Barloworld plans to start distributing two ranges of low-cost tractors from India and South Korea.

Clive Thomson, the listed distribution group’s chief executive, said last week that the distribution of these ranges was the group’s strategy to address the increasing demand in emerging markets for low-cost tractors.

Barloworld’s agricultural arm, which forms part of the group’s handling division, already distributes Massey Ferguson and Claas tractors, but both are premium products.

Thomson said the group’s agricultural business in southern Africa was affected in the second half of its financial year to September principally by the lower maize price, which led to farmers either deferring tractor purchases or buying down.

Barloworld will distribute tractors made in India by Tractors and Farm Equipment (Tafe) but branded Massey Ferguson.

Thomson said the distribution of the Tafe tractors represented an opportunity for Barloworld to penetrate markets outside South Africa because the group had been given additional distributorships by Agco Corporation in Mozambique, Angola and Siberia.

Agco owns the Massey Ferguson brand.

Thomson said it was applying the same principle with Claas tractors and had started importing and distributing LS tractors in South Africa, which were made in South Korea.

He added that the group’s handling division had from 2008 being importing and distributing cheaper wheel loaders from Caterpillar-owned Shanghai Equipment Machinery in China. – Roy Cokayne