American agricultural equipment manufacturer, AGCO, has revealed plans for further development of its Future Farm project in Zambia, a facility designed to accommodate small, medium and large scale commercial farmers.
The move was announced at a 150 hectare farm outside Lusaka by Gary Collar, AGCO Senior Vice President and General Manager for the Asia Pacific and Africa (APA) region and Future Farm Senior Manager, Kalongo Chitengi, during a groundbreaking ceremony attended by Her Royal Highness Senior Chieftainess Nkomeshya Mukamambo II; Chongwe District Commissioner, Mr. Robster Mwanza and Doreen Bailey, Political and Economic Section Chief at the US Embassy in Zambia.
Upgrades for Phase II of the project will include the construction of student and staff accommodation with 24 rooms, communal amenities such as a canteen that sits over 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 also include upgrades to the existing road and farm infrastructure and digitizing the mechanization and agronomy training material to ensure that this knowledge is accessible even to farmers in remote parts of the continent.
Guests were welcomed by Nuradin Osman AGCO Vice President and General Manager, Africa who emphasized the significance of AGCO’s Africa strategy to empower the continent’s farmers as global Agri-preneurship shifts focus to see Africa as the answer to global agricultural expansion and food security.
This 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 conceptualized 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.
“African Governments must look at agriculture beyond the development agenda, but rather as a profitable industry that can boost the region’s economy,” explained Nuradin Osman.
Zambia’s government has identified Agriculture as central to its job creation and poverty alleviation strategy as the sector employs over 70% of the population and contributes 19% of the country’s GDP.
“I am so pleased that this development is happening in my chiefdom, for which agriculture is the main occupation,” noted her Royal Highness Senior Chieftainess Nkomeshya Mukamambo II.
The cutting edge training facility was first launched in 2015 with an initial investment of $9 million and is designed to demonstrate the value of mechanization and best agronomy practices for both small and large scale commercial farming operations.