AGCO recently held its fifth annual AGCO Africa Summit in Berlin, Germany. The Summit is a joint initiative of AGCO, Bayer CropScience, Rabobank and De Lage Landen. The 2016 Summit focused on transforming agriculture in Africa through inclusive and sustainable growth. “Africa’s agricultural revolution needs to accelerate to increase local food security and feed a rapidly growing world population,” said Martin Richenhagen, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of AGCO Corporation. “AGCO has grown its local presence by providing African farmers and African agribusinesses with comprehensive agricultural solutions. Our investments in African agriculture will help to ensure a sustainable food supply and lead to economic growth.”
There are some 60 million farming entities in Africa. Of these, 77% are subsistence farmers farming by hand, 19% are ‘small-holder’ or ‘emerging farmers’ using a small amount of mechanisation and the remainder (around 4%) are mid-sized or large-scale commercial farmers. “Africa’s agricultural revolution needs suitable mechanisation solutions for all farmers, from land preparation and harvesting right through to grain storage and protein production in order to increase their productivity and profitability,” said Rob Smith, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Europe, Africa and Middle East. For AGCO, ‘sustainable’ means designing products appropriate for African conditions; building straightforward, modern and dependable products in Africa by developing our local assembly and manufacturing footprint and training farmers and dealers through the AGCO Future Farm, together with first-class parts, service and field support through AGCO's extensive distributor network.”
To support this strategy, AGCO has developed an Emerging Farmers’ Mechanisation Package through its Massey Ferguson brand that will give emerging farmers in Africa access to modern farm equipment at an affordable price. The package features a range of Massey Ferguson tractors between 55 and 85 horsepower and a full line of accompanying implements (a harrow, plough, subsoiler, planter, trailer or transport box). The Emerging Farmers’ Mechanisation Package was tested at the AGCO Future Farm in Zambia achieving more than a three-fold increase in yield.”
“This package, you could call it a ‘Farm in a Box,’ is a testament to AGCO’s approach to combine the development of mechanisation solutions alongside human capital,” explained Rob Smith. “Inclusive mechanisation means leaving no one behind on the path to prosperity. We are working hard to ensure women farmers, young farmers and smallholder farmer families can participate and benefit from mechanisation. Inclusive means bringing all of the participants in African agriculture together on the journey to drive agricultural growth.”
A core element of AGCO’s mechanisation strategy for Africa is the AGCO Future farm initiative which provides farmers with education in core agricultural practices and trains operators, mechanics as well as local dealers on how to operate, service and maintain agricultural equipment. As part of this strategy, AGCO will break ground on a second Future Farm in Francophone Africa later this year.
During today’s summit, AGCO signed a memorandum of understanding with CNFA (Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture), an international non-profit organization headquartered in Washington, D.C., that supports businesses, foundations, governments and communities to build customized local and global partnerships that meet the world’s growing demand for food. AGCO and CNFA will jointly promote agricultural mechanisation within Africa as a critical way to improve farm productivity and food security, particularly amongst smallholder farmers. “CNFA’s vision for Africa closely aligns with our own objective to develop sustainable and inclusive growth in agriculture and we look forward to working with them as a valued partner,” concluded Rob Smith.