Global Equipment Manufacturer, AGCO Launches ‘Farm in a Box’ Initiative to Empower Rural African Communities

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AGCO, a global US-based leader in the design, manufacture and distribution of agriculture equipment, has unveiled a pioneering initiative known as Farm in a Box (FIAB) for Africa.

FIAB is a revolutionary product that offers a package of essential farm equipment including a tractor and implements, together with the crucial support mechanisms such as parts, workshop tools, training and expertise to ensure sustainable and productive machinery operations. Some of the equipment is packed inside a box, which is in the form of a modified shipping container, and can used as an office or workshop.

FIAB was revealed at Germany’s International Green Week, an ongoing event that will run until the 27th of January, 2019.

“With this brand-new new concept, we aim to take farm mechanization plus all its necessary support facilities deep into previously underserviced rural communities in Africa,” said AGCO President, Chairman and CEO. Martin Richenhagen at the launch event.

The launch comes at a time when, in Sub-Saharan Africa, humans provide 65% of the power required for land preparation. As such, capacity-building and agricultural mechanization are a priority to facilitate food security and unlock the potential of small-scale farming in Africa.

AGCO’s FIAB is an innovative solution for small-scale farmers to gain access to the machinery they need to transform their operations and achieve profitable businesses.

“Designed to provide a holistic solution, FIAB is localized farm support center which delivers mechanization services to rural communities,” AGCO said in a statement issued this week.

Research shows that demand for machinery is high in these remote areas but barriers such as affordability, availability, maintenance, repair services and inadequate farmer skills and training are hindering the uptake of mechanization.

FIAB offers a 45 to 80 horse power tractor and implements, such as a ripper, disc harrow, trailer and planter, to carry out land preparation, planting and crop transport, plus parts and workshop tools for their service and maintenance.

The project’s objective is to offer for-hire mechanization services to small-holder farmers, enabling them to reap the benefits of agricultural equipment without having to invest in capital assets. The package includes training programs and support from a dedicated AGCO Operations Support Center which provides technical advice and guidance. Importantly, FIAB takes maximum advantage of the latest telemetry and mobile technology to enable remote monitoring of the equipment and the use of mobile apps. This high level of monitoring, support and guidance from AGCO really sets the concept apart.

FIAB has been described as an entrepreneurial platform and operates on a franchise model, with franchisees appointed and trained by AGCO and the in-country Distribution partners. Typical franchise holders would be those with relatively well-established businesses successfully serving the agricultural community within their sphere.

“The thinking behind FIAB is definitely outside of the box but the benefits literally come inside a box!” remarked Mr Richenhagen at the launch event. “It’s a win-win situation for all participants.”

AGCO believes that local communities benefit from improved economies as a result of the enrichment of the agricultural value chain. For AGCO, it leads to increases in sales of products and services and further develops the company’s footprint in Africa.

“With AGCO’s wide-ranging experience serving African farmers, the company is uniquely positioned to develop innovative solutions to meet the challenge of sustainable and productive farming on the continent,” said Mr Richenhagen.

“There is an urgent need to empower the millions of smallholder farmers in Africa to ensure food security. Tailored, inclusive and integrated approaches to agricultural mechanization can increase the welfare of farm households and create opportunities for economic growth in rural areas,” he concluded.

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