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2008-01-15 14:48:43 -

Arūnas Jagelavičius speaks to Jenny Hauser about his business, Dzeirana Ireland, a nationwide distributor of Belarusian tractors to Irish farmers

The odometer in Arūnas Jagelavičius’ one-year-old car stands at 55,000km. That is the amount of tarmac it has covered in Ireland alone in a single year. But such tireless travel throughout the country is part of the job for Jagelavičius, who makes his living selling tractors from Belarus to Irish farmers.
The Lithuanian came to Ireland three years ago, already with much experience in his homeland of selling tractors from Minsk Tractor Works in the Belarusian capital. When he spotted a niche in the Irish agricultural market, he was prompted to venture out west and set up shop for himself.
Jagelavičius and his family soon relocated to Waterford, from where his company operates nationwide. “We have mechanics on the road all the time. It makes no difference where the farmer lives because we will come to them,” he says.
The company, Dzeirana Ireland, sells new tractors, repairs old machines and supplies spare parts. When he started out, it was only himself and one mechanic. But three years down the line and the business has been thriving so much that there are now six mechanics on the payroll.
On arrival in a new country without ties or contacts, Jagelavičius initially set out to find the right people for the job. 
“One farmer said to me, ‘Just look around and see who else has mechanics from the factory in Minsk.’” That is how he began to recruit his ‘troops’, he explains.
“It was a good experience for us so far,” he says. “Here, there is a different market, a different culture and different people compared to Lithuania. Especially now, people are looking for good quality tractors that are cheap. 
“That is what people like about our tractors: they are simple. You can get a tractor with a computer inside, or you can get a simpler machine that does exactly the same work, but costs less.”
Life in Ireland may involve a lot of hard work, but for Jagelavičius it’s certainly worthwhile. And with all the travelling, the scenic values of the country have not escaped him, either.
“For me personally, Ireland has been great,” he says. “The landscape is beautiful, with mountains and other beautiful places. I have travelled all around. My family and I, we have travelled up and down, left and right. I can say we probably know Ireland better than some people who have lived here all their lives.”
Only a day after arriving back from a trip abroad, it is business as usual for Jagelavičius. He is on the road again, and the car’s mileage keeps climbing. “Even today I am going to Athlone to see a farmer about selling him a tractor.”
Jagelavičius is optimistic about the future – if all goes to plan, he is hoping to sell 150 tractors this year – and from speaking with him, one would be excused for thinking that his business is recession-proof. The ethos of ‘less is more’ at a time when people are thinking very carefully about where they will spend their money seems to be paying off for this businessman.

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