AGCO Corp., the manufacturer of combine harvesters and Massey Ferguson tractors, plans to increase sales in Africa by almost a third next year as entrepreneurs from the continent and elsewhere invest in agriculture.
The company’s sales in Africa are forecast to rise to about 8,500 units in 2015 from about 6,500 this year, said Nuradin Osman, AGCO’s director of operations for Africa and the Middle East. Sales in Africa were about 1,400 three years ago, he said in an interview at Bloomberg’s offices in Washington.
“Farming is a sector that can be expanded very easily” in Africa, Chief Executive Officer Martin Richenhagen said in the joint interview. “What they need is mechanization.”
Massey Ferguson machines have been sold in Africa for five decades, preceding the creation of Duluth, Georgia-based AGCO. The company is building on that legacy with a manufacturing site in Algeria and two years ago opened a center in Zambia offering training on equipment and farming practices. AGCO sees strong demand in several countries including South Africa, Morocco and Tanzania.
While Africa needs to feed its own booming population, it will be increasingly called on to supply foreign markets as well, Richenhagen said. AGCO says 80 percent of Africa’s arable land is uncultivated.
Worldwide, AGCO’s unit sales are about 100,000 a year, according to Rebecca Fabian, a spokeswoman for the company.
Richenhagen and Osman were in Washington to participate in the three-day U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, which has attracted more than 40 African heads of state and more than 90 U.S. companies.