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Bringing Storage Technology to Life in Mkushi, Zambia

By Louisa Parker, Manager External Affairs, Africa & Middle East

central province_b2b_demo

In June Bags2Bulk held its first demonstration day showcasing the bulk storage technology to grain traders. GSI Africa and the installation team worked tirelessly to have the demo unit ready for the event held In Mkushi which was well attended. It was great to see the response of the traders now that they have been able to see and touch the technology as the project team was pleased to receive the local Agricultural Commissioner Mr. Luka Mwamba as guest of honour at the event.

This is the first of several demonstration events that will take place at five locations throughout Central and Eastern province in Zambia during the course of the pilot. The team is now following up on a number of sales leads and GSI is now looking at several candidates to take forward the role of sales assistant to support the project.

Speaking at the event, the Commissioner noted that he had seen the GSI technology and was impressed by what he’d seen.  He said “previously, this technology has only been available to large commercial farmers.  I am pleased that now this is available to farmers and traders both large and small.”  While he praised the technology, he was quick to state that the government supports the Bags2Bulk initiative and encourages other players in the agriculture industry to come on board.  Still, he cautioned “Of course nothing comes for free.  Financing will be key to accessing this technology.  It is good to see the banks here today.  My message to you is work hard to develop a finance solution so that the farmers can take advantage of this new technology.”  To the traders, he reminded them that farming is a business not a charity.  In closing, the Commissioner said “we look forward to seeing many shiny new silos on the small scale farms across Mkushi district in the months to come”.

For more information about upcoming Bags2Bulk events, please contact Louisa Parker:  louisa.parker@agcocorp.com.

Mkushi’s Agricultural Commissioner, Mr Luka Mwamba shakes hands with Louisa Parker of AGCO.  To their right, they are joined by Musika Central Region Manager, Mr. Mabvuto Chisi.

Mkushi’s Agricultural Commissioner, Mr Luka Mwamba shakes hands with Louisa Parker of AGCO. To their right, they are joined by Musika Central Region Manager, Mr. Mabvuto Chisi.

MF 6600 Series Wins Silver Award at Cereals 2014, UK

Massey Ferguson is delighted to have been awarded a Silver award for its MF 6600 range of tractors at the inaugural IMMA awards at this year’s Cereals event in Cambridgeshire, England.

The IMMAs are a totally new machinery awards scheme that recognises the best new farm equipment on the market today.

Campbell Scott, Director Sales Engineering and MF Brand Development EAME, and Lindsay Haddon, Advertising and Sales Promotion Manager, Massey Ferguson, UK and Ireland.

Campbell Scott, Director Sales Engineering and MF Brand Development EAME, and Lindsay Haddon, Advertising and Sales Promotion Manager, Massey Ferguson, UK and Ireland.

This new initiative organised by the Cereals Event and supported by the AEA, The Institution of Agricultural Engineers, The Royal Agricultural University and Farmers Weekly, recognises the very best in agricultural engineering.

The independent panel of judges awarded the honours based on the following criteria – Innovation, cost-effectiveness and value.

The judging panel consisted of a number of high profile names from the world of agriculture: Professor Dick Godwin, Harper Adams University (soils and cultivation); Professor Toby Mottram, Royal Agricultural University (robotics); Peter Redman (IAgrE); Prof Paul Miller, NIAB (sprayer expert); Phillip Clappison, Farmers Weekly Contractor of the Year; Roger Lane-Nott (AEA) and David Cousins, Farmers Weekly.

Massey Ferguson submitted their entry back in April, in a comprehensive application that was co-ordinated by Lindsay Haddon, Advertising and Sales Promotion Manager for Massey Ferguson in the UK and Ireland. The package included not only technical information, but supporting collateral such as video, images and customer testimonial.

The MF 6600 award was highlighted by the following closing statement “Ruggedly powerful engines and intelligent design ensure all models in the MF 6600 range have a high power-to-weight ratio for extraordinary all-round machine ability and agility in all applications. The Massey Ferguson DNA clearly runs through the MF 6600 range, with the same familiar, contemporary styling and a presence that makes every Massey Ferguson tractor stand out from the crowd.”

The judging panel clearly agreed!

 

AGCO Bag2Bulk Roadshow Kicks Off in Central Province, Zambia

By Louisa Parker, Manager External Affairs, Africa & Middle East

Central Province Bag2Bulk roadshow - March 2014 018

To support AGCO’s new partnership with USAID on the Feed the Future Partnering for Innovation project in Africa, the first kickoff Bags2Bulk Roadshow event was held in May and attended by grain traders from Central Province in Zambia.  Working with our Zambian distributor GSI Africa and local partners Musika and Ybema Grain Services, we were able to share details of the Bags2Bulk project and educate the traders on the benefits of moving from bagged storage for maize and soya to bulk storage via the GSI technology.  Benefits will not only be gained by the mid-size trader, but pass along to the small farmer as well – in the forms of reduced grain loss and better grain quality for longer storage periods allowing the trader to sell when the timing is optimal.

Traders received short presentations from a number of supporting organisations including two of the largest grain commodity traders in Zambia. The larger traders are keen to see this shift from bag to bulk as it also improves the efficiency of their operations. Ultimately, it means they can buy and sell more maize in a season also. For smallholders, the benefits are threefold 1) improved connections to the market, 2) greater transparency on pricing, 3) being able to recycle their grain bags and use them more than once.

Of course, we learned as much from the traders as they learned from us.  We got a much better understanding of the challenges they have with logistics, commissioning trucks, aggregating the harvested maize from the small holders and trading their harvest in time to hit the trading season all while monitoring the quality of the grain they are trading.  All of these aspects can be improved by moving to bulk storage and adding a portable auger.  Additionally, they’ll enjoy the added bonus of dramatically reducing post-harvest losses which continues to plague Africa today.

Next stop, Mkushi, Zambia.  Central Province Bag2Bulk roadshow - March 2014 013

AGCO Partners with USAID to Introduce New Technologies to Zambia

Louisa Parker from AGCO kicks off first Bag2Bulk roadshow with the Mkushi District Commissioner Mr Luka Mwamba and Mabvuto Chisi from Musika.

Louisa Parker from AGCO kicks off first Bag2Bulk roadshow with the Mkushi District Commissioner Mr Luka Mwamba and Mabvuto Chisi from Musika.

AGCO is pleased to announce that we’ve partnered with USAID on a project  in Africa. USAID’s Feed the Future Partnering for Innovation program, the U.S. government’s global hunger and food security initiative which supports country-driven approaches to address the root causes of hunger and poverty. Through this Presidential initiative, the United States is helping countries transform their own agricultural sectors to grow enough food to sustainably feed their people. The idea is to take new technology into new markets. In this project, called Bag2Bulk, AGCO will be introducing GSI Africa (our local GSI distributor) to mid-sized grain traders in Zambia.

To complement AGCO’s current long-term vision in Zambia, over the next 18 months, AGCO and our partners will hold select activities at the AGCO Future Farm in Lusaka. These events will provide education and demonstrate the benefits of our GSI storage technology. Additionally, topics by our partners will cover grain marketing best practices, financing and more. The goal is to sell a minimum of 40 metal grain silos to grain traders in Zambia which will benefit some 12,000 smallholder farmers who represent 80% of the maize production in the country. Since current on-farm storage options and off farm facilities are sub-optimal resulting in annual post-harvest losses of over 30% from insect, rodent and rot, the grain quality of will not only improve overall trade prices, but will allow traders to handle cereal crops more effectively, store for longer periods of time and sell when prices are optimal.

AGCO’s project partners are:

  • Musika is a Zambian non-profit company that works to stimulate private sector investment in the smallholder market.
  • Sierk Ybema Grain Services is a grain management training and development provider.
  • GSI Africa, our local GSI distributor.

Look for updates following these exciting events from Louisa Parker, Manager External Affairs, Africa & Middle East.

Pink Cat Inspires Passion Among Young Farmers in Finland

Pink Cat

Valtra’s Unlimited Studio has created a pink tractor that is all about “passion”, which is this year’s theme among the Young Farmers of Finland, an organisation of MTK (Central Union of Agricultural Producers and Forest Owners). The theme is reflected in both the interior and exterior styling of this customised tractor, which has been dubbed “Pink Cat”.

Options and features of the Pink Cat are designed together with Young Farmers representatives and Valtra Unlimited Studio. The tractor is a four-cylinder N163 Direct with stepless transmission. The specs include bright pink taping, red leather upholstery, chrome headlight surrounds, chrome exhaust, chrome mounting rack on the roof, chrome grill guard, alpine horns on the roof, LED auxiliary work lights, breath alcohol ignition interlock, a top-end stereo and DVD player, a stainless steel mirror on the ceiling of the cab, rim guards made out of chrome-plated sheet metal, iPad and an Auto-Guide readiness system. The tractor itself boasts 171 horsepower, 700 Nm of torque, a 50 km/h transmission and 160 litre per minute load-sensing hydraulics.

Pink Cat will appear at Young Farmers’ events throughout Finland, beginning at the Okra fair in Oripää on 4 July. The tractor will visit all Finnish provinces before returning to its roots in Central Finland at the KoneAgria fair on 11 October. Pink Cat will be accompanied at these events by a customised trailer featuring a hot tub and terrace. After the tour the tractor will be offered for sale to customers just like any other demo tractor.

Pink Cat features:

  • Pink taping
  • Red leather upholstery
  • Chrome exhaust, headlight surrounds and grill guard
  • Alpine horns and auxiliary lights on roof
  • Breath alcohol ignition interlock
  • Top-end stereo and DVD
  • Stainless steel mirror and LED lamps on cab ceiling
  • Auto-Guide readiness system

Want to create the tractor of your dreams? Contact your local Valtra dealer about Valtra Unlimited.

N163Direct_Unlimited_Pink_Cockpit_350