An American, New York-listed Agriculture Company (AGCO) plans to invest over $6million at a 150 hectare farm and learning center at the former agri-flora farms in Lusaka along the great east road.
AGCO which is a global leader focused on the design, manufacture and distribution of agricultural machinery supports more productive farming through a full line of tractors, combines, hay tools, sprayers, forage equipment, tillage, implements, grain storage and protein production systems, as well as related replacement parts.
The company which is worldwide manufacturer and distributor of agricultural equipment will invest over $10million in the next 10years at the Global Learning Centre to help empower farmers in Africa to improve their food production levels.
Construction of the Learning Centre is expected to be completed by mid 2013 and the facilities will include a range of classrooms as well as a number of troubleshooting and service areas, all well equipped with the latest technology.
Farmers will get hands-on experience by working with the latest machinery and the Model Farm will be divided into a wide range of demonstration crop areas to be planted, cultivated and harvested using AGCO’s diverse range of equipment.
The training facility is designed to effectively accommodate a full range of customers, from small scale producers up to large, commercial farmers.
Speaking at a launch of the 150-hectare farm model and academy global learning centre project vice president Dr Guy scot has observed that Zambia needs long term agriculture investment like AGCO which will yield long term profits and benefits for the investors and the indigenous Zambians.
However Dr Scot says Zambia must not overlook the problems which the agriculture sector is facing like low productivity, cost of farming inputs and the need for environmentally and social responsible way of practicing it.
Meanwhile Dr Scot has disclosed that there is over 800,000 land under the settlement scheme which will require investment and investors must take note of the availability of the land for agriculture relate investment.Speaking at the same launch of the 150-hectare farm model and academy global learning centre project AGCO Senior Vice President, General Manager FOR Europe, Africa and Middle East Hubertus Muehlhaeuser says AGCO is committed to growing its presence within Africa by investing in distribution infrastructure and new training sites like the one planned for Zambia.
Mr. muehlhaeuser says the centrality of Zambia’s location and sound investment policies will make his company well positioned to effectively serve the local farmers and the rest of the surrounding region and plans to invest US $100 million in Africa in the coming years.
He says As Africa’s population is set to rise to two billion by 2050, the need for mechanization, training, service and support for small and medium scale farmers has never been greater and Small to medium scale farmers with limited access to modern farming will benefit from training courses ranging from basic agronomy to general mechanization.
Mr. muehlhaeuser says Large scale farmers will be offered training on high specification tractors and harvesting equipment, including precision farming technology adding that given the importance of minimizing post-harvest loses, visitors to the center will see the latest in grain handling and storage techniques from AGCO’s GSI product range
He says Zambia can increase food production by improving access to finance, up-scaling farm mechanization and the training of small and medium scale farmers.
And United States of America ambassador to Zambia mark storrela says the coming of AGCO to Zambia is a sign that American investors and the rest of the world is noticing of the good existing business environment within the country.
Mr. Storrela says 0ver 70 American companies have been asking about the possibility of investing in Zambia and are considering the possibility of coming to explore opportunities existing.
the 150 hectare farm and learning center is expected to begin its operations by september this year and will begin with at least 20 student farmers.