Sota Tractors Goes The Extra Mile

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Sota Tractors has played a pivotal role in the supply of a much-needed tractor and associated farming equipment to a school in Tuvalu capital of Funafuti, courtesy of the Japanese government.

Sota Tractors Goes The Extra Mile
Sota goes the extra mile for Tuvalu

The tiny, sovereign state of Tuvalu is situated northeast of Melbourne, midway between Australia and Hawaii. A coral atoll, it is the third least-populated sovereign state and the fourth smallest country in the world, behind the Vatican, Monaco and Nauru.

When the people of Japan sought to give a gift to Tuvalu, they discovered a pressing need for a tractor and agricultural equipment at the school in the country’s capital, Funafuti, to educate students in safe tractor operation and farming. The Japanese engaged Mohammed Khateeb, a well-known manufacturers’ representative based in Suva, Fiji, to facilitate the selection of appropriate equipment.

An important part of the Japanese culture is gift-giving; they are disinclined to give token or poor-quality gifts, which may be seen as rude or taken as a slight. It was important that a quality outcome was achieved from start to end. Japan is famous for its manufacturing quality and Khateeb selected the Yanmar brand of tractors, widely considered to be the pinnacle of Japanese manufacturing excellence, in agriculture.

He then sent out enquiries for a country and a company that could supply and deliver a Yanmar tractor and a quality implement package to Tuvalu, more than 5,000km away, across the Pacific Ocean. As this was a formal gift from one country to another, the supply and logistics of the operation had to be first-class.

His enquiries led him to Australia and Sota Tractors. Initial contact was made with Sota’s General Manager, Steve Watt, one of the Australia’s foremost agricultural logistics experts. Steve took on the challenge enthusiastically and put forward a proposal to Khateeb, which he accepted. 

Sota provided advice on a tractor of appropriate horsepower and suggested the Yanmar LX450 45hp 4WD, a premium Japanese utility tractor. A selection of world-renowned Del Morino, Wallenstein and Agmax implements was also chosen. Watt then went to work on the logistics: the shipment would have to go by sea in a container, via Fiji, where a trans-shipment vessel needed to be booked to take it to on to Funafuti, Tuvalu. He also discovered that the facilities at Funafuti were insufficient to unload a 40-foot container so he decided to send the tractor in two specially-prepared 20-foot containers, to ensure that no damage was done during the long sea journey and while transferring the cargo from vessel to vessel.

Khateeb flew to Melbourne to inspect the order, the packaging and the processes and then signed off, after which the containers were loaded onto trucks to begin the journey.

"We regularly send tractor packages across the water to Tasmania and we have sent several to Norfolk Island, which also requires trans-shipment," Watt says.

"Tuvalu was a new challenge and we are delighted to have met expectations so far. We will keep in contact with the school at Funafuti to ensure that their new Yanmar tractor package is maintained in good working order."

For more information contact Sota Tractors on toll-free 1300 767 297 or at – or visit

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