AGCO (NYSE: AGCO), a global leader in the design, manufacture and distribution of agricultural machinery and solutions, has held its fourth annual AGCO Africa Summit in Berlin, Germany. The Summit is a joint initiative of AGCO, Bayer CropScience, DEG – Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft and Rabobank.
Rob Smith, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Europe, Africa and Middle East; H. E. Joaquim Alberto Chissano, Former President, Republic of Mozambique; Christian Schmidt, Federal Minister of Food and Agriculture, Germany; H. E. Sir Quett Ketumile Joni Masire, Former President Republic of Botswana and Martin Richenhagen, AGCO Chairman, President & CEO at the AGCO Africa Summit 2015. (Photo: Business Wire)
This year’s Summit focused on how we can all become better partners for Africa as well as highlighting Africa’s agricultural advancements driven by the private sector – promoting the idea of agriculture as a business and not just a development agenda. “Ensuring food security is the top priority for many African Governments who struggle to afford imported food for their rapidly growing populations while significant amounts of their arable land is not used,” said Martin Richenhagen, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of AGCO.
“Developing strong partnerships across the value chain will be critical in achieving this goal and we each have an important role to play – governments, the private sector and development agencies. AGCO’s focus is on promoting sustainable mechanization in Africa.”
A key aspect of AGCO’s Africa strategy is focused on advancing farming know-how and improving its distribution network through initiatives like the ‘Future Farm Concept’ which was showcased at this year’s AGCO Africa Summit.
The Future Farm will give local farmers and AGCO dealers hands-on training experience and exposure to leading edge agriculture through a new state-of-the-art mechanisation centre, a poultry learning centre and a grain handling centre, each a first of its kind for Africa. The Future Farm in Zambia is now fully operational and the grand opening will take place in May 2015. AGCO plans to expand the Future Farm Concept in other key markets in Africa, initially focussing on Francophone Africa.
“Africa represents an important future growth market for AGCO and we are putting sustainable mechanization at the core of our strategic investments,” said Rob Smith, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Europe, Africa and Middle East. In May 2014, AGCO launched the new Global Series Tractor in Africa, the result of AGCO’s largest ever product investment.
In 2012, AGCO set up Algerian Tractor Company (ATC) with the Algerian Government, through L’Entreprise Publique Economique de Production de Tracteurs Agricoles (ETRAG) and L’Entreprise Publique Economique de Commercialisation de Materiels Agricoles (PMAT).
Dr. Smith explains, “For AGCO, ‘sustainable mechanisation’ means designing our products for the African market environment and building them locally. It also means providing professional training for operating, maintaining and servicing our machines, and first class support through our extensive dealer network and parts supply in Africa.”
This year’s AGCO Africa Summit turnout was phenomenal. Delegates from all parts of Africa attended the event, including H. E. Joaquim Alberto Chissano, Former President, Republic of Mozambique; H. E. Sir Quett Ketumile Joni Masire, Former President Republic of Botswana; and Christian Schmidt, Federal Minister of Food and Agriculture, Germany.
The AGCO Africa Summit has grown tremendously over the past four years. In 2014, the Summit focused on “Innovation in the Field” and presented innovative ideas and practical solutions to improve the performance of Africa’s agricultural sector. This year, the focus was on partnerships within the agricultural value chain that need to be forged to turn visions into reality.