Medea Group announces inclusion of John Deere Water Technologies’ drip irrigation in the Backpack Farm Agro Program impacting Africa’s small landholder farmers

Top Quote John Deere Water is lending its support to the Medea Group Ltd.’s Backpack Farm (BPF) Agriculture Program ( The Backpack Farm is a comprehensive program enabling food autonomy in East Africa’s rural communities by providing small landholders with the cutting edge tools, training and technical support to build small landholder farming cooperatives. End Quote
  • (1888PressRelease) September 28, 2009 - On the last evening of the Humanitarian Development Summit (HDS) in Nairobi Kenya, Medea Group Ltd., and its partners announce the inclusion of John Deere Water Technologies' drip irrigation kit in the Backpack Farm (BPF) Agriculture Program; representing large scale, sustainable impact by enhancing agro production models and parallel value chains for Africa's small landholder farmers.

    The Backpack Farm; BPF ( is a comprehensive program enabling food autonomy in East Africa's rural communities by providing small landholder farmers with the cutting edge agriculture tools, training and technical support to build small landholder farming cooperatives capable of entering the wholesale market chain.

    East Africa is facing record high food prices and food shortages compounded by short rates and devastating drought. Simultaneously, seven out of ten Africans are farming but continue to suffer from deficient value chains. Rachel Zedeck, Managing Director of Medea Group believes "Africa's farmers are capable of producing more food but must first have access to the technology, training, equity and markets to not only produce competitive crops but also to sell their harvests at prices to benefit both the farmers and local consumers."

    The Backpack Farm is a simple concept; a canvas backpack filled with seeds, agro inputs, tools and drip irrigation custom designed, delivered and distributed in Africa's most rural farming communities. More than simply a agriculural kit, the BPF is a program which includes assessment, mobilization, training and monitoring to support the successful launch and expansion of local agriculture cooperatives or "clustering's." While Irrico International and Lachlan Agriculture remain the technical backbone of BPF program, John Deere Water Technologies is now supplying a cutting edge drip irrigation system; the most durable and cost effective system available to small landholder farmers in Africa.

    John Roberts, President of John Deere water is enthusiastic about the program, "The support of the BPF Agriculture Program is consistent with our commitment to creating a business model with embedded service elements – innovating, creating, and distributing valuable products, services and while encouraging new business models that help humans around the world flourish." John Deere Water will be providing complete drip irrigation kits.

    Technical inputs also feature Lachlan Agriculture's innovative "fusion nutrition" system that ensures sustainability and nutrition density at reduced cost and weight, enabling easy transport and delivery to rural farmers. More importantly, it has eliminated the need for DAP/CAN fertilizers which are both bulky and expensive. Together, this program of agriculture inputs and hands on supervision empowers small landholders to maximize their production rates while identifying new, market strategies targeting domestic and regional markets while improving their livelihoods, and lowering food prices in urban centers. This agricultural system is capable of mirroring both the quality and quantity of commercial production models at a fraction of investment costs. "We must start building inclusive programs to leverage Africa’s existing land and human resources enhancing regional food production. By leveraging Africa's neglected farmers, it is not only possible to feed Africa but have a direct impact on the global food crisis." Zedeck says.

    The Backpack Farm Program ( is part of the "Suganic" ( initiative, a non-political, non-religious, commercial initiative to ensure food autonomy and human security in Africa's post conflict and developing economies.

    The Backpack model is being rolled out in East Africa in a phased 18-24 month program. Medea Group and its partners are committed to developing this unique program throughout the region and sharing it with any agriculture non-profit or socially minded enterprise. The Backpack Team is actively supporting project development in Ethiopia, Rwanda and Ghana. The Backpack team is working with Golden Mean Capital LLC, a Venture Capital firm in San Francisco, to assist in facilitating the finance and strategic development of an out-grower production model to support a privately held palm oil producer in Ghana.

    For more information about Medea Group Limited and the Backpack Farm Program (BPF), please contact GROW ( @ ) backpackfarm dot org or follow us on www dot Twitter dot com/Backpackfarm

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