M&M's Yuvraj tractor strikes chord with small farmers

Murali Gopalan Mumbai | Updated on February 07, 2011

Mr Sanjeev Goyle, Senior Vice-President, Mahindra FarmEquipment Sector.   -  Business Line

Mahindra & Mahindra is betting big on its 15 hp Yuvraj mini-tractor which was launched a few months ago.

“The idea was to deliver a tractor to help small farmers make more money especially when agriculture is a seasonal occupation. With the infrastructure boom happening in rural India, Yuvraj's potential can be put to good use,” Mr Sanjeev Goyle, Senior Vice-President, Mahindra Farm Equipment Sector, told Business Line.

Beyond their traditional applications in farms, tractors also cart sand and bricks in the hinterland. Yuvraj can comfortably take a load of 1.5 tonnes which means the farmer can participate in building of roads and bridges.

One of M&M's Yuvraj customers has a large farm near Nashik where two of his 12 acres are earmarked for vegetables with the lion's share taken up for cultivation of grapes. Till the Yuvraj came along, he would carry his vegetables to the nearest market in a multi-utility vehicle where diesel charges for a two-way trip were around Rs 300.

“Today, he uses a Yuvraj for the vineyard and takes his produce to the market in his spare time. The total diesel charges are a lot lower at Rs 80,” Mr Goyle said.

Incidentally, 80 per cent of Indian farms are less than five acres. To a farmer who is grappling with labour shortage and worried about investing in an expensive tractor, the Yuvraj has been the best piece of news.

The tractor was test marketed in Rajkot (where the plant's annual capacity is 18,000 units) and is now available in Gujarat and Maharashtra. M&M plans to widen its reach to farmers in Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan by end-March before targeting the rest of the country during 2011-12.

“Nearly 60 per cent of Yuvraj customers are first time tractor buyers while 25 per cent use it as their second vehicle. The large farmer also needs a small tractor for specific jobs like carrying fertilisers where the fuel savings are considerable,” Mr Goyle said.

With the Yuvraj, M&M wants to convey the message to farmers that a tractor is theirs for the taking and not a product that is confined to the affluent category. By catching them young, the idea is to build a bond with the M&M brand.

“By the end of the day, a tractor is a status symbol which conveys pride of ownership,” he said.

The Yuvraj is a key part of M&M's vision to go beyond retailing tractors and focus on creation of farm tech prosperity. This would mean a complete internal transformation from a company of engineers.

“Over the last three years, we have been inducting people at the ground level who understand agriculture instead of engineering. The dealers now play a bigger role and counsel farmers on a host of issues to increase output from their lands,” Mr Goyle said.

The efforts are paying off with some farmers reporting 25 to 40 per cent increase in productivity. The dealer initiatives are open to the entire tractor fraternity and not just M&M users.

“Even a bullock farmer is eligible and he is likely to consider our tractor when he is ready to take the next step,” he added.

Published on February 07, 2011

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