Posts Tagged ‘zambia’
Earlier this month, we introduced you to Richard Chapple, Farm Manager at the AGCO Future Farm in Zambia. Today, we’d like to give you another glimpse into daily life at the farm by introducing Martha Chishala, Training Centre Coordinator.
Martha plays an integral part in keeping things running smoothly at the Zambia Future Farm. Her role includes organizing training events and ensuring everything related to training is in order—from updating trainer schedules, to ordering supplies, to coordinating work visas.
She was on hand at the official launch of the Future Farm on May 27. “The official opening event was exciting, as there were so many great presentations and demonstrations of what AGCO plans to do in Africa and change the way of farming and agriculture,” she says. “It encouraged us all to embrace mechanised farming.”
Martha joined the AGCO Future Farm team in May of 2015, but she has already seen the impact it has had on the community. “The farm has created jobs for the local community and supports projects such as Chikumbuso Women and Orphans project, and it teaches children at a young age about the values of agriculture,” she says.
The farm faces many challenges, such as the area’s low water table, which can only sustain one winter crop per year. But Martha finds it rewarding to be part of this new age of farming, and she is learning that there is more to agriculture than just putting seed in the ground.
“I see a generation of farmers and changed mindset in regards to agriculture,” she says. “Growing up in Zambia we believed farming was for the uneducated, rural based-based older folk—something people do after retirement. I never considered a career prospect, but with empowerment through knowledge, all that is changing.”
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.
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.”
What 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.”
By Amanda Wemette
Several recent news stories have highlighted a sobering statistic that global food production must increase 50-70 percent by the year 2050 to feed a projected population of 9 billion people. From tech firms and tech investment firms, to governments and a recent book entitled The End of Plenty, the public is beginning to rally behind an issue long familiar to those in the agriculture industry – we must do more with the land we have.
Around this subject, popular topics often include:
- The usage of fertilizers
- Water usage
- Big Data
- And more
Yet precision farming technology is often conspicuously absent in these discussions about how technology will help the planet become more productive. Those in the food and fiber production industries know technology plays a critical role in the future of agriculture. Diamond V®, an all-natural animal food manufacturer, cites “…food production must be the world’s new high-tech industry. An estimated 70 percent of the future increases in food production capacity need to come from new and improved agricultural technologies.” A recent study by the Boston Consulting Group also confirms the importance of precision farming for the future of agriculture.
Precision farming technology helps growers maximize productivity and increase uptime. It’s about increasing yields and reducing inputs through careful monitoring and optimization. Companies like AGCO have identified precision agriculture products and services as critical components for business success, and—more importantly—for successfully feeding the world. AGCO reaffirmed this mission with the launch of Fuse® Technologies in 2013.
Farm technology today is addressing pressing concerns such as labor shortages and environmental factors. For example, automatic guidance helps growers reduce overlaps and skips in the field, helps reduce operator fatigue and enables longer working hours. Telemetry and fleet monitoring help farmers optimize their machines and their operation as a whole. Downtime is reduced through logistics coordination and by carefully monitoring machine health. Growers can work smarter, not harder to grow more with what they have.
Guidance and telemetry are just two among many solutions available to farmers today that help them to be more productive. There are numerous solutions currently available, and future capabilities are limitless, especially as Silicon Valley and tech investment firms take notice. AGCO is thinking beyond more traditional opportunities too. The company is a proud partner in the Farm2050 initiative, which is dedicated to advancing the future of food through supporting AgTech entrepreneurs and startups. AGCO is also working to increase agricultural production in previously under-utilized lands, leading with the Future Farm opening in Africa, which includes precision farming offerings.
Advancing precision farming technology not only leads to increased efficiencies – it also leads to increased sustainability by reducing waste. For example, farmers apply fertilizers and pesticides in a purposeful manner based on crop need, instead of uniformly spraying an entire field.
There is no “silver bullet” to solve our agricultural challenges. Precision farming solutions are but one component of a very complex system, and should be included in the broader discussion as the public, the media and the technology sector take an interest in the challenge to feed our world.
Amanda Wemette is a digital marketing specialist for AGCO’s Advanced Technology Solutions group, focusing on delivering the Fuse Technologies message to customers, dealers, employees and investors. Connect with Amanda on Twitter @AmandaWemette.
 According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization
By Dr. Bernhard Schmitz
AGCO’s Fuse® Technologies strategy and precision farming products were presented during the recent Future Farm opening in Zambia. Visitors learned about AGCO’s technology offerings that are currently available for the future farm:
- All technology enabled machines were equipped with Auto-GuideTM
- All technology enabled machines were equipped with AGCO’s telemetry system, AgCommand®.
- The open approach of the Fuse strategy was perfectly demonstrated with the presence of Precision Decision next to the Fuse tent. Precision Decision offers services around precision agriculture such as soil sampling.
The Future Farm perfectly showcases AGCO’s open approach by exemplifying how different agricultural business partners are brought together to connect and demonstrate the best farming practices for Africa.
To follow the latest updates about the Future Farm, connect with @AGCOcorp on Twitter and follow the hashtags #FutureFarm and #AGCOAfrica.
Dr. Bernhard Schmitz is a Commercial Manager for AGCO’s Advanced Technology Solutions group, focusing on Fuse precision farming products for the EAME region.
We have a vision to change the future of farming. In 2013, we planted the seed for a Future Farm and training center to empower the world’s farmers with education, training and technology. This month, the first AGCO Future Farm officially opens in Zambia. The state-of-the-art facility includes a mechanized solutions center, a grain and poultry learning center, and training programs focused on products, machines, business management and farming best practices.
AGCO has a strong commitment to agriculture in Africa. The Republic of Zambia is landlocked, bordered by eight neighboring countries. Its central location coupled with an economic focus on farming (agriculture accounts for 21.5 percent of the nation’s GDP) makes Zambia an ideal place for AGCO’s Future Farm prototype.
The Future Farm concept will develop a sustainable food production system that is able to increase farm output by utilizing Africa’s agricultural resources more efficiently. The Zambia center will facilitate agricultural support services to enable knowledge and increase food production on other area farms.
And Future Farm Zambia is more than just a training facility—it’s also a working farm. In 2015, 70.22 hectares were planted with maize, soybeans, sunflowers, sun hemp and other crops. The farm’s expected yields this year include 7.5 tonnes/hectare of maize and 1.4 tonnes/hectare of soybeans.
In addition to area farmers, local organizations will benefit from the Future Farm as well. AGCO Zambia has supported the Chikumbuso Women and Orphans Project in Lusaka, which provides free education for children, adult training and community building programs. The Future Farm donates soybeans and maize to help the project’s feeding program and kitchen enterprise.
In addition, AGCO Zambia supports the Chalimbana Youth project in partnership with the Africa 4H Council and Future Farm Partners. As part of this project, younger children learn agricultural practices and grow food for their families through an Enterprise Garden, and older participants learn to start and sustain small agro-enterprises through an entrepreneurship group.
The AGCO Future Farm project has the potential to have a significant impact through a range of agricultural solutions, such as crop protection, precision farming, seeding and fertilizing, and strong partnerships will be key to its success. Additional Future Farms partners include AquaCheck, Bayer Crop Science, Harper Adams University, Musika, GCS Water Management, Seedco, University of Zambia, Valley and Yara.
“I believe we have a unique opportunity to develop a new vision for how small, medium, and large-scale farmers can develop not just in Zambia, but throughout the region,” said Mark Briggs, director of Precision Decisions Zambia Limited and also Co-Chair for the Future Farm Partners Steering Committee. “The idea of having a group of experts, not just from the manufacturing sector but also service sectors, engaged in developing products and services, offering training to farm workers, managers and, indeed, individuals working in the broader agricultural arena, is very exciting.”
What does the future hold for the Future Farm? Stay tuned to our blog or follow @AGCOcorp on Twitter for updates from Zambia and other AGCO initiatives around the world.