By Moureen Ojambo
In a bid to help small scale farmers and traders ease coronavirus miseries, Regional Leasing firm, Vehicle and Equipment Leasing Limited (VAELL) has expanded its agricultural and logistics arm to transport cargo and agricultural produce daily to various markets across the country. This comes after government’s directive to restrict movement in and out of the counties believed to be “infected areas”, including the capital, Nairobi. The regional lessor has deployed 50 trucks to 12 rich agricultural counties to help the farmers in transporting their produce at an affordable price now that they can’t use public transport as before.
Speaking while flagging off the trucks, VAELL MD for Kenya, Bertha Mvati said, “We recognize the impact of coronavirus on agribusinesses and SMEs and this service is meant to help them avert losses as consequence of commodities especially the perishable goods not reaching the market on time. Most small scale farmers and traders have no access to cold storage facilities and cannot afford hiring a whole truck let alone buying one. This being the major reason we came up with this initiative to help them evade the risk of spoiling to ensure ease of market accessibility while still trying to mitigate to price hikes. We are not doing this to make profit, but basically to help farmers transport their produce at affordable rates and in return help citizens get food at good prices in this crucial times. Should transport costs go high, the ripple effects will be felt by the end consumer and considering that most citizens’ incomes have been interfered with, it will be like adding salt to a wound.”
The company says that through its agricultural arm dubbed ‘TingA’, it will target small scale traders and farmers who are not reached by leasing firms as they mainly target MNCs, large corporates and governments through long term leases. This kind of logistical support to small merchants is expected to boost value creation and business overall growth with less stress on logistics especially this period when the world is grappling with the deadly virus. This will ensure that traders derive maximum value as it aids them to concentrate in their key businesses with less interruption and reduce brokerage.
“We target to reduce smallholders farmers and traders cost of transporting their produce and cargo to the market by 35%. By so doing costs of commodities and food stuff will come down eventually to benefit the ends users and consumers. We have strategically placed the trucks in places in Kenya’s agricultural hubs so that citizens can access the commodities they need especially this trying times when such commodities are very crucial,” she explained.
The trucks have been approved by Agriculture and Foods Authority’s horticultural Crops Directorate to travel day and night to allow produce to arrive to destination while still fresh.
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Vehicle and Equipment Leasing Limited (VAELL) is the market leader in asset leasing, maintenance and consulting in Eastern and Central Africa region. It has presence in the auto mobile, healthcare, mining, agricultural, telecommunication, construction, gas and oil sector. It has managed to diversify and expand its portfolio by offering customized solutions to suit every client’s requirement and need. VAELL, the leading provider of integrated leasing services for a broad range of moveable assets and machinery across the region, has geographical coverage with fully fledged subsidiaries in Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania and Zambia. The leasing firm has a correspondent relationship with other leasing companies in South Africa and India. It facilitates clients with vehicles and machinery throughout the region from any one country office across its network.
In 2014 VAELL won the award for the Best in Transport, in the Top 100 KPMG/Business Daily survey, and 2015 shot into Club 101 in the same survey. It has scooped 14 awards in the last 5 years. The leasing market leader was named in 2018 by East African Business Council Tanzania as the best East African Company in The Service Sector. The lessor has also been named in the South Africa’s Titan Building Nation awards in the outstanding achievement category.
VAELL was recently hosted by Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) onto its premium incubation and acceleration programme, Ibuka. VAELL also owns Quipbank Trust Limited, equipment sharing platform and TingA, East Africa’s largest tractor share platform.