Settling in the hills around the Khao Yai national park in northern Thailand are the family farms of Kittinan Jirasak, a second generation hill farmer whose family have been planting sugar cane in that area for decades. Farming is in the family’s blood and both Khun Kittinan and his sister-in-law Samraan Jirasak have farms in the area and indulge themselves in the natural brother versus sister rivalry as to who can produce the most cane. To typify this as rivalry is actually a bit unfair, it’s just normal sibling competitiveness. The country here is hilly to mountainous and harvesting of the cane has always been managed by the traditional manual methods of burning and hand cutting.
Khun Kittinan explains that up until recently his whole family used manual labour to cut, simply because the hilly terrain made the operation of a cane harvester difficult. The incline of many of the fields meant that some machines found it impossible to operate on the hillsides. Also, the collector trucks which were needed to follow the harvesters to recover the cane found it impractical to negotiate the slopes and to deal with the frequently awkward manoeuvring required to access the cane. The slopes were simply too steep.
For Khun Kittinan this was underlined by the experience of his sister, who in recent years had acquired a conventional cane harvester because she was finding the operation of manual harvesting increasingly challenging. So far, she had not been happy with mechanical harvesting for the reasons previously mentioned.
However, the dwindling labour market in recent years had bought so much pressure on him that he decided to take some positive action. Whilst assessing the market he spoke with Samart Kasetyon and after several meetings decided that the SM200 Compact would be most suitable machine for the job. He valued the high gradability of the SM200 Compact along with the low centre of gravity and inherent stability of the machine. He was soon taking the step towards mechanisation by purchasing a brand new Samart SM200 Compact harvester. He recalls his sister laughing at his purchase at the time and assuring him that her experience with harvesters had confirmed to her that harvesters could never successfully operate in such terrain.
Despite this, the versatility of the SM200 Compact demonstrated its worth on the fields in Khao Yai making short work of the challenges brought by the terrain and impressing Khun Kittinan with its flexibility and effectiveness. So much so that since the introduction Khun Kittinan’s sister has changed has changed her opinion. “I saw a machine that could easily climb the slopes on my brother’s farm and work independently of the road transport” enthuses Khun Samraan. She explains further, “the Samart self-loading concept allows the machine the freedom to harvest unrestricted by support vehicles and then simply deposit the full cane bins on the headland ready for pick up. This frees up time and labour and make so much sense”. “Actually”, Khun Samraan admits,” I was so convinced when I saw my brother’s machine working that I knew I just had to get a Samart machine working on my fields”.
“I saw a machine that could easily climb the slopes on my brother’s farm and work independently of the road transport” enthuses Khun Samraan. She explains further, “the Samart self-loading concept allows the machine the freedom to harvest unrestricted by support vehicles and then simply deposit the full cane bins on the headland ready for pick up. This frees up time and labour and make so much sense”.
Khun Kittinan said
But, after the light hearted banter with her brother when he chose Samart, Khun Samraan was a little sheepish to admit to her change of heart. How did that work out?
“Well, it wasn’t easy” she smiles, “after all he is my brother and you know how family rivalries work?
“I was embarrassed to admit that he was right. So secretly I contacted a friend who I knew was using Samart and got him to cut my fields”. “I knew this was going on” comments Samart’s sales director Srinaul Leethirnaranon
“and it was fun to watch the situation develop. From being “anti” our product, Khun Samraan is now one of our biggest fans”.
It has been hard for Samart to move the company forward to take its place as one of the regions’ major manufacturers in cane cutting simply because of the marketing profile of the western brands, but recently the company has been recognised by His Royal Thai Majesty’s government and registered with the Thai Industrial Standards Institute No. 2773-2560, which confirms the high standards and quality of the Samart product. “It’s good that Asian farmers like Khun Samraan are realising the value that using a product that is designed for the region brings”
Khun Srinaul affirmed “We have a strong team working in Hankha that is always focusing on an Asian product for Asian conditions, and always with the target to “Build it Better”.
It’s great now that we have the government registration, but we always knew we had the right product for Thailand, strong, effective and economical. That is not to say that there are no other good products on the market that will work. It’s just that under many Asian conditions a Samart does it better”
Samart Kaset-Yon Ltd. Part.
184 Moo 11, Hankha District, Hankha,
Chainat 17130 Thailand