KINGOYA Corp, which deals in harvesting equipment, gadgets and safety gear, is making headway in the plantation in-field collection business.
According to managing director Yama Yeo, the harvesting tool industry is worth RM800mil per annum with some 500,000 harvesters around the world.
“This is set to grow to 800,000 harvesters in the next 10 years and this could potentially translate into a RM2bil business for us,” he tells StarBizWeek.
Kingoya manufactures a range of innovative products for oil palm plantation needs like the sickle-holding system with interlocking features and protective gear.
“Our products bring a whole new perspective to harvesting oil palm,” Yeo says, adding that Kingoya products enable a swift transition from the basic and traditional methods, found in many oil palm-producing nations, to modern cultivation that integrates advanced technology and progressive growing methods.
Company founders and co-directors Yama Yeo and Gopi Nair, who have a combined expertise of over 50 years in business and plantation management, have taken their knowledge and experience gained in their pioneering efforts in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea to establish a market in Malaysia and elsewhere.
At present, it is the only local company in the plantation in-field collection segment which exports 95% of its products. Its major markets include Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and South America.
“Malaysia and Indonesia will experience a growing number of more mature plantations, thus suggesting a growing market for the sickle approach. Our products help increase productivity by up to 18% and eliminate cancellation of work due to breakage,” Yeo says.
Workers would also get to save one hour per day in assembly time, he adds. Yeo says the company plans to introduce new products next year like the loose fruit collector, sickle sharpener, hand-lift wheelbarrow and distance laser meter.
“We intend to tap into the loose fruit segment as it accounts for a significant portion of palm oil production,” he says, adding that the harvesting and collection of fresh fruit bunches still needs up to 60% of the total workforce.
Yeo says the company has been experiencing exponential growth year-on-year and is in an expansion mode.
“We have gone from registering revenue of RM4mil in 2005 to RM11mil in 2008,” he says. Meanwhile, Nair says plans are in the pipeline for the company to be listed in two to three years.
“We will be expanding to Indonesia. There is a lot of potential there,” he says, adding that Malaysia, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea account for about 85% of the world’s palm oil production.
“We continuously carry out clinics in various parts of Indonesia on the advantages of our equipment over the traditional use of bamboo, both in plantations as well as community estates covering the provinces in Sumatra, Kalimantan and Papua New Guinea,” he says.
The company strives to use market demonstrations as a tool to further induce a greater market penetration for its products, he says.
“We have trained harvesters in Nigeria to use our products. This requires changing of mind sets. We also conduct clinics in Papua New Guinea as many of the village oil palm growers take their harvesting equipment directly from the major companies.”
Yeo does not expect the economic downturn to affect its business. “We expect a reverse impact. As plantations look to cut costs and increase productivity, our products would be needed.”
He says most agriculture-based countries still rely on mechanical methods of harvesting rather than mechanised methods. “We are one of the few companies that extend after-sales service to train estate officers and harvesters on safety and product use,” he says.
Kingoya’s products are sold directly to the harvesters or through distributors. There are 15 distributors in Peninsular Malaysia, 12 in east Malaysia and two in Kalimantan.
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