This was announced on 31 July 2019 at the 150 ha farm outside Lusaka by Gary Collar, AGCO senior vice-president and general manager for the Asia-Pacific and Africa (APA) and the Future Farm senior manager, Kalongo Chitengi, during a groundbreaking ceremony at the US Embassy in Zambia.
Upgrades for Phase II will include the construction of student and staff accommodation with 24 rooms, communal amenities such as a canteen that sits more than 80 people and an Insaka homestead – a traditional complex of grass gazebos with a central courtyard to encourage interactive learning.
The second phase of the Future farm will include upgrades to the existing road and farm infrastructure and digitising the mechanisation and agronomy training material to ensure that this knowledge is accessible even to farmers in remote parts of the continent.
The initiative is in line with AGCO’s vision for its business operations in Africa to develop and support a sustainable food production system, increase farm productivity by implementing modern farming techniques and develop a range of training courses for farmers, machine operators and dealers.
“When we conceptualised the Future Farm, our aim was to be a catalyst in the development of a sustainable and prosperous agricultural industry across the continent, with innovative solutions built around the needs of African farmers,” explained Gary Collar.
While a project such as the Future Farm is committed to advancing African farmers to be owners of profitable agribusinesses, AGCO understands that the private sector cannot achieve a sustainable agricultural sector in Africa alone. There are other constraints slowing the speed of progress in Africa that need to be tackled in parallel with the governments.
“African governments must look at agriculture beyond the development agenda as a profitable industry that can boost the region’s economy,” explained Nuradin Osman, AGCO vice-president and general manager for Africa.
The government of Zambia has identified agriculture as central to its job creation and poverty alleviation strategy as the sector employs more than 70 per cent of the population and contributes 19 per cent of the country’s GDP. The government is engaged in projects aimed at increasing the volume and value of agricultural outputs produced and sold, particularly by smallholder farmers.
The training facility was first launched in 2015 with an initial investment of US$9mn and is designed to demonstrate the value of mechanisation and best agronomy practices for both small and large scale commercial farming operations.