the clients and delivering a service. That’s the key part of the business, and I enjoy seeing happy and satisfied customers.”
While the Lusaka office has most of the stock on display, other equipment is kept in Mpongwe in the Copperbelt Province and Mukushi in Central Province. Rayno says AFGRI is looking to expand its footprint into other areas of the country in the near future.
Rayno was very sincere when he said AFGRI is willing to walk the road with the farmer long after the machine is sold. “AFGRI Equipment has quality parts and qualified service technicians to make sure our aftermarket service is always available and ready.”
“I don’t believe looking back at the past but rather at possibilities that lie ahead of us… I feel that providing good service and having steady relationships with clients are two of the key factors in any business, and this will be one of my focus points in Zambia.”
Rayno wishes all farmers good luck and blessings with the upcoming season. “We trust that the rain will be sufficient and that the upcoming crops will yield positive results. Drought has come in the past, but it has always been broken at the end. ‘Let us not become weary in doing well; for at the proper time we will reap a harvest – if we do not give up.’ Galatians 6: 9”
AFGRI caters for every farmer in Zambia, including you. Contact Katuna Sinyangwe at +260-762-172-412 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.