Farmers across Kenya, both large-scale and small-scale, have a reason to celebrate after Equity Group Holdings and renowned farm equipment manufacturer John Deere, inked a transformative agreement during the second edition of the US Ambassador to Kenya, Meg Whitman’s investment roadshow series to the United States.
This groundbreaking deal aimed to provide Kenyan farmers with access to modern tractors through affordable finance programs, heralding a new era of agricultural advancement.
Under the visionary Equity Group’s ‘Africa Recovery and Resilience Plan,’ which places a strong emphasis on value addition and mechanization in East and Central Africa’s agricultural sector, this agreement was a pivotal step forward. The pact was officially sealed by Dr. James Mwangi, CEO and Managing Director of Equity Group Holdings, and Jason Brantley, Head of Business for Africa, Asia, and the Middle East at John Deere.
For Kenyan farmers, this partnership between Equity Group and John Deere promised to usher in state-of-the-art agricultural technology. It would empower both small-scale farmers and larger agricultural enterprises, builders, and landscape providers to enhance their productivity and expand their businesses for broader market reach. Dr. James Mwangi emphasized the significance of this collaboration, stating, “Kenyan farmers have the opportunity to increase production for global supply chains, which were disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine conflict.”
Equity Bank, a key player in this venture, would provide financial products to customers in Kenya for an initial term of two years. Partnering with them was MASCOR, an equipment dealer with a strong presence throughout East Africa. Together, Equity, John Deere, and MASCOR planned to conduct joint training and marketing campaigns to educate farmers on the effective use of Deere equipment. The objective was clear: to boost agricultural productivity, reduce losses, and lower operational costs for all types of farmers, including emerging and commercial farmers, part-time contractors, full-time contractors, and farmer groups.
Equity’s ‘Africa’s Recovery and Resilience Plan’ was fully committed to supporting the growth and empowerment of Africa’s small-scale farmers by providing training, mechanization, and access to markets. Dr. Mwangi emphasized the significance of this partnership, stating, “In John Deere, we have a significant partner with like-minded interests to support scaling and mechanization for small-scale farmers in Kenya.”
This transformative partnership aligned perfectly with the Africa Recovery and Resilience Plan, which sought to create a more coordinated and connected primary supply chain to drive higher productivity. Dr. Mwangi emphasized that this collaboration, powered by American expertise and African ingenuity, could pave the way for a cohesive US-AFRICA private sector engagement framework built on trust and mutual interests in the market.
Notably, this was the second roadshow in partnership with the US Embassy Kenya, Ambassador Meg Whitman, and Prosper Africa. Equity Group and Dr. Mwangi had previously participated in the first roadshow in March 2023 in New York City, engaging with US financial investors.
Beyond the signing of the Equity-John Deere agreement, Dr. Mwangi participated in a panel discussion moderated by Ambassador Whitman titled, “Why Africa, Why Kenya?” During this session, he eloquently articulated the vast opportunities Africa held for both US and Kenyan companies, government officials, and American investors. Throughout the day’s networking sessions, Dr. Mwangi and the Equity team held meetings with US and African agriculture companies looking to do business or already active in the East and Central Africa region.
With the roadshow’s next stop in San Francisco, two days of meetings with American technology companies promised to further enrich this groundbreaking partnership, solidifying the path towards a brighter and more prosperous future for Kenyan agriculture.