Moderated by Rick Badie
What if Georgia companies did more business with each other? That’s the purpose of the state chamber’s Georgia2Georgia initiative. A chamber executive writes that its 2014 campaign goal is to get participants to do 2 percent more business with other area companies. Meanwhile, the head of a local company that specializes in agricultural machinery notes the global importance of modernizing Africa’s farm economy.
Think “Georgia first”
By Ernest Greer
Imagine the impact if Georgia companies did more business with each other — if we all thought “Georgia first” when purchasing goods or services. That’s the goal of Georgia2Georgia, an initiative recently announced by the Georgia Chamber.
Its purpose is as simple as its name: To encourage the idea of doing more business with the companies that create jobs, contribute to our tax base and support communities statewide.
Why is this so important? Because stronger companies lead to stronger communities. Stronger communities lead to a stronger state. That benefits not only the businesses of Georgia, but all of its citizens.
The idea for this initiative came about when the Georgia Chamber worked with Gov. Nathan Deal and the Department of Economic Development on the Georgia Competitiveness Initiative.
As we traveled the state, we heard how hard it was for entrepreneurs to build customer bases. They told us how only small differences in price sometimes lost a Georgia company business, and how there often was a lack of awareness about a company next door. We asked ourselves what we could do as a state chamber to help. One of the answers became Georgia2Georgia.
Throughout the coming year, we will be focused on building this grassroots effort, working with our members, local chambers of commerce, local governments and other partners dedicated to growing our economy.
One of the first ways we have asked companies to get involved is to take our 2 percent challenge. That’s a commitment to try to do just 2 percent more business with fellow Georgia companies (any company with a presence in our state) this year. While this may seem like a small increment, any increase in business has a positive impact on a company as it works to create jobs, increase productivity and grow its presence in the overall economy.
If we all do our part, those “2 percents” will add up quickly and lead to more jobs, increased investment and an expanded tax base that can better support our schools, hospitals and other infrastructure.
Georgia2Georgia will help our state’s efforts to continue to recruit new industry by enhancing our reputation as a supportive business environment. It will also be a great complement to the Department of Agriculture’s successful Georgia Grown program, which steadily increases demand for locally grown products.
This initiative is an important component of what the Georgia Chamber is doing to ensure our state continues to receive accolades, such as Site Selection magazine’s recent ranking of Georgia as the No. 1 place in the nation to conduct business.
Georgia2Georgia has been met with an overwhelmingly positive response. We look forward to sharing its success stories throughout the year. To become a part of this initiative or to take the 2 percent challenge, visit www.georgia2georgia.com.
Ernest Greer is the 2014 chair of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce.
Africa can help feed the world
By Martin Richenhagen
The United Nations projects the world’s population will reach 9.6 billion people by 2050. Being able to feed it will be as much of a concern in 2050 as it is today.
With a rapidly growing global population and shrinking resources, Africa can play a purposeful role in transforming the world’s food supply shortage. Science, research, technology and innovation are the major drivers needed to develop Africa’s agricultural productivity, such as agricultural mechanization and a green revolution.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 15 percent of the world’s arable land lies in Africa; of that, 86 percent remains uncultivated. Before 1960, Africa provided 10 percent of the world’s food supply. Today, it’s less than 1 percent.
Innovation in Africa’s agriculture is needed to help develop and sustain its agricultural output. Innovation and investment need to be directed toward continents like Africa that have more resources, land and potential to feed the world.
Mechanization can be a driving force for growing Africa’s agricultural prosperity. The vast majority of its farmland is plowed, planted and harvested using “farm power” — human power, hand tools and animal power. Mechanization is the use of machinery instead of manpower. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations states that the mechanization of farming helps increase crop production.
The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa has said that a green revolution can transform Africa’s agriculture into a highly productive, efficient, competitive and sustainable system that will assure food security and lift millions out of poverty. A green revolution applies the power of knowledge and technology with an environmental touch, like disseminating many crop varieties that will thrive in diverse conditions, and developing technologies that maximize the use of rainwater and deliver small-scale irrigation.
Duluth-based AGCO is a global leader focused on the design, manufacture and distribution of agricultural machinery. Our products are available in more than 140 countries worldwide and include five core brands: Challenger, Fendt, Massey Ferguson, Valtra and GSI. We are dedicated to providing agricultural solutions for farmers who feed the world.
Africa is more than an investment to AGCO. AGCO sees its potential to grow and resolve the world’s food supply problem. We have alliances with governments, foreign investors and donors to work on improving Africa’s agricultural practices.
We wanted to connect, develop and share new visions about how to invest in Africa. We also wanted to engage and lead international dialogue on Africa. For these reasons, we created our annual Africa Summit; the third was held recently in Berlin.
It is clear to those watching this issue that, without an agricultural revolution in Africa, we can’t solve the problem of feeding the world.
Martin Richenhagen is chairman, president and CEO of AGCO.