Johannesburg, South Africa, 25 May 2021: Last year the estimated youth unemployment rate in South Africa was 55.5%. This represents a major challenge for both the education and labour sectors, specifically in terms of skills development and retention. In addition, Africa’s youth population is burgeoning, with over 60% being under the age of 35 in most African countries.

“We need to change this narrative and encourage young people to embrace agriculture by building their capability to leverage on the available agribusiness opportunities to generate sustainable incomes, build sustainable economies and achieve food security,” says Dr Dominik Reus, AGCO Managing Director: Africa.

To assist in addressing the skills gap, AGCO Africa is driving a skills development initiative under the banner of ‘Advancement in Agricultural Education’. Fully-funded by the AGCO Agriculture Foundation (AAF), the initial intake for the Africa Agribusiness Qualification (AAQ) will comprise of 20 participants.

“We believe that access to quality education and hands-on training leads to the enhancement of capacity building and skill development in farming,” says Metti Richenhagen, Director, AAF. “Almost two-thirds of the world’s arable land is in Africa, so the continent has great potential to feed itself and the global population. Through the AAQ programme, we hope to empower Africans who have a passion for the agricultural sector, particularly technical and sales representatives, who can serve as trusted partners to African farmers.”

“We are confident that once the participants have completed the course, they will be able to contribute to the agricultural industry in a meaningful, sustainable and profitable manner. We must ensure that our resources, including soils, biodiversity and environments, are well protected as we strive to achieve high quality and efficiency of production. We can achieve this by equipping talented individuals with the right range of skills and attitudes to impact the agricultural sector,” adds Dr Reus.

Commencing on 1 September 2021, the AAQ program will provide successful participants with quality agro-industry training, technical and sales skills, leadership development, agro-entrepreneurship management and work experience. Fully-funded by AAF, and implemented through the AGCO Africa Head Office in Johannesburg, the AAQ programme is facilitated through the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS), together with Harper Adams University in the UK. Furthermore, technical expertise and support are provided by AGCO South Africa and Cerealis Technology Institute in South Africa.

The AAQ is a 12-month, part-time accelerated programme targeting participants from across the continent. Activities will be hosted in South Africa and include virtual lectures (theory), field training (practical) and workplace experience. The 12-month programme will be delivered in six modules.

“The main objective of the AAQ programme is to empower participants with technical and sales skills, knowledge, training and opportunities needed to create a robust agribusiness sector for Africa,” says Dr Reus.

This will contribute to Africa’s Agenda 2063 and the following Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2030 of the United Nations: Goal 1: No Poverty, Goal 2: Zero Hunger, Goal 4: Quality Education, Goal 5: Gender Equality and Goal 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth.

The AAF is a private foundation committed to ending hunger through sustainable agricultural development. In order to extend the coverage of the AAQ programme and make it accessible to even more people, AAF and AGCO in Africa are inviting organisations and stakeholders in the agri-food value chains to support, collaborate and contribute to the programme.

AAQ Programme Timeline

  • Application opens: 25 May 2021
  • Application Closes: 11 June 2021
  • Notifications of Shortlist: 25 June 2021
  • Interviews with Selection Committee: 28 June to 16 July 2021
  • Send out Letters of Acceptance: 19 July 2021
  • Confirmation of Acceptance: 30 July 2021
  • Program Start Date: 1 September 2021
  • Graduation Date: August 2022

Online applications for the September 2021 intake are now open. Apply online today at https://www.agcofoundation.org/aaq/. Applications close on 11 June 2021.

For more enquiries about the Africa Agribusiness Qualification (AAQ) programme, please contact AAQ@agcocorp.com

Learn more about the AGCO Agriculture Foundation (AAF) at https://www.agcofoundation.org/

About AGCO

AGCO (NYSE:AGCO) is a global leader in the design, manufacture and distribution of agricultural machinery and precision ag technology. AGCO delivers customer value through its differentiated brand portfolio including core brands like Challenger®, Fendt®, GSI®, Massey Ferguson® and Valtra®. Powered by Fuse® smart farming solutions, AGCO’s full line of equipment and services helps farmers sustainably feed our world. Founded in 1990 and headquartered in Duluth, Georgia, USA, AGCO had net sales of $9.1 billion in 2020. For more information, visit www.AGCOcorp.com

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Press contact                                                                   

Shlobi Maluleke (Communications Manager, Africa)

shlobi.maluleke@AGCOcorp.com

+27 82 040 7543