Farmers in rural Laos rely on machine technology to reduce the amount of labor and time they dedicate to farming and improve their farming efficiency. However, machines require proper maintenance and servicing. While farmers can acquire agricultural machinery, they still have limited ability to maintain and repair them when they break down.
Mr. Dao Vonemany, who has worked as a mechanic since 2000, has been providing local farmers in Xiengdaed, Phoukoud with the valuable service of repairing and maintaining agricultural machinery. Generally, his clients visit his workshop to receive repairs. However, some clients call him to provide services at home, especially during the harvest seasons when there is heavy use of the machinery. Seven out of 10 of his clients have tractors, grass cutters (for animal feeds), rice threshers, or small transportation vehicles. Motorcycles constitute about 30 percent of his repair services and as well as providing general transport get farmers to their fields often kilometers from their homes and help carry back the harvest.
Mr. Vonemany readily fixes simple machines, but he ends up taking longer trying to solve complex issues. In some instances, he sends his customers away because he lacks the appropriate equipment and knowledge. Some of his clients are compelled to travel to Phonsavanh, located in the Pek District about 45 kilometers away from the village, to carry out their repair needs. This subjects farmers to longer repair times and higher costs, which delays their farming activities.
In a bid to upgrade his business and meet the repair needs of farmers, Mr. Vonemany received support from USAID Laos Microenterprise in November 2021. Through the project’s matching grants program, he purchased a modern tire repair machine and other equipment, such as an air pump. Thanks to this USAID support, as of March 2022, he provided services to 266 farmers in four villages and repaired 250 agricultural machines.
“With the better equipment, I serve farmers quicker, save time, and I have reduced my labor costs. This has helped farmers a lot by saving them time needed to repair their machines while getting efficient service, meaning they reduce their costs of traveling to Phonsavanh.”— Dao Vonemany, a USAID Laos Microenterprise grant recipient
Meanwhile, his business also trained 104 farmers on agricultural machine maintenance and built awareness around the importance of proper maintenance. The business now enjoys tighter, longer-term relationships with local farmers.
Along with grant support, USAID Laos Microenterprise also helped Mr. Vonemany improve his business management, marketing, and accountancy. He now has an improved implementation plan and improved expense and revenue management.
Mr. Vonemany plans to expand his business by building a larger shop and purchasing two more pieces of modern equipment in August 2022 to better serve his clients and attract new customers in the area.
These improvements to Mr. Vonemany’s business will allow farmers to spend more time on their farms and make the most of their farming activities. And that is no small feat considering agriculture is the main income-generating activity in the area.
“This training is useful, and now I can comfortably carry out small maintenance to my machinery without going to the shop of traveling to Phonsavanh. It saves me more time, and my machinery is always in a better condition.”— A farmer trained by Dao Vonemany
Learn more about Laos Microenterprise.