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John Deere, AGRA and Mascor launch youth SME contest in Kenya

KENYA – The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), John Deere Africa Middle East, and Mascor, the John Deere dealer in Kenya, have launched a business plan writing competition for youth SME groups in Kenya for a chance to win a tractor.

The competition runs until March 31, 2022 and is open to groups that have been operating in the agriculture sector for the last three years, and whose members are aged between 18 and 35 years old.

Each participating group will be required to write a business plan for running and managing a mechanisation service provision business. The winning plan will be awarded the John Deere tractor (50 horsepower, 5050D TWD) to start the business.

John Macharia, AGRA’s Kenya Country Manager said the competition will offer youth in the country an opportunity to start a business with a catalysing tool for agricultural development.

“We are supporting youth groups in Kenya to build a business from mechanising farming operations,” added Macharia said.

“Whereas it is vital for development of agriculture in Africa, we have the least mechanised solutions compared to the rest of the world. This has been driven by lack of tractors and implements where and when needed.”

Despite early gains, the uptake of tractors in the region has not kept pace with demand. In 1960, Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania had more tractors in use than India but by 2005 India had 100 times more tractors in use.

“Access to finance is probably the biggest obstacle to African smallholder farmers interested in adopting mechanised farming solutions to boost productivity. The profits they typically earn are insufficient to purchase tractors directly or even access a financing facility,” added Mr Macharia.

Mascor, the John Deere dealer in Kenya, will support the competition winner with Aftermarket services, parts and more.

The joint competition follows a recent partnership between AGRA and John Deere to support successful mechanisation service providers based on the John Deere S.M.A.R.T Model.

AGRA supports small and medium-sized enterprises in business skills and financial management for growth, whilst John Deere, through its dealer network offers support with training operators, technician development, after-sales services, and financing equipment through John Deere Financial.

Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa is an organisation that seeks to transform African agriculture from a subsistence model to strong businesses that improve the livelihoods of the continent’s farming households.

John Deere corporation that manufactures agricultural machinery, heavy equipment, forestry machinery, diesel engines, drivetrains used in heavy equipment, and lawn care equipment.

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