AGCO, a worldwide manufacturer and distributor of agricultural equipment, held the second annual AGCO Africa Summit in Berlin. The Summit is a joint initiative of AGCO, Bayer CropScience, DEG – Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH and Rabobank.

“Africa’s population is set to rise to two billion by 2050,” said Martin Richenhagen, AGCO Chairman, President and CEO. “But food security in Africa is by no means where it needs to be to face this challenge. It is a global responsibility to develop agriculture in Africa to meet the growing demand for food security and better nutrition.”

The AGCO Africa Summit highlighted the needs of the African continent and discussed the challenges of today’s agriculture with regard to the world food supply problem, declining arable land base and rapid population growth. The participants stressed the great potential of Africa to help to resolve these problems. Guest speakers included Prof. Dr. Horst Köhler (former Federal President of Germany), John Agyekum Kufuor (former President of the Republic of Ghana), and Olusegun Obasanjo (former President of Nigeria). Panelists included Jose Condugua Antonio Pacheco (Minister of Agriculture of Mozambique), Dr. Baba Dioum (Coordinator General of the Conference of Ministers of West and Central Africa) and Stephen Hayes (President and CEO of the Corporate Council on Africa) – among others.

The AGCO Africa Summit gathers politicians, CEOs and industry experts to help Africa move in the right direction by developing a new vision for agriculture and sustainable investments. To meet the growing needs of Africa’s rapidly growing population, farm productivity must increase. Africa is estimated to hold more than 60% of the world’s remaining uncultivated arable land. This untapped reserve of farmland holds the key to ensuring a sustainable food supply. “Large areas across Africa have suitable soil and climate for farming, but are not used,” explained Richenhagen. “We need to support agricultural mechanization in Africa to create better food security.” African farmers need more modern mechanized farming techniques to enhance their productivity level. Higher productivity and efficiency will help African countries become less dependent on imported crops, thus increasing the degree of self-sustainability.

During the past year, AGCO has already taken strategic steps to expand its presence in Africa: AGCO opened a Global Learning Center and Future Farm in Zambia that allows local farmers and dealers to be trained on modern farming technology. Farmers can benefit from a wide range of training classes and get access to professional farming equipment. AGCO also built a new Parts Distribution Center in Johannesburg to better serve customers in Sub-Saharan Africa and opened a regional office in Cape Town. AGCO established a joint venture operation with local partners in Algeria to manufacture Massey Ferguson tractors for the African market as well. Just one month ago, the tractor production started. In addition, AGCO is working on a variety of projects to improve its distribution network in West and East Africa.