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PLATINUM SPONSOR INTERVIEW: “The opportunities for growth are immense, it only needs some investment and farmers with courage to take ‘the bull by the horns’.”

Exclusive interview with Wayne Wiid, Executive Country Manager, AFGRI, platinum sponsors at Agritech Expo in Chisamba in April.

1)    Welcome back to Agritech Expo! We are thrilled to have you back. How was your experience at the event?
The fact that we upgraded our level of sponsorship to Platinum status speaks for itself, doesn’t it? AFGRI is proud to be associated with the AGRITECH Expo, the level of professionalism in the hosting of the Expo needs to be commended.

2)    What would you consider as particular highlights for AFGRI as a business during 2015?
The financing solutions which have been put in place for Zambian farmers (either small scale or commercial) are a great pride and joy for AFGRI.

Small scale farmers can be financed through the John Deere Financial/Zanaco/ZNFU/AFGRI scheme while commercial farmers can be serviced through John Deere Financial/Stanbic.

3)    Any exciting new products or projects that are in the offing for this year?
We will be launching the new John Deere 5042C tractor. This is a 42HP tractor which will be ideally suited for the emergent farmer. The costing of the tractor will be very competitive and we are convinced that this tractor will help drive mechanization within Zambia.

Through our financing partners (John Deere Financial and Stanbic) we will be offering very attractive financing packages, especially on combines. Commercial farmers will be pleasantly surprised at the rates offered.

4)    Zambia’s agricultural sector is facing some challenges currently, including the drought – your thoughts in how the agri community can overcome these challenges?
It isn’t only the drought which is posing a major challenge for the farmers, high interest rates, strengthening of the US$ and electricity issues are also contributing to the current woes of the farmers. Farming is cyclic and we will have to “ride this downfall out”, perseverance is key.

It isn’t all doom and gloom, there are some positives. The open border policy of the government on the sale of commodities is a massive boost for the economy.

5)    What makes the agricultural sector in Zambia exciting?
The opportunities for growth are immense, it only needs some investment and farmers with courage to take ‘the bull by the horns’. There is a vast pool of emergent farmers that can be developed in order to take them to ‘the next level’.

6)    How important is Agritech Expo as an annual forum for the farming sector in this region?
This is an absolute unique event, farmers of all spheres of life can and will find products suitable to his/her own requirements at the Expo. Whether you are a small scale, emergent, commercial or corporate farmer you will be able to get value by visiting the Expo.

7)    What will be your message at Agritech Expo this year?
Farmers and visitors are welcome to visit AFGRI’s exhibit and come and talk with experts in their fields. Representatives of the following product range supplied by AFGRI will be present:
•    John Deere
•    Rovic Leers
•    Lemken
•    Amazone
•    JCB Agricultural Range

Naturally AFGRI’s own staff within Equipment and Grain Management will also be on hand to meet and assist the farmers of Zambia.