AFGRI supports AFMA

With the Animal Feed Manufacturers Association (AFMA) Forum 2016 drawing near, leading agricultural services, processing and grain commodities company AFGRI has announced that it will once again support this significant event for the animal feeds industry which takes place in March.

“As a key player in the manufacture of animal feeds in Africa, we feel it is important for AFGRI to have a presence at the Forum as a way of showing our ongoing support for AFMA, which represents the industry on various committees and platforms where it is necessary to enhance or protect the industry’s interests,” says AFGRI CEO, Chris Venter.

Venter adds that the Forum, Africa’s leading conference on animal feeding and nutrition, also creates a vital platform for informing local role-players of the latest international developments in the animal feed and nutrition industry, as well as giving AFGRI the opportunity to showcase its service offerings.

AFGRI will have a stand at the Forum, which will be held at Sun City from 1 – 3 March 2016, with representation by a number of its divisions, including AFGRI Animal Feeds, Nedan, AFGRI Milling and GroCapital.

UNIGRO and Indwe join forces to offer improved insurance services to customers

Leading agricultural services, food processing and grain commodities company AFGRI has announced a working relationship between its UNIGRO Insurance Brokers  (“UNIGRO”) business and Indwe Risk Services (“Indwe”), a leading personal, business and specialist risk and insurance advisory business, in order to improve its current insurance offering.

UNIGRO Insurance Brokers, one of the businesses making up AFGRI’s financial portfolio, offers a range of short-term and life insurance products to agricultural and other customers. By joining forces, the offering allows Indwe to access the agricultural expertise that UNIGRO has built up over decades of specialising in agricultural insurance and financial products. UNIGRO will in return gain significant expertise by utilising Indwe’s full range of risk advisory services.

“We believe that there are a number of commercially sensible and mutually-beneficial grounds for a partnership with Indwe,” says Ross Simmonds, Managing Director of UNIGRO Financial Services. “These include optimising costs, enhancing and improving our existing service offering and diversifying our business, particularly in identified niche markets such as this.”

In addition to bolstering its insurance product range, the agreement will see UNIGRO Insurance Brokers and Indwe. optimising its branch network where appropriate, starting with the Nelspruit and Pietermaritzburg branches, followed by Upington and Kimberley.

The collaboration will also potentially allow UNIGRO to expand into Africa through Indwe’s Allied Africa Broker Network (“AAB”), an integrated network of independently African-owned and operated short-term insurance brokers, later in the year.

Peter Olyott, CEO of Indwe, comments that this unique agreement is designed to benefit both companies with the areas of collaboration far exceeding the areas of competition between the two businesses. The potential is great, the cultural fit between the two businesses is good and we both look forward to leveraging off the potential which the two businesses bring about by working together.

“We have had great success in partnering with like-minded businesses previously in order to contribute and join forces in a larger entity. We are doing this again as we believe that together we and our partners are able to ‘make it possible’. This is the spirit in which we are fostering this partnership,” concludes Chris Venter, CEO of AFGRI.

Labuschagne to miss Vodacom Super Rugby opening rounds

Vodacom Bulls loose forward Lappies Labuschagne has been ruled out of Vodacom Super Rugby action for eight (8) weeks due to an ankle injury, the Blue Bulls Company (Pty) Ltd confirmed on Thursday.

Labuschagne and Vodacom Bulls team doctor, Dr Herman Rossouw met with specialists today where it was confirmed that the stalwart flanker has to undergo surgery.

“After weighing up all the facts and opinions of various specialists, we came to this decision that Lappies will be operated on Monday,” Dr Rossouw said.

He also confirmed that prop Lizo Gqoboka had to be withdrawn from the Vodacom Bulls team to play the Emirates Lions this weekend due to a groin injury and that he will not be traveling with the team to Polokwane this weekend.

“Lizo had some discomfort and we decided that it will be best to withdraw him from the weekend’s match.”

He will be fit for selection when the Vodacom Super Rugby kicks off later this month, Dr Rossouw confirmed.

Kriel and Serfontein to combine in Polokwane

Springbok midfielders Jesse Kriel and Jan Serfontein will combine for the first time as a centre pairing on Saturday when the Vodacom Bulls play the Emirates Lions in a Vodacom Super Rugby warm-up match in Polokwane.

Kriel played at fullback in his 16 appearances for the Vodacom Bulls so far, but made the Springbok outside centre berth his own later in the 2015 season, while Serfontein had injury issues during last year’s campaign and only played in eight matches.

The youthful combination will play as the midfield paring for the first time, with Vodacom Bulls coach Nollis Marais naming a number of young players in his match day squad.

The likes of Warrick Gelant, Hanro Liebenberg and RG Snyman all played for the Junior Springboks last year, as did Jason Jenkins, who will play off the bench.

Adriaan Strauss will lead the team for the first time since being named captain for the season.

“We do have a good mixture of youth and experience and that is exactly how I prefer it,” Marais said.

“You need some old heads in this competition, but there is no doubt that younger players brings energy and passion to any team. We would like to find the perfect balance in that and that is why this match in Polokwane is important for us. We need to settle on a team, but also on the right combinations going into the Super Rugby competition,” Marais said.

Strauss is the most experienced player in the squad with 118 Super Rugby caps and admits some nervous energy.

“We are keen to make a mark this year and have some very talented players in our system. I am very keen to lead these guys into battle. The Lions are a very experienced and well-drilled team and will test us structures and systems, so this is an ideal way to prepare before the competition kicks off in a couple of weeks. We are also keen to return to Polokwane, where the locals have been fantastic to us in recent visits,” Strauss said.

“The fact that the match will aid a good cause and supply bursaries to students is also satisfying for the squad,” he said.

The squad that will travel to Polokwane is: Warrick Gelant, Travis Ismaiel, Jesse Kriel, Jan Serfontein, Bjorn Basson, FrancoisBrummer, Rudy Paige, Arno Botha, Hanro Liebenberg, Nic de Jager, Grant Hattingh, RG Snyman, Marcel van der Merwe, Adriaan Strauss (c), Trevor Nyakane. Replacements: Jaco Visagie, LizoGqoboka, Jason Jenkins, Jannes Kirsten, Piet van Zyl, Tian Schoeman, BurgerOdendaal, Werner Kruger, Pierre Schoeman, Jamba Ulengo, Jade Stighling.

AFGRI lends support to TuksRugby


Leading agricultural services, processing and grain commodities company AFGRI will be supporting varsity-level rugby through a donation of team uniforms, which will be handed to TuksRugby at an event to be held at AFGRI’s Byls Bridge head office on 3 February 2016.

Already a keen supporter of South African rugby through its sponsorship of the Vodacom Blue Bulls team, for which TuksRugby is considered a training ground, AFGRI would like to extend its interest in the sport for the benefit of a new generation of rugby players.

“We are proud to be associated with the club, which has been in existence for more than a century, and has a proud history in the country, having produced 88 Springbok players as well as four Springbok captains,” says AFGRI CEO, Chris Venter.

TuksRugby, the official rugby club of the University of Pretoria (Tuks), and one of the largest rugby clubs in South Africa, is based at the university’s Sports Campus. One of its initiatives is TuksYouthRugby, which provides the youth of Pretoria and surroundings with well-qualified coaches and officials to assist the players in developing their potential and skills to a higher level. Another objective of TuksYouthRugby is to prepare players to such an extent as to provide to them the best opportunity to be selected for the Blue Bulls youth team through the Blue Bulls TuksRugby Academy

Additional AFGRI division to offer a helping hand to farmers

AFGRI, which announced last week that it had donated R5 million worth of drought aid to farmers is now offering a zero increase on storage fees

AFGRI, a leading agricultural solutions and food processing company, with a defined focus on food security across Africa, is putting its money where its mouth is.

With South Africa in the grip of the worst drought the country has seen for the past six decades, AFGRI has stepped in and helped farmers across its service offering, the most recent of which was a donation of R5 million worth of animal feed to livestock farmers.

The momentum of drought relief aid from AFGRI is increasing, with the Grain Management division having decided not to increase storage rates for 2016. “Again, this step is in light of knowing that our farmers value every bit of relief we are able to offer. As partners to agriculture we feel this is the right thing to do. We need to ensure our farmers thrive when the rains come,” said Venter.

“Words cannot explain the pride I feel right now, knowing that we successfully allocated the entirety of the R5 million fund we made available to feed livestock in need,” says AFGRI CEO, Chris Venter. He went onto explain that the rationale of providing this feed was because farmers were slaughtering animals rather than having to watch them die. The feed provided by AFGRI is nutritionally formulated to help keep the animal alive. “Our goal to assist farmers to keep their livestock alive until the rains and grass return,” Venter went on to say.

The enormity of the drought is evident in the fact that it took less than one week to receive enough applications to deplete the R5 million worth of animal feed to livestock farmers in need. AFGRI kept track of each consignment from the first contact with the call centre. AFGRI’s feed mills are currently producing the drought feed to distribute to the drought stricken areas in Kwa-Zulu Natal, Free State, Northwest, Gauteng and Mpumalanga.  In the region of 110 000 animals are being supported.

Furthermore, much-needed financial relief is being offered for the current season (August/September) through the company’s financial arm, Unigro Financial Services. This is by way of restructuring payment for agricultural debt through various options, including consolidating outstanding amounts into term loans for unpaid revolving credit, production and insurance accounts due during 2016, subject to the availability of security.

“For hire purchases and medium-term loan repayments payable during 2016, we will consider rescheduling the outstanding amounts over the existing period plus one year, with no interest penalties, and will also consider extension for carry-over debt due during 2016, subject to the customer’s repayment ability and the availability of security.”

“I am proud that across the diversity of our business, we have been able to offer meaningful assistance. Animal feed was originally offered at discounted prices and as the drought tightened its grip, eventually given away and now, as a gesture of further consideration, we are holding our silo rates constant. In the greater scheme of the impact of the drought conditions, it feels like this is a drop in the ocean, but we are convinced that each small gesture goes a long way,” Venter concludes.

Taking the AFGRI brand to the streets

IMG_0451                 IMG_0450
Brand recognition is defined as “the extent to which a consumer can correctly identify a particular product or service just by viewing the product or service’s logo, tag line, packaging or advertising campaign”. Regardless of whether it’s a car, a van, an SUV, a delivery truck, or an 18-wheeler, vehicle branding gives companies an opportunity to advertise their brand in a way that draws attention and turns heads.
With this in mind the AFGRI Grain Management team decided to revisit its fleet branding. The most recognisable asset of the business is the majestic silo complexes that tower above their surrounding landscapes and are virtually impossible not to notice, even from a distance.
“The imposing silhouette of a silo complex was the obvious choice to be used as part of the branding, along with the AFGRI logo and relevant contact details,” explains Wayne Brown, Procurement Manager for AFGRI Grain Management. “We felt this would allow the vehicles to immediately be identified as belonging to AFGRI Grain Management, while clearly representing our core business activity, namely the safe storage of grain commodities.”
The overwhelmingly positive responses to the new branding, from both within AFGRI and the public, is testimony that the branding is undoubtedly achieving its desired objectives of reinforcing the AFGRI brand, not only in the communities in which AFGRI Grain Management has a presence, but virtually across the entire country, by virtue of the routes and distances the fleet travels.
“The striking branding will most certainly also have people who weren’t previously aware of the AFGRI brand, asking questions about who AFGRI is and what other services we offer, in addition to grain storage.”