Mr. Christian Schmidt, Federal Minister of Food and Agriculture, Germany
The Uganda Embassy was honoured to join international leaders as they shared innovative approaches to further the development of the agricultural sector during the 6th AGCO Africa Summit that took place on 23rd January 2017 at the Adlon Kempinski Hotel in Berlin, Germany.
The Summit, whose theme was "Organizing Farmers of the Future" was officially opened by Mr. Christian Schmidt, Federal Minister of Food and Agriculture, Germany and covered the following topics: (1.) How to secure maximum 'value' from value chains for the farmers that participate in them; (2.) How to align agribusiness and farmer based organizations as co-creators of rural wealth through agricultural development; and (3.) How the youth and information and communication technologies (ICT) can as a driver of change, catalyse new ways of organizing the Farmers of the Future.
Since its premiere in 2012, the AGCO Africa Summit has established itself as an important institution for discussing critical issues impacting Africa's agricultural development. This conference of international character attracted CEOs, industry experts, diplomats, and political leaders with a common interest to accelerate the development of African agriculture with a strong focus on networking, information exchange and an emphasis on building lasting business partnerships.
What sets the AGCO Africa Summit apart from other agricultural conferences is that it has a strong focus on private sector driven agricultural growth, promoting the idea of agriculture as a business and not a development agenda.
In his opening remarks, Mr. Christian Schmidt called for the need to have in place political strategies and actions to boost agriculture in Africa. He pointed out that the agriculture sector is a key generator for employment and innovation. He said the goal was to provide food for everyone in an ecologically sustainable manner while at the same time promoting growth.
The focus of panel topics and discussions included engaging with practical real-life examples of leading edge projects and initiatives that are already making an impact and which others can learn from.
H.E. Christian Wulff, Former Federal President of Germany spoke about a new perspective on the relationships between Europe and Africa. He said, "I believe that it's no longer a dream that there will be open trade between Europe and Africa." He called for the spirit of global partnerships and local cooperation, knowledge transfer and sustainability.
Dr. Rob Smith, SVP and General Manager of Europe and Middle East of AGCO informed the participants that AGCO had so far trained over 1,000 African farmers since it opened its training centre in Zambia.
Hon. Senzeni Zokwana, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry & Fisheries, South Africa called on investors to consider investing in Africa, saying, "We believe that Africa is a home for investors." He called for the need to raise international awareness for the requirements of the agricultural sector in Africa with a strong focus on commercial agriculture, as well as on specific interests of key players throughout the value chain including producers, suppliers, manufacturers, processors and the market.
Amb. Elsie Kanza, Head of Africa World Economic Forum, said, "Our aim is to enable countries to realize the potential of agriculture for economic growth."
Dr. Theo de Jager, President Pan Africans Farmers Association, said: "No one is as vulnerable because of climate change as farmers. But on the other hand, no one else can do more about it."