Mr Ibrahim Gourouza-Magagi, Grow Africa’s Chief Operation Officer met with the Managing Director of the SSA John Deere Headquarters, Mr Jacques Taylor who was joined by a visiting delegation of Directors from various offices of John Deere in the United States of America.
The meeting noted the importance of mechanisation as a crucial input for agricultural crop production as well as the significant contribution that it can make to the development of value chains and food systems in rendering postharvest, processing and marketing activities more efficient and effective.
The engagement yielded positive outcomes with the identification of areas of mutual interest and collaboration. The John Deere delegation showed a great deal of interest in Grow Africa’s continental footprint and the work being undertaken in strengthening prioritised value chains in several countries through established Multistakeholder Platforms (MSPs).
Of particular interest was the following: The support Grow Africa is providing to rice MSPs in West Africa to contribute to the bigger goal of attaining rice self-sufficiency in the region by 2025; the business case study conducted in the pineapple value chain in Benin and commercial opportunities identified along the potato value chain in East Africa. In this regard the discussions were centered on finding suitable entry points for developing a joint partnership between Grow Africa and John Deere in advancing the aforementioned value chain developments.
Capacity building in the form of providing education and training for smallholder farmers, particularly in the area of mechanisation was also identified as a key point of collaboration. A commitment was made to continue discussions on this matter in order to identify a tangible project that can be undertaken.
Managing Director, Jacques Taylor, felt strongly that John Deere can contribute positively to the agricultural development and rural transformation in Africa and would to this end welcome opportunities to build strong, Pubic Private Partnerships across the continent.
Going forward, Grow Africa and John Deere will establish a formal platform of engagement that will be utilised to advance the identified areas of collaboration as well as to explore new avenues to elevate the discussions on issues related to mechanisation, value chain enhancement and private sector involvement in agriculture