February 27, 2023
TOKYO-Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. (MOL; President & CEO: Takeshi Hashimoto) today announced that KiliMOL Ltd. (Representative: Mikio Oyama; Headquarters: Minato-ku, Tokyo) (Note 1), which was born out of the employee proposal system and is engaged in the business of exporting agricultural machinery to African countries, is launching "SDGs Business Validation Survey for Development of raising seedlings technology for use of rice transplanters and business development with rice transplanters in Kenya", in cooperation with Karasawa Agricultural Machinery Service Co., Ltd. (President: Takeyuki Karasawa; Headquarters: Tomi City, Nagano Prefecture). The project was selected for the "SMEs/SDGs business support program (Note 2)," funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
In collaboration with Kenyan government ministries and agencies, over the course of about one year after the start of the contract with JICA, KiliMOL and Karasawa Agricultural Machinery Service will conduct research and demonstration of optimal seedling cultivation methods, explore potential markets, customers, and partners, and present lectures on how to use rice transplanters. The goal is to promote the use of rice transplanters in Kenya, where mechanization of rice planting has lagged behind.
The Kenyan government is working to expand irrigation areas for rice cultivation, since the nation still relies on imports for about 80% of its consumption even as both consumption and domestic production are increasing. On the other hand, rice planting in Kenya today is done almost entirely by hand, so under the current situation, manual planting is not keeping up with the pace of its expansion. In addition, uneven spacing between rows makes weeding inefficient, and addressing these factors, which lead to higher production costs, so mechanization of rice planting has the potential to realize significant productivity gains.
KiliMOL has already exported used riding and walking rice transplanters from Japan to the region and is providing local technical assistance in cooperation with Karasawa Agricultural Machinery Service. KiliMOL aims to promote the widespread use of rice transplanters to increase agricultural productivity and ultimately contribute to the reduction of hunger and poverty, by developing a large-scale seedling nursery environment in a way that can be adopted locally through this support project.
(Note 1) Please refer to April 27, 2021 MOL press release:
MOL to Establish "KiliMOL" a Cross-Border e-Commerce Service to deliver Used Agriculture Machinery to Africa
(Note 2) Please refer to February 20, 2023 JICA press release:
JICA Selects 59 projects for FY2022 'SMEs/SDGs business support program'
[MOL Group 5 Sustainability Issues]
MOL Group will contribute to realizing a sustainable society by promoting responses to sustainability issues, which are identified as social issues that must be addressed as priorities through its business.
We anticipate this initiative to contribute especially to the realization of "Safety & Value -Provide added value through safe transportation and our social infrastructure business-"and "Human & Community -Contributing to the growth and development of people and communities-".
KiliMOL was stablished in May 2021 as an operating company for the "business of exporting agricultural machinery to Africa using a cross-border EC site," which was born out of MOL's employee proposal system. The name is derived from kilimo, the Swahili word for "agriculture," and "MOL." Currently it focuses on exploring demand in Keyna, transporting agricultural machinery via MOL car carriers and then trucking it to Kenya. It aims to expand business domains not limited to the agricultural export business in Africa by strengthening MOL Group network activities in Kenya and other African countries.
[About Karasawa Agricultural Machinery Service]
Karasawa Agricultural Machinery Service was founded to commercialize agricultural machinery repair services. While its main businesses are sales, repair, and restoration of agricultural machinery, it operates online businesses such as website production, marketing, and consulting services. In addition, it operates the "noukinavi.com" agricultural machinery distribution platform bringing together more than 300 dealers all over Japan and posting cumulative transaction volume of more than ¥1.8 billion. The company is developing a pioneering agriculture-related business under the concept "Agriculture x IT." In February 2021, the company raised ¥190 million in financing, encompassing third-party allotments of new shares and loan agreements, from several financial institutions including Hachijuni Bank, Hachijuni Capital Company, Gunma Bank, and SMBC Group, further accelerating the pace of corporate growth.
Karasawa Agricultural Machinery Service Co., Ltd. website: https://www.karasawanouki.co.jp/
Noukinavi, marketplace for agricultural machinery: https://www.noukinavi.com/