Six months ago, founder and chairman of the Bahle Zondo Foundation, philanthropist and entrepreneur Dr Bahle Zondo walked into the AGCO Africa office announcing that he would like to set up a successful agribusiness in his community of Msinga.
Zondo had just walked into the home of a strategic partner towards the empowerment of emerging farmers and achieving food security in Africa.
On 29 May 2019, the foundation marked a milestone in scaling up operations through mechanisation during a handover ceremony of the Massey Ferguson MF 5710 tractor on one of its farming sites in Mkhuzeni, Msinga.
“The women were pleading for more job opportunities with the school’s feeding scheme,” explained Zondo who is always keen to find solutions for his community. “It was impossible for all these women to be employed by the school.”
He had to find an alternative that would utilise their skills to restore their dignity and empower them with the means to sustain themselves and families. Zondo established the uMsinga Farming Project by merging three informal cooperatives on communal land with sites varying from two to 50 ha in size.
Based on soil analysis and site visits by the AGCO team together with Drakensburg Agricultural Services (DAS) – a Massey Ferguson dealer in the region, Zondo was advised to purchase the MF 5710, known for its ease to operate and dependability. The MF 5700 series comes in 3 models -5708, 5709, 5710; 92 hp to 102 hp (61 - 76 kW). Powered by 4 cylinder engines, the series is available in 2WD and 4WD axles.
Nuradin Osman, vice-president and general manager at AGCO, noted, “AGCO understands that the future of farming in Africa rests heavily on small scale farmers and the emerging middle class. Our mission is a development strategy: Empowering African Farmers.”
The tractor was handed over by Leon Rohrs, Managing Director of DAS. Being a farmer himself, Leon knows the challenges and needs of local farmers first hand and has been key to AGCO’s 28.2% market share in the region of northern KwaZulu Natal, in just under a decade.
The handover ceremony was attended by iNduna Zuma and iNduna Ntuli representing the local chief, iNkosi Majozi. Other AGCO businesses GSI – responsible for grain storage facility; Sparrex, suppliers of approved AGCO replacement parts & accessories as well as AGCO’s distributor in Southern Africa, BHBW – A Barloworld BayWa Company were represented at the event.
AGCO, together with DAS, aims to provide advisory and mentoring on agronomy practices, technical support and product aftercare and link uMsinga Farming Project to support services within the industry.