I am Mikio Oyama, the CEO of KiliMOL.
Happy New Year!
In my first post of the new year, I am writing about the practical training I received in agricultural machinery repair and maintenance from 20th to 24th December, 2021 at Karasawa Agricultural Machinery Service Co., Ltd. (https://www.karasawanouki.co.jp/, hereinafter “Karasawa Agricultural Machinery”), a business partner of KiliMOL.
Karasawa Agricultural Machinery
Karasawa Agricultural Machinery is an agricultural equipment store in Tomi City, Nagano Prefecture, JAPAN. While their main business is the sale, repair, and maintenance of agricultural machinery, they also operate an Internet business that includes website creation, marketing, and consulting. In addition, more than 300 agricultural equipment dealers nationwide are members of Nouki Navi (https://www.noukinavi.com/), which provides agricultural equipment distribution support services with a cumulative transaction value of more than JPY 1.2 billion. Used agricultural equipment exported to Africa by KiliMOL is purchased from Nouki Navi.
The reason why I took the agricultural machinery repair and maintenance training was that I wanted to be able to repair agricultural machinery to some extent by myself. In the past two demonstrations held in Kenya (March and September 2021), Karasawa, the CEO of Karasawa Agricultural Equipment, attended. However, the next demonstration, which is scheduled to be held in the western part of Kenya in February 2022, we will not be accompanied by CEO Karasawa, so if there is any trouble with agricultural machinery, the KiliMOL members will have to deal with it themselves. Having worked for a shipping company for 17 years, I have no experience in repairing agricultural machinery. Therefore, I felt it was necessary to be able to deal with a minimum level of trouble with agricultural machinery before going to the demonstration, so I asked Karasawa Agricultural Machinery to allow me to receive some practical training.
Repair and maintenance of walking type rice planters
There are so many types of agricultural machinery that it is impossible to cover them all, so I focused on walking-type rice transplanters and learned about their repair and maintenance because 13 walking-type rice transplanters were exported to Kenya only the other day. This time I saw several walking-type rice transplanters, and found that while several agricultural machinery manufacturers selling walking-type rice transplanters, they all had very similar structures, and some had the exact same structure even though the manufacturers were different. According to the technicians of Karasawa Agricultural Machinery, a certain manufacturer supplies OEM products to other manufacturers. I learned that agricultural machinery manufacturers cooperate with each other, as happens with automobile manufacturers. First of all, I studied the repair and maintenance under a professional mechanic, and then attempted the same thing by myself. In fact, I repaired and maintained three walking-type rice transplanters by myself. Specifically, I cleaned the carburettor, changed the spark plug, changed the engine oil, and changed the grease in the planting part.
Difference from a professional
The repair and maintenance work gradually became more familiar to me with each unit, but it still took me more than three times as long to carry out the work compared to the mechanics of Karasawa Agricultural Machinery. What caused this time difference? On consideration, I realized that the biggest difference was in how to choose and use the correct tools. With a variety of tools available, you need to choose the best tool and use it efficiently to, for example, open and close screws and clean machinery parts. To do this, you need to know the characteristics of various tools, try them, and gain work experience. Looking at the movements of the mechanics of Karasawa Agricultural Machinery, I strongly felt that this was not something that could be achieved in a week or so. The accumulation of experience gained over time is a major factor in efficiency and speed.
In addition to walking-type rice transplanters, I also learned about binders and harvesters. A big thank you to everyone at Karasawa Agricultural Machinery for taking the time out of their busy schedule to teach me some of the basics in agricultural machinery repair and maintenance. Thanks to you, it was a very useful experience and I am sure that what I learnt will help me a lot in the field.