John Deere S.M.A.R.T. program hopes to boost African farm output

John Deere is launching a new campaign to help African farmers improve productivity on their farms.

The S.M.A.R.T. campaign offers African farmers one-stop shopping for all their agricultural equipment needs by advocating mechanization, which John Deere officials say can improve yields by three-fold on the same amount of land.

John Deere is also developing its own financing network specific to African agriculture, brokering partnerships with local African banks who have agreed to offer customized financing for farmers.

"We realized that we had to take the training to the farmer because they valued that more than traveling long distances to training centers," Managing Director for Sub-Saharan Africa Jason Brantley said. "This approach has been especially important for improving access to training for women, which is a key goal for us."

The company is focused on making sure that the equipment farmers buy comes with locally available replacement parts and service options.

In addition, John Deere is providing technology training sessions to help farmers develop their mechanization strategies.

"Africa has been an important market to John Deere for many years, and we are proud to have a focus on both smaller and larger farmers," Brantley said. "We have company offices in Johannesburg, Nairobi and Accra as well as independent dealers across the continent that back up that focus with investment. We believe the progress of the last few years clearly shows the way forward, which is why we're committed to helping even more farmers in Africa raise productivity and prosper the S.M.A.R.T. way."

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