Adriaan Strauss to lead Vodacom Bulls in 2016

Springbok hooker Adriaan Strauss has been named as captain of the Vodacom Bulls for the 2016 Vodacom Super Rugby season, the team annnounced on Monday. Another international star, Springbok flyhalf Handré Pollard, will be vice-captain for the season.

Strauss, a Super Rugby centurion (118 appearances) is no stranger to a leadership role at this level, having captained the Toyota Cheetahs for a number of seasons and according to the Vodacom Bulls Super Rugby coach, Nollis Marais, is a perfect fit for his team.

“Adriaan ticks all the boxes. He has vast experience at Super Rugby level, has played 54 tests for the Springboks, where he is part of the leadership group and represents what we stand for as Bulls. His leadership style is great, as is his ability to rally players around him. He is also one of the top hookers in world rugby and even opponents will look up to his presence on the field,” Marais explained.

“It is also very important for a coach to have a good working relationship with his captain and Adriaan and myselfshare a number of values, with the most important our shared vision to build a special team and leave a legacy,” Marais said.

Pollard is no stranger to captaincy having lead the Junior Sprinboks in 2014 and Marais is confident that the playmaker and goal kicker will not be burdened by this extra responsibility.

“Handré is a natural leader of men and one that leads from the front. He is young in age, but already very experienced on the rugby field. He is also part of the new generation that is coming through at Loftus Versfeld and around we will be building the next generation of stars. Both Adriaan and Handré has the potential to captain the Springboks, so we can be very proud and humble about the fact that their leadership will be available to the Vodacom Bulls.”

Strauss said he was humbled when asked to lead the team.

“There were some brilliant captains in the past and I was lucky to be part of a special generation of Bulls players that won this competition in my early years. I have learned vaulable lessons about the team culture and when I returned last year, was very happy to see the work ethic and drive to be the best did not change. There are exciting times ahead for this group and I am very keen to be part of it. We want to be a team that makes a difference to our fans,” Strauss said.

AFGRI Equipment buys TTS Agri

Leading agricultural services and processing company, AFGRI, has announced the acquisition of Truck & Tractor Specialists Agri (“TTS Agri”), a John Deere dealership based in Polokwane, Limpopo. The acquisition, which will be made by the group’s Equipment Division (“AFGRI Equipment”), is in line with the group’s strategy of being the preferred supplier of premium agricultural equipment, services and solutions in Africa.

“AFGRI Equipment is fast establishing itself as a reliable brand across Africa, and the acquisition of TTS Agri will increase the division’s area of operation right up to the border with Zimbabwe and Botswana, expanding existing operations. AFGRI Equipment will then operate throughout the north-eastern part of South Africa, as well as in Zimbabwe, Zambia and Ghana.” says AFGRI CEO, Chris Venter. AFGRI Equipment also operates the largest John Deere dealership in Western Australia.

Patrick Roux, the Managing Director of AFGRI Equipment, adds: “The Limpopo province is an irrigation area and the market is very stable.  Our entry into this market will give AFGRI Equipment additional diversification locally and it will connect our operations in South Africa with those in Zimbabwe.”

AFGRI, through its Harvest Time emerging farmer training programme, will also aim to become more active across the country. A large portion of emerging farmers reside in the northern part of the country.

“The Harvest Time programme has various components aimed at ensuring sustainability. We are not just about training – the programme includes funding options to buy tractors and agricultural inputs, but has a substantial mentorship component. It is the combination of these elements which ensures sustainability,” concludes Venter.

AFGRI signs collaboration agreement with National Collateral Management Services (NCML) of India

AFGRI, a leading agricultural services and processing company, today announced a collaboration with NCML, India’s leading post-harvest agriculture management firm.

Chris Venter, CEO of AFGRI said that, “The importance of this landmark agreement is that the partnership draws on the respective strengths of both organisations and that AFGRI is able to extend its footprint onto the Asian continent.” AFGRI is currently operational in South Africa, 34 other African countries, Australia, the United Kingdom and in the USA.

A memorandum of understanding was signed between the two parties on 6 November 2015.

AFGRI’s subsidiary Collateral Management International (“CMI”) together with AFGRI Grain Management have achieved wide coverage on the African continent, coupled with established credentials at many local and international banking groups. “This, together with the fact that Fairfax Financial Holdings is a large shareholder in both companies, demonstrates how the extraction of these synergies can help move AFGRI along the path of greater expansion,” Venter said.

The advantages to AFGRI include a wider footprint with the ability to ensure grain flows across the continents when imports or exports are required. For both parties’ downstream benefits include value-add processing such as milling and crushing of grains and seeds as well as access to products such as weather-based crop insurance.

Both companies have experience in dealing with small scale farming operations as well as large commercial businesses and this expertise will benefit the collaboration.

The collaboration will include all services associated with collateral management such as inspection, testing and certification, grain management and marketing, trade finance and precision farming which includes geo mapping, crop estimation and weather intelligence. It also includes aspects of cross-border trade. Venter went on to explain that this collaboration is meaningful for AFGRI as it involves three divisions namely CMI, Grain Management and GeoAgro (in which AFGRI has a 50% shareholding). “This collaboration demonstrates the strength of AFGRI coupled with our ability to support our underlying fundamental – food security,” Venter explained.

It is expected that the agreement will aide trade, especially with regard to agricultural and food products between India and Africa.

Venter concludes by saying that, “Our vast experience in agriculture in South Africa is where our roots will remain. This collaboration is demonstrating how valuable our experience is and how, across continents, we can share ideas for a common goal.”