September 26, 2019: AGCO, a worldwide manufacturer, and distributor of agricultural equipment and solutions has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the West African nation of Benin. The Agency for Promotion of Investment and Export (APIEX), an investment arm of Benin will support the financing, implementation, and operation of a 5,000-hectare Agri-Park project. The MoU reflects the intent to establish a long-term public-private partnership, which will set the standard for an agricultural cluster in Africa.

The signing ceremony took place at the office of APIEX in Catanou, Benin on September 24. The minister of agriculture, livestock and fisheries Gaston Dossouhoui; and the minister of state planning and development Abdoulaye Bio Tchane represented the government of Benin, while Gary Collar, AGCO senior vice president & general manager the Asia Pacific and Africa, led the AGCO delegation.

AGCO's objective is to see the development of Agri-Park integrated agricultural centres to assist in the achievement of food security on the African continent. The Agri-Park initiative is designed to integrate agriculture and community while ensuring the transfer of farming techniques and skills; boosting crop production and storage and adding further value in related activities such as poultry and egg production. Alongside food security, a key goal of the AGCO Agri-Park concept is to create high-value jobs and encourage the initialisation of satellite industries, including agricultural machinery workshops and outlets providing affordable farm supplies.

"Our government's Action Programme for 2016 - 2021, %u2018Revealing Benin' delivers a strong message of hope for the future. It aims to create an environment that embraces the talent and dynamism of the Beninese people in order to revive our development through a scale of investment never before seen in the country and that is designed to boost employment, improve public well-being, create wealth and raise Benin's international profile," read a statement from president Patrice Talon.

The MoU to develop AGCO's Agri-Park concept comes after numerous visits to the West African country by the AGCO team to appreciate the economic environment. Bordered by Togo, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, and Niger, Benin has a 121-kilometre-long coastline and enjoys a robust port activity and a sound agricultural sector, which has been key to Benin's steady economic growth over the past two decades.

"The commitment to transform the agriculture sector of Benin into a regional and continental powerhouse by President Talon clearly indicates that this nation is ready to accelerate its economic growth and create prosperity for its citizens," explained Collar. "Our team of experts is ready to combine our collective strengths to begin this journey together."

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