Africa Industrialization day strives to bring global media awareness to the challenges that face Africa’s progression towards becoming a more industrialized nation. In 1989, the United Nations general assembly proclaimed November 20th as Africa Industrialization Day. The observation of this day is managed by The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). UNIDO is heavily invested in assisting Africa with its continued development of new technology, infrastructure, and mechanization.
As we explore ways to support our growing population, many believe that Africa may hold the key to finding a solution. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), 15% of the world’s arable land is located in Africa. As of today, it is estimated that 86% of this land remains unutilized. However, through training in efficient farming practices and technology, farmers in Africa can be enabled manage this fertile land. In order for professional farming to succeed in Africa, governments and members of the private sector must work together and invest in Africa’s future.
AGCO understands the potential solutions that Africa may provide in our mission to address global food scarcity. That is why we are committed to investing USD 100 million for the development of Africa’s agriculture. AGCO’s Zambia model farm and training center will teach general mechanization to small and medium scale farmers, and provide training to large scale farmers on how to operate high specification tractors. Jason Burbidge, our General Manager of AGCO Zambia, states that “While there is no one solution to address food production and food security, AGCO is right at the heart of a sustained and carefully planned effort, developing capabilities that will help ensure farmers know how to produce food efficiently and responsibly.”
There is no doubt that growing Africa’s agricultural sector will be challenging. Earlier this year, AGCO hosted its first Africa Summit. Discussions took place about the challenges facing Africa’s agriculture, and ideas for managing them were shared. We look forward to reporting back on the progress that we and our partners have made for Africa’s agriculture.
Africa’s population grows towards 2 billion people, it is evident that further industrialization and development in agricultural must take place for the country to sustain itself. In order for this to happen, commitments must be made by governments and organizations globally. Learn more about AGCO’s contribution to sustainable development in the 2011 AGCO Sustainability report (page 41).
Here’s another example of how waste can be reduced on the farm!
Farm sustainability via use of organic fertilizer.
Our farm has been practicing sustainable agriculture for its obvious economical and environmental benefits. In attaining this sustainability, we utilize the goat’s manure from the barn as organic fertilizer in the orchard. Through this approach, we capitalize the organic fertilizer’s versatility and robustness in improving the soil properties through multi-pronged ways structurally, biologically and nutritionally. In addition to fostering improvement in the quality of soil, this method averts the relying on chemical fertilizers.
With orchard nourished organically, the farm nurtures itself as a promoter of organic farm products, keeping tab with the increasing worldwide demand of this niche, which has been growing steadily at a rate close to 9% annually for the past decade. Higher demand converts into competitive pricing and therefore, boosting the farm’s revenues, and placing it a competitive position for organic supply niche.
In 1979, the Food and Agriculture Association of the United Nations (FAO) proclaimed October 16th as World Food Day.
Today is a global observance designed to raise awareness and understanding of different approaches to ending hunger. Food is a wonderful thing, and thanks to new technology and innovation in farming practices, farmers today are able feed around seven billion people globally! However, because our population is growing at such a fast pace, there are still roughly a billion people around the world that do not get enough food. This means that almost 1 in 7 people go to bed hungry every night. As our population has grown, hunger has become an increasingly prevalent issue. World Food Day seeks to remind us of this challenge, and also spotlight the different ways in which we can help the farmers tasked with overcoming it. Every year, World Food Day is accompanied with a theme. Last year, the theme was “Food prices- from crisis to stability.” This year, the theme is “Agricultural Cooperatives- key to feeding the world.” As many farmers know, an agricultural cooperative is a member owned organization which allows farmers to pool all of their resources into different areas of activity. According to the FAO, agricultural Co-ops are fundamental in providing solutions to the hunger problem because they allow smallholder farms to negotiate better prices for resources such as seed, fertilizer, and equipment. Take for example one of AGCO’s customers, Agrifirm. Agrifirm is a Dutch cooperative that serves over 17,000 Dutch farmers and horticulturists. They offer “maximum purchasing advantage of high quality products like animal feeds, seeds, fertilizers and pesticides.” In addition to product purchasing power, Agrifirm also offers knowledge and sustainable solutions to its members. Cooperatives such as Agrifirm allow farmers to access to knowledge and equipment that will help boost farm productivity at a lower cost. The more that small scale farms are able to produce, the better they will be able to support their local regions. This is why the U.N believes agricultural cooperatives to be a key element in providing for our world. It is no secret that farmers are faced with a huge task in supplying food, fiber and fuel for a rapidly growing population. It will not be easy—but with the proper resources, continued advances in technology, and widespread participation—it will be possible. Learn more about world food day, and see how you can help make a difference!
Maintaining farm sustainability for a small agribusiness
Sinar Utara Agrofarm (SUA), a small Malaysia-based farm that breeds over 100 goats and is host to a six-acre plantation orchard has always been an advocate of farm sustainability. We started this focus some four years ago. Central to this effort is our emphasis on a zero-waste concept. On our farm, the zero-waste concept is driven by recycling elements, which is acutely orchestrated through effective farming dispositions.
Here, the waste or residue from sugar cane and Napier grass are turned into compost used to maintain the soil humidity during hot or drought season. As the country resides within the tropical climate demography, embracing hot and humid season throughout the year, this practical approach is highly beneficial. The residue, made up of organic matters, self decompose into nutrient-rich compost which makes it a fitting conditioner that keeps the soil moist. Mobilizing the farm-generated materials back into its operating fold truly defines SUA’s ratifying commitment to sustainable farming. It has also benefits the farm by keeping the expenses at a minimum, bolstering optimization of resources, and aiding creation of healthy farming environment.
Today AGCO proudly published our first global sustainability report. The report describes our approach to enhancing the sustainability of our business processes and global agriculture. It presents data supporting the strategy and updates progress towards change. “At AGCO, sustainability is vital to our vision to offer high-tech solutions for farmers feeding the world,” said Martin Richenhagen, Chairman, President and CEO of AGCO. “We are in a very unique position to impact sustainability along the manufacturing and agricultural value chains. We developed our approach to provide the best impact to both.”
In 2011, AGCO kicked off a comprehensive corporate sustainability initiative. We developed a plan to invest in projects and program development in areas that will reduce operating expenses, develop revenue opportunities, and reduce operating risks.
We are already working to design and develop solutions that address the evolving needs of farmers and reduce environmental impacts. The report, which aligns with the Global Reporting Initiative™, includes company accomplishments such as:
- Downstream-focused innovation: In 2011, AGCO directed $275.6 million to research and engineering, a 25.5% increase over 2010.
- Operations: Among AGCO’s largest wholly-owned sites, more than half are certified to ISO 14001 and/or the EU Eco-Management and Audit Scheme. Going forward AGCO will monitor and report energy use by source and develop an energy management program that drives efficiency and cost saving across its organization.
- Supplier relations: AGCO released the company’s Supplier Code of Conduct to build and strengthen relationships with preferred suppliers that support quality, environmental stewardship and high labor standards.
During the first half of 2012 AGCO began building the structures to drive accountability for our performance. AGCO’s development and progress will be disclosed yearly in our sustainability report.
The full report can be accessed at http://www.agcocorp.com/company/sustainability.aspx.