Posted 28 May 2015
“We see the focus of our farm management training as building human capital, developing the skills and competencies of both sub-Saharan African farmers and a wider range of stakeholders. While technical challenges vary around the world, the basics of good business management are transferable."
Harper Adams University was one of 12 partner organisations involved in the official launch of the Future Farm and Learning Centre near Lusaka, Zambia, this week.
The Future Farm is a new concept in Africa that aims to provide agriculture solutions for African farmers, allowing local communities to develop sustainable food production systems.
Professor Keith Chaney, Martin Wilkinson and Joseph Martlew attended the Future Farm Grand Opening on behalf of Harper Adams University to present a new approach to the development of farm management advice for emerging farmers in sub-Saharan Africa and information on how controlled traffic methods can be integrated into arable farming practice.
Harper Adams is working with AGCO to develop a farming system suitable for emergent farmers, incorporating best practice and technology to increase productivity and resilience. Alongside this, Harper Adams has already started to deliver farm business management training. To date, introductory training has been undertaken for emergent farmers, development officers and large scale commercial businesses. In future, this will be extended to incorporate more advanced levels through to postgraduate studies.
Martin Wilkinson, Senior Lecturer in Farm and Agribusiness Management said: “We see the focus of our farm management training as building human capital, developing the skills and competencies of both sub-Saharan African farmers and a wider range of stakeholders. While technical challenges vary around the world, the basics of good business management are transferable.
“The applied nature of our training means that farmers will be better placed to understand the consequences of their actions in terms of financial performance. In doing so, they can build resilience in to their farms, which is vital in these volatile economic times. Just as importantly, this builds confidence throughout the supply chain from suppliers of products and services through to the processors”.
Joseph Martlew, a postgraduate research student at Harper Adams University, established a research project in November 2014 investigating the effects of traffic and tillage on crops such as maize, soya and wheat. “It is very important to look at different methods of crop establishment in order to minimise soil compaction and reduce the likelihood of surface water runoff and soil erosion” said Joseph. The aim of the project is to provide guidelines for how these techniques can be integrated into sustainable arable farming systems for the sub-Saharan region.
Commenting on the launch University Vice-Chancellor, Dr David Llewellyn said: “We are very pleased to have been asked by AGCO to contribute to this important educational initiative in Zambia. AGCO has brought together a strong partnership to deliver the Future Farm concept and this initiative fits well with our international objectives to conduct world-leading teaching in key food producing areas where our expertise can contribute to addressing the challenge of global food security. We look forward to working with AGCO in the future and we wish the Future Farm programme every success.”