One of the most trusted agricultural partners exhibiting annually at the Agritech Show is the Zambian based Saro Group with its head office in Lusaka and four branches in the main agricultural growth regions around Livingstone, Mpongwe, Kitwe and Mkushi.
Calvin Salah, Marketing Manager, spoke to Du Preez de Villiers at their impressive stand with its wide variety of equipment.
“We believe that Agritech, as initiated by the National Zambian Farmers’ Union, is a very good event that will increase in importance every year to be the showcase event for agriculture in Zambia,” says Calvin.
He says there may have been fewer commercial farmers than last year, but they are still satisfied with the turnout and the interest in their products. Saro has a wide range of equipment for commercial, small-scale and emerging farmers, and with their long experience in the country, they know what the farmers need.
A good example of providing for the needs of farmers is the brand new “push along” type sprayer which they have developed with the help of agricultural engineer, Frank Nkonde. Calvin says it was developed with particularly small-scale tomato farmers in mind.
The sprayer consists of a mounted motorised knapsack sprayer with a boom. The boom can initially be used horizontally for herbicides for example, and as the plants grow, the boom can be used vertically for fungicides and pesticides.
Calvin says they only brought the prototype to the show to test the idea, but one farmer was so adamant to buy it, that “we just had to let it go!”
Another range of new products to look forward to, is Suzuki motorcycles, in addition to their current range of Jialings. Calvin says the Suzuki motorcycles are intended for their upmarket clients who want a well established brand name and quality.
From small-scale to large commercial
Calvin says that they are always extending their product range, and presently they are concentrating on the promotion of drip irrigation systems, also amongst small-scale farmers.
He says: “There is a lot of involvement in projects for small-scale farmers in horticulture, because there is a government initiative to encourage local supermarket chains to keep more locally produced vegetables and fruit on their shelves. The people who are generally going to grow these products are the small-scale guys and this is why we are looking after them. We see a big future in this sector.”
This does not mean that Saro is forgetting their commercial farmers. At Agritech they also focused on their extensive range of Baldan soil cultivation equipment – a trusted name in agriculture. Jabes Mbewe says farmers in Zambia prefer Baldan products. You will find that most farmers have some Baldan products: ploughs, disc harrows, planters or seeders. “They are excellent products,” he says.
Baldan is a Brazilian company, but because Saro has such a long relationship with them, most of the wearing parts are kept locally. “We have them in stock, and in the unlikely event of an unavailable part, we shall order it and it should arrive very soon.”
Also, there is no shortage of technical know-how at Saro, with five well trained technicians at Head Office and one at every branch. Calvin says they are very optimistic about the season: “Seeing that we had such a good rainy season in Southern Africa, we wish our farmers every success and we hope that afterwards, when the crops are being harvested, they remember to visit us for quality products at competitive prices!”
Feature photo: Saro is the agent for world renowned Baldan equipment. The Saro team members are: Jabes Mbewe, Owen Mumwensi, Kangombe Lishandu and Simon Nyirongo.