AGCO is proud to support the OIC International Youth Investment Summit: The Road to Economic Growth, held in Accra, Ghana last week.
At the event Louisa Parker, Manager Institutional Funding and Stakeholder Relations, Africa & Middle East, presented details of exclusive research that shows how young people are transforming agriculture across the world.
Commissioned by Massey Ferguson – AGCO’s global brand – the report highlights how a New Generation of young people is choosing farming as a career, because it offers a bright future. Young people’s enthusiasm, energy and optimism, says the report, is combined with a growing demand for food across the world. This open-minded New Generation is ready to embrace the opportunities that come their way.
The research also shows that across the world younger farmers are taking over family farms and revolutionising the way they are operated. Countries such as Brazil and China and those in Africa are at the forefront of this change.
AGCO, through Massey Ferguson, already has unparalleled expertise and local knowledge of African agriculture, which it has amassed over many generations. It is now strengthening its commitment to the continent with investments, totally $100 million, in number of initiatives, which are aimed at creating employment, helping to develop infrastructure and improve mechanisation, as well as providing wider access to education and training.
In Lusaka, Zambia AGCO has created a new 150ha (330 acre) Model Farm and Learning Centre, where it is putting its development commitment and ideas into action. This centre offers education and training to African farmers, at all levels, to provide a better understanding about soils, agronomy, crop protection and mechanisation techniques to boost sustainable productivity.
AGCO’s eventual aim is to transfer the knowledge and infrastructure being developed at the Zambian Model farm and Learning Centre across Africa. Exporting the core knowledge and expertise from Zambia will help establish the ‘Future Farm’ concept to provide further education and agricultural development across the continent. At the same time the project aims to ‘pull in’ other partners with AGCO to help develop the much-needed infrastructure and supply industry. Appropriate farm mechanisation is seen as the key to unlocking Africa’s agricultural potential. Investment in farm machinery technology accompanied, importantly, by education will provide the catalyst for rural development. Farm machinery boosts efficiency and helps increase yields, while also relieving workers from the drudgery of manual labour currently employed in many areas to cultivate the land and tend crops.
This is highlighted in the song ‘Youth In Agriculture’, written and performed by the MEGA Fame Foundation, an NGO from Ghana. The catchy tune and memorable lyrics aim to convey the message that a country’s health and development largely depend on farming; and by taking an active role in agriculture young Africans can help in the fight against hunger. The music video to promote the song and message was filmed using the support and resources of Massey Ferguson’s Audio Visual team at the Model Farm and Learning Centre in Zambia. The lively video shows the band performing with help from young farm staff and village children. The video, which was screened at the Summit, can be viewed here.
Elsewhere across the continent, AGCO initiatives are creating a wide range of new jobs with on-the-job training, as well as improving the infrastructure and support for farmers. Local assembly of Massey Ferguson tractors for the African market has now started with a joint venture operation in Algeria. This has already created a wide range of jobs at all levels – from highly trained engineers through to trainees. It is also boosting the local economy and offering further employment opportunities through the value chain.
Meanwhile AGCO continues to invest in developing its own business and facilities in the region and has recently built and opened a new Parts Distribution Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa as well as a new regional office in Cape Town. It is also working on a variety of projects to improve its distribution network in North, West and East Africa.