Siam Kubota kicks start tractor exports to US


Siam Kubota is convinced it can grow sales to Bt50 billion this year from Bt40 billion last year because the farming industry is expanding both in Thailand and abroad.

Masatoshi Kimata, president of Siam Kubota Corporation, the country's leading manufacturer of tractors, combines and other farm equipment, said last week that besides concentrating on the domestic market, it would emphasise exports this year, particularly to the US, a new target market for Thailand.

Siam Kubota currently ships to only three countries - Cambodia, Burma and Laos. The neighbouring countries account for 15 per cent of the company's sales.

The US market has high potential. This month the firm began production to supply the US and expects to serve the market there soon after meeting with 1,100 dealers in the US.

Kubota expects to start with sending 10,000 tractors to the US this year.

The production line in Thailand for combine harvesters would be enlarged, while imports from China would be scaled back to serve domestic and export growth.

However, Kimata did not mention how much the firm invested in new production in the Kingdom.

Werachai Wipatavit, executive vice president of sales and marketing and headquarters general manager, said at least 40 domestic outlets would be set up this year on top of the existing 200 nationwide. The firm will also continue introducing products every quarter to serve farmers' demand as well as increase efficiency in the Thai farming sector.

The company also sells used tractors called Kubota Max so that farmers can save money.

About Bt20 million has been set aside for corporate social responsibility this year, aimed at promoting sustainable growth for the agriculture industry.

Opart Dhavarjor, senior executive vice president, said Kubota would continue organising projects to upgrade farmers' quality of life by helping to reduce production costs, improve yields and develop environmentally-friendly methods.

For instance, one project would help rice farmers raise soybeans during the off-season. Farmers will gain up to Bt3,500 per rai by diversifying crops. The firm would also continue educating the young generation under its Young Farmer Camp Project.

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