Kisumu-based youth group wins new John Deere Tractor in business plan competition
AHERO, Kenya: September 30, 2022 – Kowuor Central Village Youth Group, based in Ahero Sub County of Kenya’s Kisumu County, some 319Km West of the country’s capital, Nairobi, has yesterday been named the winner of the competition, taking home a brand-new John Deere 5050D tractor. The competition was a joint collaboration of AGRA, American agricultural machinery manufacturer John Deere, and its dealer Mascor Kenya Limited.
Kowuor Central Village Youth Group beat 85 other groups in the contest, which required participants to have been registered in Kenya with an involvement in agriculture for at least three years. The applicants had to submit a business plan outlining how they will use the tractor to run a mechanization business.
The competition, targeting groups with members aged 18 – 35 years, was part of AGRA’s plan to popularize agricultural mechanization services in Kenya.
“Kowuor Central Village Youth Group’s business plan stood out because it outlined a clear strategy for transforming the tractor into a profitable business, all while increasing the uptake of mechanization in their region,” said AGRA’s Kenya Country Manager, John Macharia.
John Deere’s Divisional Sales Manager for East Africa and the Middle East, Nel Stephan, added: “Kowuor Central Village Youth Group met all the criteria for a win with a clear articulation of their growth plan through the next five years and beyond. Theirs is a social enterprise with clear benefits for members and their community.”
Mr. Macharia emphasized the need for African countries to promote agricultural mechanization, which is a key food system growth driver, but has been slow to develop. Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania had the same number of tractors as India in 1960, but the East African countries failed to keep up the pace in uptake with the latter now having 100 times more tractors in use.
“Africa’s agriculture sector is the least mechanized in the world, partly due to the local unavailability of tractors and other implements, as well as inadequate financing. Working through youth agri-SMEs, some mechanization services can be availed closer to where they are required,” he said.
Kowuor Central Village Youth Group’s chairperson, Dickens Muga, said the tractor will help transform their business by increasing their capacity to serve more farmers.
“We already have an existing clientele but have been unable to serve them due to a lack of adequate machinery. It would have taken us quite some time to buy a new tractor out of our profits, and we see this winning as critical in taking our business to the next level,” he said.
Kisumu’s County Executive Committee Member for Agriculture, Irrigation, Livestock and Fisheries Hon. Gilchrist Owuor Okuom highlighted the critical role of mechanization in increasing efficiency and productivity in crop production. He reiterated the significance of mechanization in onboarding more Youth into the Agriculture space. He described the initiative as a milestone in his government’s efforts to avail mechanization services to all farmers. He proposed that his Department would have Kowuor Central Village Youth Group as the County’s Mechanization Champions and pledged to help build the capacity of the leadership of the Group in how to profitably use the tractor. He thanked John Deere and AGRA for the initiative and appealed to other partners and entrepreneurs to come up and help fill in the gap by offering mechanization services across Kisumu County.
The John Deere AGRA competition follows a recent partnership between AGRA and John Deere to support successful mechanization service providers based on the John Deere S.M.A.R.T Model. Under the partnership, AGRA supports SMEs in acquiring business skills and financial management for growth, whilst John Deere, through its dealer network (including Mascor), supports in operator training, technician development, after-sales services, and equipment financing.
Note to Editors:
Established in 2006, AGRA is an African-led and Africa-based institution that puts smallholder farmers at the center of the continent’s growing economy by transforming agriculture from a solitary struggle to survive into farming as a business that thrives. Together with our partners, we are working to sustainably grow Africa’s food systems.
AGRA strengthens seed systems, develops and promotes sustainable farming practices, helps unlock trade and markets, and supports governments who lead their countries’ development. We work with farmers to adapt to climate change, increase soil health, and protect the environment. AGRA believes deeply in the urgency of reducing the inequality that women face in agriculture, and to unlocking the power and innovation of youth.
About John Deere
John Deere is a trusted, world-renowned leader in producing turf, agricultural, construction, and forestry machinery solutions with state-of-the-art precision technology. With its continued focus to strengthen its presence throughout the Africa Middle East region (“AME”), John Deere AME serves its customers through more than 218 dealer touchpoints across the region, as well as sales and marketing offices Kenya and south Africa. Committed to delivering a distinctive customer experience coupled with solutions-driven advice from its authorised dealer network and John Deere Financial Solutions, John Deere AME promotes food security while actively driving a successful and inclusive agricultural community whilst supporting the growth of Africa via its construction and forestry solutions.
More information: https://www.deere.africa/en/
Mascor is one of Africa’s leading suppliers of agricultural equipment with an established dealer network in Kenya and Uganda with unrevoked technical capacity and parts stock to provide a distinctive customer experience. We are committed to offering our clients, the most professional service, workmanship, high standards and quality products. We believe in the importance of people and value creativity, innovation and enthusiasm. We are proud to be an independent company committed to growth. It is our goal to be recognised as the best in our field and more than that, to offer challenges and opportunities to all those dedicated to growing with us.
More information https://mascorafrica.com/