Since its launch in 2018, the Africa Agribusiness Qualification (AAQ), an Africa-focused junior management program, has continued to increase the pipeline of agri-professionals in Africa, helping to address challenges in the continent’s agriculture and food systems. The first cohort of the AAQ program took place in Kenya for 24 months and served as a great vehicle to make a direct, sustainable economic impact on communities by building capacity and developing young people’s skills in Africa’s agri-food sector.
Building on the success of the first AAQ cohort and alignment to its strategic pillar, “Advancement of Quality Education in Agriculture”, the AGCO Agriculture Foundation (AAF) launched the second cohort of the fully funded AAQ program in South Africa. This programme has provided an avenue to impart technical skills, business, leadership and agricultural knowledge to young practitioners and entrepreneurs in South Africa’s agricultural sector.
Twenty participants embarked on a year-long AAQ cohort two programme in September 2021 at the official opening session at the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) Johannesburg campus, where project and technical partners shared insights into the programme content and outcomes.
In the last year, the AAQ trainees have undertaken practical classes and field activities covering modules on personal and business leadership, farm management, crop production systems, nutrition and protection, mechanization, precision technology and other technical and business-related modules around agricultural production, storage, marketing and sales.
From the classroom to the field, workshop experience to agro-industry training and farm exhibition experiences, the program trainees have gained skills and knowledge across the value chains of agriculture. Bayanda Vincent Maseko, an AAQ participant, shares how the program has honed his skills and how he looks forward to better contribute to the agribusiness sector in South Africa.
“The impact of the AAQ program has been life-changing. I have been equipped with leadership, better decision-making, team management and self-development skills. Beyond the certification from this program, I’m excited about advancing my agricultural career and agribusiness journey using the skills and knowledge gained from the program.”
As part of the program activities, participants attended training events at the AGCO training centre in Kestell and Cerealis Technology Institute, where they undertook tractor operator and product training, precision agriculture. In addition, they interacted with the implements, advanced software and precision agriculture tools at the centre.
Magunya Kalimashe, an AAQ participant said, “The best part of the program for me was the precision agriculture and mechanization module held in Heidelberg and Kestell respectively. The training was both theoretical and practical. Seeing the machines, getting to touch and operate them complimented the theoretical training giving a clear understanding of things.”
Gugulethu Mahlangu, another participant, added, “I enjoyed the Kestell experience the most because I was in awe and thoroughly impressed throughout the week of the training. It was fascinating to know that AGCO produces advanced machinery and implements that put the farmer first and enhance efficiency in daily farm operations”.
She added, “Until the exposure from this program, it felt like I lived under a rock and didn’t know that such amazing brands are booming in Africa.”
The trainees attended agricultural shows and exhibitions where they interacted with industry experts, farmers, and other stakeholders in the showcase of machinery and technologies that are changing the African agriculture landscape. Visits to the AGCO Africa office in Johannesburg also gave the participants an insight into AGCO’s farmers-first strategy, brands and how AGCO Africa is positioned to serve farmers in Africa.
Gugulethu, who documented her experience in the program on her social media platform, said, “The program has gotten much interest from fellow farmers, students and working professionals because of all the social media posts I have made about AAQ.” She adds, “Most people I engaged with on social media were curious about AGCO machines. During the Twitter FarmSpacesAfrica mechanization talk, which I hosted, there was very good engagement as I shared about my learning experience interacting with AGCO machinery during my training in Kestell.”
As AGCO Corporation works to help make today’s farms more productive, sustainable and profitable, the Foundation’s AAQ program is dedicated to bolstering food systems in Africa by providing emerging farmers and young professionals with the knowledge and tools to establish and maintain economically viable agricultural businesses.
In line with this, the AAQ trainees have been introduced to various aspects of modern agriculture, including mechanized and climate-responsive strategies to enable food production in a complex and changing world.
As the second cohort of the Africa Agribusiness qualification wrap-up their training, the AAQ trainees are excited to continue to share their learning experiences ,technical, business, leadership and management skills acquired with young professionals and stakeholders in the Agribusiness sector.
After completing the modules, the participants will graduate in March 2023. This not only reflects the hard work that the students have put in but also how AAF strategic funding and partnerships with GIBS Business School, Harper Adams University, technical support from AGCO Corp, in Africa and Cerealis Technology Institute in South Africa are shaping agri-food systems in Africa.
About the AGCO Agriculture Foundation (AAF)
The AGCO Agriculture Foundation (AAF), initiated by AGCO Corporation (NYSE: AGCO) in 2018, is a private foundation with the vision to prevent and relieve hunger. The foundation initiates impactful programs that support food security, foster sustainable agricultural development and build needed agricultural infrastructure in marginalized farming communities. AAF is domiciled in Vaduz, Liechtenstein and operations are managed from Duluth, Georgia, USA. For more information, please visit https://www.agcofoundation.org/
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 help farmers sustainably feed our world. Founded in 1990 and headquartered in Duluth, Georgia, USA, AGCO had net sales of $11.1 billion in 2021. For more information, visit www.AGCOcorp.com. For company news, information, and events, please follow us on Twitter: @AGCOCorp. For financial news on Twitter, please follow the hashtag #AGCOIR.