Rob Smith, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Europe, Africa and Middle East; H. E. Joaquim Alberto Chissano, Former President, Republic of Mozambique; Christian Schmidt, Federal Minister of Food and Agriculture, Germany; H. E. Sir Quett Ketumile Joni Masire, Former President Republic of Botswana and Martin Richenhagen, AGCO Chairman, President & CEO at the AGCO Africa Summit 2015. (Photo: Business Wire)

The fourth AGCO Africa Summit held in Berlin on Jan. 19 promoted the idea of agriculture as a business as opposed to “a development agenda.”

Martin Richenhagen, Duluth-based AGCO’s chairman, president and CEO, said in a news release that “ensuring food security is the top priority for many African governments who struggle to afford imported food for their rapidly growing populations while significant amounts of their arable land is not sued.”

He added that the summit was focused on developing partnerships across the value chain. “We each have an important role to play — governments, the private sector and development agencies.”

The summit also showcased the “Future Farm Concept,” the company’s strategy on advancing farming know-how and improving distribution networks.

AGCO’s Future Farms are to give local farmers and AGCO dealers hands-on training experience with leading edge agricultural equipment and practices.

They are to have a new state-of-the mechanization center, a poultry learning center and a grain handling center, which the release says, are “each a first of its kind for Africa.

A grand opening is to take place in May for a Future Farm already fully operational in Zambia. Others are planned for key African markets, primarily in Francophone countries.

Rob Smith, AGCO senior vice president and general manager for Europe, Africa and the Middle East, said that “Africa represents an important future growth market for AGCO and we are putting sustainable mechanization at the core of our strategic investments.”

AGCO invested $350 million and committed some six years of research and development into its Massey Ferguson Global Series, a new product line of 60-130hp tractors which are to ultimately be assembled at multiple manufacturing sites and are to be sold in Africa and elsewhere.

“For AGCO, ‘sustainable mechanization’ means designing our products for the African market environment and building them locally,” Dr. Smith said. “it also means providing professional training for operating, maintaining and servicing our machines, and first class support through out extensive dealer network and parts supply in Africa.”

The following dignitaries attended this year’s H.E. Joaquim Alberto Chissano, former president of Mozambique; H.E. Sir Quett Ketumile Joni Masire, former president of Botswana and Christian Schmidt, Germany’s federal minister of food and agriculture.

Joining AGCO in sponsoring the summit were Bayer CropScience, DEG — Deutsche Investitions – und Entwicklungsgesellschaft and Rabobank.