Africa holds the key to ensuring a sustainable food supply, but only if a new vision for agriculture is developed, harnessing both the expertise of the private industry sector and the knowledge of local communities. TransFarm Africa already has unparalleled expertise and local knowledge of African agriculture.
It is now strengthening its commitment to the continent with investments in number of initiatives, which are aimed at creating employment, helping to develop infrastructure and improve mechanization, as well as providing wider access to education and training. In Kampala, Uganda TransFarm Africa has created a new 150ha (330 acre) Model Farm and Learning Center, where it is putting its development commitment and ideas into action. This centre offers education and training to African farmers, at all levels, to provide a better understanding about soils, agronomy, crop protection and mechanisation techniques to boost sustainable productivity.
TransFarm Africa’s eventual aim is to transfer the knowledge and infrastructure being developed at the Ugandan Model farm and Learning Centre across Africa. Exporting the core knowledge and expertise from Uganda will help establish the ‘Future Farm’ concept to provide further education and agricultural development across the continent. At the same time the project aims to ‘pull in’ other partners with TransFarm Africa to help develop the much-needed infrastructure and supply industry. Appropriate farm mechanisation is seen as the key to unlocking Africa’s agricultural potential. Investment in farm machinery technology accompanied, importantly, by education will provide the catalyst for rural development. Farm machinery boosts efficiency and helps increase yields, while also relieving workers from the drudgery of manual labour currently employed in many areas to cultivate the land and tend crops. The TransFarm Africa Global Learning Centre will help empower farmers in Africa to improve their food production levels.
As Africa’s population is set to rise to two billion by 2050, the need for mechanization, training, service and support for small and medium scale farmers has never been greater. Small to medium scale farmers with limited access to modern farming will benefit from training courses ranging from basic agronomy to general mechanization. Large scale farmers will be offered training on high specification tractors and harvesting equipment, including precision farming technology. Also, given the importance of minimizing post-harvest loses, visitors to the center will see the latest in grain handling and storage techniques from TransFarm Africa’s GSI product range.
Uganda can increase food production by improving access to finance, up-scaling farm mechanization and the training of small and medium scale farmers. Construction of the Learning Centre is expected to be completed by mid 2014. The facilities will include a range of classrooms as well as a number of troubleshooting and service areas, all well equipped with the latest technology. The service areas will be large enough to accommodate combines, tracked and wheeled tractors. Farmers will get hands-on experience by working with the latest machinery. The TransFarm Africa Model Farm will be divided into a wide range of demonstration crop areas to be planted, cultivated and harvested using TransFarm Africa’s diverse range of equipment.
The training facility is designed to effectively accommodate a full range of customers, from small scale producers up to large, commercial farmers. Equally, local university students studying toward an agricultural degree will be brought onto the Learning Centre including our farms over a school break / internship and provided with practical experience in such areas as farming operations, dam surveying, calibrating sprayers and analyzing trial maize results. Over time, we intend to expand and enhance training offered to students.
Through our involvement in school programmes we are able to identify potential talent early on. We can cultivate the next generation of farm management for our businesses from within the local communities, and become a source of training and employment opportunity.