Indonesia 2018 | AGRICULTURE | COLUMN

TBY talks to Melinda Tunjung Wulan Country Manager, Kubota Machinery Indonesia, on the sector.

Melinda Tunjung Wulan

How have Kubota Machinery Indonesia's operations advanced since you set up a permanent office here in 2013?

Kubota Group has been operating in Indonesia for 40 years, and the first branch, PT Kubota Indonesia, is located in Semarang and produces mostly small engines. Kubota Machinery Indonesia was founded five years ago and primarily focuses on four-wheeled tractors, harvesters, and planters. We import these products from several of Kubota's factories in Japan, Thailand, and China. Prior to our establishment, we worked through a distributor in Indonesia, mostly for our four-wheel tractors. Kubota Machinery Indonesia is still a 100% foreign-owned company, though Kubota's engine company has part local ownership.

Can you elaborate on the challenges of establishing a dealer network across Indonesia?

The first challenge we faced was an underdeveloped market. Five years ago, Indonesia did not have any agricultural business or mechanization other than the palm oil industry. Our first priority was to recruit dealers throughout Indonesia, which was difficult because Kubota products are niche, and our dealers required significant support and training in sales, servicing, and spare parts. Our products were new to this market and to gain interest we had to invest a great deal of time and money into demonstrating our products' capabilities and benefits.