Vodacom Bulls ready for Force in Perth

Vodacom Bulls coach Nollis Marais named Hanro Liebenberg as eighth man in the Vodacom Bulls team taking on the Western Force in Perth on Friday in their tour opener Down Under.

This will be Liebenberg’s first appearance for the Vodacom Bulls in the Vodacom Super Rugby competition since April last year, with Junior Springboks duties and injury interrupting the five caps the 20-year old has earned for the team this far.

Liebenberg comes into the starting line-up as Marais made two changes to the run-on team that played against the Reds at Loftus Versfeld two weeks ago. The no8 takes over from Arno Botha and at scrum half  Piet van Zyl will start, with Rudy Paige moving to the bench, where Marais made some tweaks.

Bandise Maku, Dries Swanepoel and Roelof Smith will replace Jaco Visagie, Dan Kriel and Deon Stegmann on the bench respectively.

Marais was happy with the team’s travels and preparations, following a week off since the Reds win.

“We are, in a way, still under the radar and that is a good thing I believe. We are slowly starting to put a proper match together and as a unit is improving, no doubt. A coach cannot ask for more than that. We had soft moments and patches in a couple of matches, but overall, we are starting to find rhythm and some fluency in our game,” Marais said.

Vodacom Bulls captain Adriaan Strauss is only too aware of the fact that the Force have proved a very difficult opponent for the Bulls in Perth.

“Yes, they do have a good record against us here, but that is not something that we see as an important issue. A lot of our guys are first time tourists with the team and just want to go out and enjoy playing for the Vodacom Bulls. We have ambitions in how we want to approach the game and execute our game plan, but know very well that the Force will not make it easy for us. We will have to work very hard for a win, but I can tell you now, this team is prepared to do that.”

The team (with number of Super Caps) is: SP Marais (38), Travis Ismaiel (11), Jesse Kriel (23), Jan Serfontein (43), Bjorn Basson (91), Francois Brummer (12), Piet van Zyl (60), Hanro Liebenberg (5), Jannes Kirsten (7), Lappies Labuschagne (42), RG Snyman (7), Jason Jenkins (7), Marcel van der Merwe (40), Adriaan Strauss (125, c), Trevor Nyakane (65). Replacements: Bandise Maku (53), Lizo Gqoboka (6), Werner Kruger (115), Marvin Orie (4), Roelof Smit (9), Rudy Paige (27), Tian Schoeman (14), Dries Swanepoel (1).

Winger Jamba Ulengo returned to South Africa for personal reason this week, with Bjorn Basson replacing him on tour.

AFGRI attends NAMPO to showcase active involvement in the agricultural sector. Find us in the NAMPO Hall, stand number 119 and 120!

AFGRI, the agricultural services and foods’ company, is proud to be once again be supporting NAMPO. This is our seventh consecutive year at NAMPO, which is by far the preeminent agricultural trade show on the continent. As a company that has supported agriculture for the past nine decades, AFGRI participates annually, not only to showcase the company and its service and support solutions to customers, but also to participate in the debate, which takes place through the Nation in Conversation platform.

AFGRI is also proud to be a partner to the Nation in Conversation at the NAMPO Harvest Day and will use this platform to enhance discussions on topical agricultural issues affecting our country currently, profile technology and financing, and share knowledge to the benefit of farming operations across the country. The debate will cover pertinent topics such as agriculture and its impact on the economy, and there will be discussion on Africa as well as policy. The discussions will also focus on changing the image of agriculture and the many success stories out there.

AFGRI’s stand, conveniently located in NAMPO Hall, stand number 119 and 120, will provide information on our products and services and will be manned by experienced staff able to assist with any queries NAMPO visitors may have. It will also showcase a selection of our new initiatives.

Readers are encouraged to visit our stand to enquire about our technology offerings, ease of access to account information through eAccounts, as well as the many other agricultural service offerings that AFGRI has.

Be sure to visit us – we look forward to seeing you there!

AFGRI extends service offering in the Western Cape through acquisition of Agrico mechanisation business

Agrico (Pty) Ltd has announced its intention to divest its mechanisation division, including its John Deere dealerships and other import agencies. It has agreed to sell the bulk of the division to AFGRI Equipment (Pty) Ltd as a going concern, pending regulatory approval. It intends to sell the balance of the division to other existing mechanisation dealers. The acquisition includes Agrico’s John Deere dealerships in Belville, Caledon, Ceres, Malmesbury, Moorreesburg, Piketberg, Rawsonville and Vredendal.

The purchase will be made by the AFGRI Equipment (Pty) Ltd division of AFGRI, which is the preeminent agricultural, golf and turf equipment retailer in Africa and Western Australia. It offers the world’s leading equipment brands and backs these brands with a support network of 25 strategically placed branches.

The acquisition will allow AFGRI to better service farmers in the Western Cape region and beyond, says AFGRI CEO, Chris Venter. “We are pleased with this new addition to the AFGRI group of companies, and are confident that this business is a good fit with AFGRI. It will bolster our existing product range in this market segment.”

Venter went on to welcome Agrico employees and clients into the AFGRI family and indicated that AFGRI is looking forward to a long-term, mutually beneficial relationship. There will be no retrenchments as a result of the acquisition.  “The acquisition confirms AFGRI’s commitment and role in the development and success of the John Deere brand in South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa,” he went on to say.

The acquisition of the various mechanisation agencies further extends AFGRI’s national footprint to ultimately benefit its clients.

With roots extending back to 1904, Agrico has 28 branches across South Africa. “Agrico will increase its focus on its water-related business and own-manufactured products. It will strengthen its presence in all areas currently served while expanding into sub-Saharan Africa. It retains over 800 of its 990 employees and will be further investing in its South African manufacturing- and retail operations,” said Walter Andrag, CEO of Agrico.

Liebenberg leads Vodacom Blue Bulls against DHL Western Province

Former Junior Springboks captain and no8, Hanro Liebenberg, will lead the Vodacom Blue Bulls in Cape Town on Friday when they take on DHL Western Province in the opening match of the Currie Cup Qualifying series.

Only a couple of players in the squad named by coach Hendré Marnitz have played at this level.

The likes of Callie Visagie, Deon Stegmann and Luther Obi will provide experience though.

“Yes, we are a young team with not much experience, but there is massive potential and ability,” Marnitz said.

“It is a tough start, away from home against a team that performed very well in the competition in recent years, so we will be asked tough questions. I am confident that we will be very competitive,” Marnitz said.

Liebenberg echoed the sentiment.

“If you are good enough, you are old enough. This is a group of able and willing players. They all can play the game at a high level and is keen and proud to represent the Blue Bulls. We will give our best.”

PLATINUM SPONSOR INTERVIEW: “The opportunities for growth are immense, it only needs some investment and farmers with courage to take ‘the bull by the horns’.”

Exclusive interview with Wayne Wiid, Executive Country Manager, AFGRI, platinum sponsors at Agritech Expo in Chisamba in April.

1)    Welcome back to Agritech Expo! We are thrilled to have you back. How was your experience at the event?
The fact that we upgraded our level of sponsorship to Platinum status speaks for itself, doesn’t it? AFGRI is proud to be associated with the AGRITECH Expo, the level of professionalism in the hosting of the Expo needs to be commended.

2)    What would you consider as particular highlights for AFGRI as a business during 2015?
The financing solutions which have been put in place for Zambian farmers (either small scale or commercial) are a great pride and joy for AFGRI.

Small scale farmers can be financed through the John Deere Financial/Zanaco/ZNFU/AFGRI scheme while commercial farmers can be serviced through John Deere Financial/Stanbic.

3)    Any exciting new products or projects that are in the offing for this year?
We will be launching the new John Deere 5042C tractor. This is a 42HP tractor which will be ideally suited for the emergent farmer. The costing of the tractor will be very competitive and we are convinced that this tractor will help drive mechanization within Zambia.

Through our financing partners (John Deere Financial and Stanbic) we will be offering very attractive financing packages, especially on combines. Commercial farmers will be pleasantly surprised at the rates offered.

4)    Zambia’s agricultural sector is facing some challenges currently, including the drought – your thoughts in how the agri community can overcome these challenges?
It isn’t only the drought which is posing a major challenge for the farmers, high interest rates, strengthening of the US$ and electricity issues are also contributing to the current woes of the farmers. Farming is cyclic and we will have to “ride this downfall out”, perseverance is key.

It isn’t all doom and gloom, there are some positives. The open border policy of the government on the sale of commodities is a massive boost for the economy.

5)    What makes the agricultural sector in Zambia exciting?
The opportunities for growth are immense, it only needs some investment and farmers with courage to take ‘the bull by the horns’. There is a vast pool of emergent farmers that can be developed in order to take them to ‘the next level’.

6)    How important is Agritech Expo as an annual forum for the farming sector in this region?
This is an absolute unique event, farmers of all spheres of life can and will find products suitable to his/her own requirements at the Expo. Whether you are a small scale, emergent, commercial or corporate farmer you will be able to get value by visiting the Expo.

7)    What will be your message at Agritech Expo this year?
Farmers and visitors are welcome to visit AFGRI’s exhibit and come and talk with experts in their fields. Representatives of the following product range supplied by AFGRI will be present:
•    John Deere
•    Rovic Leers
•    Lemken
•    Amazone
•    JCB Agricultural Range

Naturally AFGRI’s own staff within Equipment and Grain Management will also be on hand to meet and assist the farmers of Zambia.