Mr Nuradin Osman, Director of Operations, Africa and Middle East at AGCO, started by giving an overview of his company whose vision is providing high-tech solutions for professional farmers feeding the world. With a mission to promote profitable growth through superior customer service, innovation, quality and commitment to its customers globally, ACGO, a worldwide and largest manufacturer and distributor of agricultural equipment, has core brands including Challenger tractors, Fendt, GSI, Massey Fergusson and Valtra.
Mr Osman shared a video on AGCO’s Future Farm vision which is to support sustainable food production systems and increase farm output by using agricultural resources more efficiently. The 150-hectare farm is divided into a wide range of demonstration crop areas all cultivated, planted and harvested using AGCO’s full-line of agricultural equipment, and with support from commercial and not for profit partners from across the value chain. Its facilities will include a state-of-the-art Mechanization Learning Center as well as a Grain and Poultry Learning Center, each a first of its kind for Africa.
On AGCO’s Future Farm, those supporting small to medium scale farmers with limited access to modern farming practices will benefit from a range of training courses from basic agronomy, post-harvest solutions and mechanization. Training on best practice for protein production, grain storage and precision farming technologies will target the needs of large-scale commercial farming. “For us, inclusive, sustainable mechanization means designing our products with Africa in mind. It means building our products on the continent and supporting our products and customers locally with parts from our new logistics center in Johannesburg. It means providing local farmers with education in core agricultural practices and training operators, mechanics as well as our local dealers on how to operate, service and maintain agricultural equipment.”
Mechanization is the critical ingredient to raising agricultural productivity in Africa although other constraints are slowing the speed of progress and need to be tackled in parallel. Factors include inadequate access to and use of improved seed, the right blends of fertilizers; the need for favorable trade and land policies; quality post-harvest management solutions and functional markets for harvested crops.
He talked of challenges on increasing usage of tractors per acreage to boost mechanisation in Africa. He cited that in USA, 25 tractors are used per 1000HA while 1 is used in Africa. Other challenges include: Africa has the land, but farm technology levels are very low, under-investment in farm equipment, yields well below Western levels and market remains challenged due to credit constraints.
He explained AGCO’s strategy for sustainable mechanization: 100USD$ has been invested in Africa in various projects including 3500 tractors in Joint Venture in Algeria, Global Series Tractor Launch, Emerging Farmer Package, Bags2Bulk, USD$35Million in Johannesburg state of the art parts warehouse and a USD$10Million Future Farm Concept in Zambia. He finally said that managing agriculture is very important and can lead to Africa feeding the world. 65% of the world’s arable land is in Africa but still under-utilized. Also, he emphasized the importance of attracting youth to agriculture. He reported that less than 2% of graduate in Africa are registered in agriculture and these are the future of Africa.
He concluded by disclosing that AGCO is developing a package for small scale farmers. A competitively priced mechanization package combined with strong brands, partnerships, education and distribution in all African markets is a game changer and these will include; trailer/ box, planter, disc harrow, disc plough, sub-soiler and a tractor for under $20,000.
In addition, he confirmed AGCO’s commitment in investing in Uganda and that AGCO, with partners, are planning to establish a vertically integrated poultry production which will soon be a reality.