AFGRI Ghana establishes 10 model farms to boost mechanisation

Ghanaian mechanised agricultural equipment supplier AFGRI Ghana Limited says it has established 10 model farms to teach local farmers the correct ways of using mechanised equipment to maximise on crop yields per hectare.

The company, which is a leading supplier of John Deere farm equipment in Ghana, also plans to export its wide range of products to other countries in West Africa and beyond.

Addressing a recent fishing and farming awards ceremony in the capital Accra, AFGRI Ghana Country Manager Gerrie Jordaan said they will provide capacity building to enable farmers to plan their mechanisation needs, as well as how to find, operate and service essential farm equipment such as tractors.

“The lifetime for most tractors here in Ghana is about 5 years, but the lifespan of a tractor elsewhere could range from anything between 15 and 20 years. We need to educate farmers to take good care of their equipment, so that it can last longer,” Jordan said.

He said the 10 model farms in 5 provinces are expected to help improve yields through better soil preparation and the adoption of modern crop management techniques. The company has since created a credit facility called John Deere Financial to provide low-income farmers with loans to acquire the John Deere brand of mechanised equipment.

“We created the model farms to teach and demonstrate to the farmers that with correct mechanisation, they can use the same input costs to get better crops. Farmers normally yield 1.5 tons to 2 tons per hectare when using traditional ploughing means, but in our model farms, we have been able to get up to 8 tons of crops per hectare,” he said.

KCM plc announces partnership to implement scalable agribusiness alongside its copper mining operations in Zambia

Konkola Copper Mines plc (“KCM”), a subsidiary of Vedanta Resources plc, has joined forces with AFGRI Agri Services, part of AFGRI Group Holdings, and ImpactAgri (Holdings) Ltd to develop agribusiness in Chililabombwe, Zambia.

Speaking at the launch of the initiative, KCM CEO Steven Din said: ‘KCM is one of Zambia’s leading mining companies, but our vision for opportunities on the Copperbelt extends beyond mining. We want to see the creation of new enterprises and new industries that will provide better local sourcing options for our business and greater economic opportunities for Copperbelt residents. That is why we are forming a partnership to develop agribusiness in the region.’’

The aim of the collaboration is to develop agricultural and agro-processing, and in so doing to create employment and protect the ecosystem adjacent to KCM’s mines. The initiative is a core pillar of Vedanta’s vision to help transform the Copperbelt into a strong and resilient regional economic hub that can sustain livelihoods even when copper prices are low.

1,500 hectares of land are initially being set aside for development in Chililabombwe, using AFGRI’s and ImpactAgri’s signature approach to agribusiness, which combines both inclusive farming methods and environmental best practice. A mixture of both high-value and commodity crops will be grown to cater for the local market and to penetrate higher value export markets. The implementing partners aim to create a truly sustainable, commercial, large-scale agribusiness that can deliver strong and positive economic and social impact.

Jon White, CEO of ImpactAgri, said: ‘’Often one of the biggest obstacles to developing agricultural projects in Africa is access to clean water in sufficient quantity. Thanks to the surplus of clean water coming from KCM’s Konkola mine, we have a perfect opportunity to develop local farmers into serious agri-preneurs as part of an organised large-scale, farming system.’’

Vaughan McTaggart, Managing Director of AFGRI Agricultural Development Services (ABBA) said: “We are excited to be joining forces with KCM and ImpactAgri to further our passion for catalysing agricultural production across Africa. We are confident we can make a meaningful contribution to local economic development and food security in Zambia.’’

Agritech Expo Zambia turns 5 this year

Agritech Expo Zambia will take place from 12 to 14 April 2018 at the GART Research Centre in Chisamba. The expo returns to Zambia for the fifth time and promises new features, more country pavilions, and more free training opportunities.The event is expected to attract more than 22 000 visitors, with more than 270 local and international exhibitors, 3 500 large-scale farmers and 150 members of the media. The expo remains free to visitors that pre-register.


Country pavilions from France, Germany, Zimbabwe, Czech Republic and Finland have been confirmed.
“Thanks to the support of the farming community in Zambia, but also in the region, Agritech Expo Zambia has been established as a marketplace for regional and international industry professionals, young agripreneurs and farmers of all scales, to come together in 1 location to conduct exclusive agribusiness transactions while being educated on the latest global industry trends to advance into the next generation of food production,” says Emmanuelle Nicholls, Event Director.


The Zambia National Farmers’ Union (ZNFU) is the owner of the event and President Jervis Zimba says “it is our belief that Agritech Expo, which has become the biggest agricultural showpiece in Zambia, will continue unveiling new ideologies and technologies relevant to the growth of our farmers not only in Zambia, but also beyond, that will help lift the poor majority out of poverty; the push behind the creation of the expo. With this in mind, we are expecting an even bigger Agritech Expo in 2018.”



Mowing and baling demonstrations
For the first time, Agritech Expo will be showcasing live mowing demonstrations. This new demo area is focusing on quality mechanisation for mowing purposes and will give farming professionals the opportunity to view this equipment in action.

Aquaculture showcase
Aquaculture is a growing market in Sub-Saharan Africa and the expo will be showcasing the regions’ most prominent players in this field.

Live planting demonstrations
These demonstrations will provide the opportunity for companies to practically demonstrate how products work.

Greenhouse showcase
A first-hand opportunity to see the effects and benefits of using a variety of seeds with fertilisers and pesticides to maximise yields.

Value added zone
Boosting commercial opportunities for farming operations by featuring the latest industry trends and solutions on ways to improve quality and enhance yields.


Machinery demonstrations
An exciting attraction and a great display of versatility and capability by leading machinery suppliers.

Construction park
Offers visitors a selection of quality construction equipment to suit their agricultural needs.

4×4 test track
Gives visitors the opportunity to test their skills or simply be driven around the track and experience the capability and manoeuvrability of high-end utility vehicles.

Crop trials
Visitors are able to view the yields of seeds from a variety of seed producers and respective agro-chemicals companies.

Energy park
Introduced in 2016 and offers innovative ways to get off the grid amidst the power crisis unfolding in the region.

International pavilions
Agritech has become an internationally acclaimed event, boasting over 39 countries being represented onsite year on year. In 2018, the expo expects to feature over 10 international country pavilions featuring products and solutions from global industry leaders.

Indoor expo
Showcases a variety of local and international agricultural suppliers looking to expand their footprint in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Irrigation zone
Displays a variety of irrigation systems and farming solutions, including centre pivot displays for commercial and small-scale farmers from leading industry suppliers.

Livestock zone
Incorporates various breeders who display their livestock services, species of livestock including goats, cows and sheep, as well as animal feeds and veterinary services.

Centre pivot display
Agritech Expo Zambia is the first agriculturally focused event in Africa to showcase a live centre pivot as part of the show.

AgriTeach workshops
This year the AgriTeach interactive training workshops are launched, presented by industry experts and focused on modernising small-scale farmers. AgriTeach provides access to market information, practical demonstrations and innovations from the latest financial loan models to new agricultural solutions.

Large-scale farmers seminars
Focusing on innovative solutions and initiatives to increase productivity under challenging market conditions.

SME zone
A cost-effective designed area for local based companies to participate in the event and to engage with farming professionals, without having to create a large display area.

VIP Business Lounge
Specifically geared for VIP farmers, government officials, policy makers and media officials to network and conduct meetings, directly with suppliers to the market and vendor companies.

Afgri and John Deere are returning as platinum sponsors with Gourock, SARO and Ursus confirmed as gold sponsors.

The expo is organised by Spintelligent, a Cape Town-based trade exhibition and conference organiser, and the African office of Clarion Events Ltd, based in the UK.

Vodacom Bulls team to face DHL Stormers in Wellington

Snyman, Smit to start for Vodacom Bulls


Springboks RG Snyman and Roelof Smit will both start for the Vodacom Bulls on Saturday in Wellington when they face the DHL Stormers in a Vodacom Super Rugby friendly.


Snyman has returned from his club duties in Japan recently and Smit, who proved his fitness off the bench last weekend against the Cell C Sharks in Polokwane after an injury lay-off, will both be keen to make an early statement to Vodacom Bulls coach, John Mitchell.


The duo represented the Springboks against the British Barbarians in 2016 in a match played in London and both could play significant roles in the Vodacom Bulls pack as Mitchell moulds his squad for the forthcoming Super Rugby tournament.


The coach made a number of rotational changes to the side that played the Cell C Sharks in Polokwane last weekend, with the halfback pairing of Andre Warner and Marnitz Boshoff starting and Embrose Papier and Manie Libbok reverting to the bench.


Only Divan Rossouw (fullback), the midfield pairing of Burger Odendaal and Johnny Kotze, Hanro Liebenberg (loose forward) and lock Ruben van Heerden has been retained from the starting team, with a host of players who came off the bench in Polokwane now getting a run-on opportunity in the Wellington clash.


“A number of players who did not start last weekend get a change to do so this week and will get some valuable game time under the belt,” Mitchell explained.


“We are still building towards the start of the competition and our performance will be work in progress towards that. We know we are playing against a very capable side, but that is the whole purpose of matches like these. There is nothing on offer, but so much to learn for both sides.”


Kick-off in Wellington is at 16h00.

The squad is: Divan Rossouw, Andell Loubser, Johnny Kotze, Burger Odendaal (c), Duncan Matthews, Marnitz Boshoff, Andre Warner, Jano Venter, Hanro Liebenberg (v/c), Roelof Smit, RG Snyman, Ruben van Heerden, Conraad van Vuuren, Jaco Visagie, Pierre Schoeman. Replacements: Adriaan Strauss, Lizo Gqoboka, Frans van Wyk, Lood de Jager, Marco van Staden, Thembelani Bholi, Embrose Papier, Manie Libbok, JT Jackson, Dries Swanepoel, Jade Stighling, Franco Naude.