A new project at the AGCO Future Farm in Zambia is going to assess the needs of smallholder farmers and agro-dealers to provide them profitable solutions.
AGCO, a global provider of agricultural solutions to farmers, is leading an 18 month-long initiative for the Alliance for Green Revolution for Africa (AGRA), which was launched in July 2017.
According to AGCO, the aim of the project is to assess the affordability of mechanisation systems, along with farming practices like conservation agriculture for smallholder farmers. It will also develop and evaluate the agro-dealer approach for supporting and training smallholder farmers.
“We will be trialling a model to establish the level of income a smallholder farmer needs to pay for mechanisation services like crop establishment,” said Mark Moore, AGCO Agricultural Advisory Manager.
At the same time, a similar trial model will also asses how much income an agro dealer must collect to supply and support surrounding smallholder farmers with services like tillage and planting contract work and supply farm input.
“By defining an initial business case for mechanisation and other products and services that small-scale farmers need to be successful, the aim is to ensure that they – and the local agro-dealer supporting them – have sustainable businesses.”
The largest part of the initiative will take place at the AGCO Future Farm in Lusaka. The 150ha farm has facilities for real-life experiences of farming systems in the region to provide sustainable and custom-developed solutions to farmers and includes a mechanisation training centre and poultry learning centre.
“Through our investment in initiatives like Future Farms, AGCO is committed to advancing and transforming African agriculture,” Nuradin Osman, Vice President and General Manager, Africa for AGCO Corporation, told delegates during the recent 2017 African Green Revolution Forum in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.
“The implementation of modern farming techniques and the more efficient use of resources empower communities to develop a sustainable food production system and increase farm productivity – thus improving local economies, helping to create jobs and inspiring the next generation to move into agriculture.”
Other partners in the project are the Harper Adams University in the UK, FutureSeeds Zambia and the University of Zambia.