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Meet Richard Chapple, Farm Manager at AGCO’s Future Farm in Zambia

In recent posts, we shared our vision for the AGCO Future Farm concept, and in May we celebrated the official opening of our first Future Farm in Lusaka, Zambia. Today, we’d like to introduce one of the team members making this project successful: Farm Manager Richard Chapple.Richard Chapple

Originally from the UK, Richard came to Zambia in November 2008 to visit family, but he was offered a job running a flight charter company and stayed. With a background as an agricultural contractor in the UK and experience sub-contracting combines in Zambia on behalf of a company called African Harvesters, he was a natural fit for AGCO and joined the Future Farm team in 2012.

Although every day on the farm is different, a typical morning for Richard starts at 7:30 a.m., when he has a meeting with his team of 32 workers. They allocate jobs based on what is planned for the day, from spraying programs to planting a variety of crops around the farm.

The Zambia Future Farm includes a state-of-the art facility designed to accommodate both small-scale and large commercial farmers, as well as education and training programs to provide hands-on experience with technology and utilize Africa’s agricultural resources more effectively. Chapple says this is reassuring to local farmers. “No matter what tractor you’re driving, it’s all about the support you’re receiving.”

Chapple has been involved with the Future Farm project since its inception in 2012, and he said the team experienced a great sense of achievement at the official launch on May 27. “In a small space of time, we’ve done a huge amount of work,” he said. “It’s like a jigsaw puzzle and all the pieces came together.”

Planting on the Future Farm_Richard ChappleWhat does Chapple find most rewarding about his job? “For me, it’s development, and not just of the farm itself,” he said. “When we took over the farm, we also took over the workforce that was here already. It’s the personal development of the workforce on the farm, the capacity building, and getting better relationships. I’ve learned a fair bit, as well.”

Zambia has huge potential in terms of resources to be tapped, and Chapple appreciates the opportunity to play a role the development of agriculture in the country. “I’m very excited and happy to be a part of it.”

 

Bishop blesses refurbished MF tractor bound for work in Tanzanian village

A Massey Ferguson tractor refurbished by students attending the AGCO agricultural engineering apprenticeship scheme at the UK’s Moreton Morrell College in Warwickshire is set for work in the village of Tunguli, Morogoro in Tanzania.

The tractor gift project is being spearheaded by the Diocese of Worcester which has a friendship link with the Diocese of Morogoro.. Prior to being shipped to Tanzania, the MF 265 tractor was blessed at a special ceremony at Moreton Morrell College performed by The Right Reverend Dr John Inge, Bishop of Worcester. Also in attendance at the ceremony was Steve Wood, Chairman of the College Board of Governors.

tanzania

“The fully-reconditioned tractor will make an enormous difference to the lives of people in Tunguli,” said Bishop John. “We would like to thank AGCO, its student apprentices and the College for their help with this great project.”

AGCO, Massey Ferguson’s parent company, has been running its Dealer apprenticeship training scheme in partnership with Moreton Morrell College since 1999. Over the last 18 months, AGCO student apprentices have been rebuilding the MF 265 as part of their course work, transforming the 30-year-old model into a good-as-new tractor, ready for use.

“We were delighted to donate the major parts for the refurbishment and for our apprentices to test out their skills and knowledge in overhauling the tractor for this very worthy cause,” comments Tony Linfield, AGCO Training Development Manager.

The AGCO Apprentice Scheme is open to young agricultural engineers aiming to progress into positions within AGCO farm machinery Dealerships across the UK. Course lengths range from 15 months to two years with 12-24 weeks’ block release at Moreton Morrell College. On successfully completing the courses, students receive Work-Based Diplomas in Land Based Service Engineering.

My experience as AGCO‘s Africa Ambassador at Africa Summit 2015

Written by: Jean Kaahwa, AGCO Africa Ambassador 2015

AGCO Africa Summit 2015On the night of 16th January 2015, I said warm goodbyes to my immediate family and they wished me all the best in Berlin, Germany. As I set off to the airport I kept having flashbacks of my journey in the agriculture sector from the time when I was dreaming of turning that idle swamp into a productive fish farm, how the dream materialized, my growth in the agribusiness sector and eventually heading to Berlin as AGCO‘s Africa Ambassador for 2015.

I travelled from Uganda via Istanbul and was received warmly by a gentleman in Berlin. I was amazed at the beauty and scenery of the city that met me. At the hotel I bumped into Sue Musunga Chuzu, who was AGCO‘s first Africa Ambassador in 2012, and I immediately felt at home.

I later met the warm and friendly AGCO team and AGCO Africa Ambassador 2014, Joy Jelimo Chelagat as well. Joy and I toured Berlin together the next day and also visited the Africa Summit venue.

On the morning of the 4th AGCO Africa Summit I was nervous. However, I received some encouraging words from Mr. Nuradin Osman, Managing Director Africa and Middle East of AGCO, and Dr. Amrita Cheema, one of the moderators of the conference, just before the program started.

Looking at the conference agenda made me feel like I had to listen to every word spoken as I found the topics and presentations practical, applicable and contextual for the smallholder farmers like me in Africa. Read the rest of this entry »

My AGCO Ambassador Experience at Africa Summit 2014

Written by: Joy Jelimo Chelagat, 2014 AGCO Africa Ambassador

Joy Jelimo Chelagat, AGCO's 2014 Africa Ambassador

Joy Jelimo Chelagat, AGCO’s 2014 Africa Ambassador

On the 15th of January at 5:00 am in the morning I drove to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on my trip to Berlin, Germany. Just five months before I had seen a competition online for an ambassadorship opportunity. Having only a week to the deadline, I was pretty sure that my chances were slim, but I decided to apply anyway.

To my surprise, the AGCO team got in contact with me. A few Skype interviews later I was informed that I could represent Africa at the annual AGCO Africa Summit in Berlin. Two months passed by fast and I was aboard a plane heading to Germany. The trip was long and the weather was a stark difference from the sunny Nairobi climes, but the warm welcome of the team in the Adlon Hotel made me feel at home.

The day after I arrived I hit the ground running. I had a meeting with a team of AGCO people to prepare for the activities scheduled. It was only our first meeting yet they were very friendly and resourceful. I also met Sue Musunga Chuzu, who was the first AGCO Africa Ambassador and who works now as Marketing Services Specialist at AGCO in Zambia. She shared her experiences with me and gave me some presentation tips for moderating the conference.

Agriculture is Universal

One of my tasks as Africa Ambassador was to represent AGCO at the International Green Week fair. The “Grüne Woche”, as the Germans call it, is an agricultural trade show that attracts exhibitors from around the world. Together with Marco Prehn, Sahra Malin, Sue Chuzu and Philip De Leon from AGCO we talked to numerous people about what the company is doing in Africa. One thing was evident during the fair: agriculture is a global concern. Even though the visitors and exhibitors were from far flung corners of the globe, they all came together in one place for once cause: agriculture.

The night before the AGCO Africa Summit we had an exclusive dinner with the conference‘s speakers and the top brass of the AGCO team. The room was full of exceptional people who had done great things for the African continent. From the conversations we had that evening, I could tell that the summit would be full of wonderful insights. As I woke up that Monday I was fully charged for the conference.

African Solutions

Walking into the conference hall, the excitement was palpable. You could see crowds of people huddled together immersed in conversation. You could spot top decision makers of key sectors of the agricultural industry. As the program kicked off, I was slightly nervous but as we moved along I eased up. Each speaker rose to the podium with wonderful ideas about the improvement of the agriculture industry in Kenya and on the African continent.

The speakers and panelists talked about their activities in Africa and about what they plan to do in days to come. Robert Sichinga, Agriculture Minister of Zambia, riled the crowd when he passionately explained why solutions to African agriculture have to be African. Another topic that got the audience excited was the appeal to make agriculture “sexy” for it to attract young people. Several speakers also emphasized the issue of innovation. Thus by the end of the full-day event I was more convinced than ever that agriculture is not only the present but also the future for Africa.

Yet, my trip was not all business. I had several opportunities to shop and tour the German capital. Berlin is a beautiful city with rich history: I visited the Brandenburg Gate, Checkpoint Charlie and the Holocaust memorial. Another highlight of the trip was the opportunity to meet and make friends with remarkable people from all around the globe.

All in all, this journey was an inspirational and eye-opening experience. I was able to see how small-scale innovations in the field have a global impact on food security. The importance of efficient production, transportation and distribution was also brought home. At the end of the trip I felt charged to take up my role as AGCO Africa Ambassador for the year 2014.

Introducing #AG4Good: Powering the Future

AGCO has proudly partnered with the Zambia 4-H project to help prepare Africa’s children to meet urgent global needs, including hunger, sustainable livelihoods and food security. By 2015, 4-H will equip 250,000 young people in Sub-Saharan Africa with the knowledge and skills needed for improved, sustainable livelihoods. Click here to learn more about the #AG4Good initiative on our Facebook page.
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