AFGRI is committed to the future of agriculture and how innovation can play a role in ensuring the future.

The AFGRI Innovation team spent three days with some of the greatest minds from South Africa, Africa and all over the globe at the SA Innovation Summit. The event covered broad spectrum of topics, a recurring focus of the event was on the agricultural sector and enabling food security across the globe. The world is looking to us to move forward and pioneer innovation in the Agricultural sector.

The event was supported by a partnership from the Swiss Economic Development minister Marie-Gabrielle Ineichen-Fleisch and the Swiss ambassador to South Africa Helene Budliger Artieda who have committed to working with South African corporate innovators and entrepreneurs in building the economy.

Raw and processed agricultural exports. With consumption rising in markets throughout sub-Saharan Africa and Asia, South Africa could triple its agricultural exports by 2030. This could be a key driver of rural growth, benefiting the nearly one in ten South Africans who depend on subsistence or smallholder farming. Capturing this potential will require a bold national agriculture plan to ramp up production, productivity, and agroprocessing.” Source:

The event focussed on topics such as renewable energy technologies, biotechnology, consumer trends, artificial intelligence and robotics, self-driving cars and battery technologies, the ‘Internet of Everything’ and very importantly AgTech (i.e. agricultural technology).

Listening to global CEO’s, CIO’s and entrepreneurs and global futurists reminding us to broaden our minds and to not be blindsided by the global changes that are underway, we cannot do things as we always have in order to remain competitive … “Innovation is how we bring humanity forward…The future is ours to create”.

AFGRI is committed to the future of agriculture and how innovation can play a role in ensuring the future.

Innovative financing needed for growth in demand for farming equipment

AFGRI, one on the largest distributors of agricultural machinery in South Africa, predicts subdued growth in the market for agricultural machinery to 2020, provided farmers can get access to financing.

The market for agricultural machinery in South Africa is expected to grow by between 3% and 5% over the next four years.
Patrick Roux, Managing Director at AFGRI Equipment, says in South Africa the growth in the market for agricultural machinery will be supported by the rapid expansion of technology that will improve yields and make farming more cost effective.

Globally, the agricultural machinery market is expected to grow at a compound annual rate of over 7% during the period 2016-2020, according to global research company Technavio.

In its latest research report on the agricultural machinery market (released in June), Technavio says globally growth will be driven by growing urbanisation, and different initiatives from governments regarding agricultural activities. Many governments, especially in developing countries, are offering credit facilities and subsidies to farmers, which help them in purchasing advanced machinery.

Roux says the growth in the market for agricultural machinery in South Africa will largely depend on cyclical factors, especially seasonal rains, whilst the consolidation in the sector due to the drought of the past few years will also play a role.
He expects a more robust growth in Africa, where the commercial farmers are less mechanised than their counterparts in South Africa. “The high demand for mechanisation will definitely play a role in the growth in the agricultural machinery market on the African continent. The vast new developments in Africa on clearing bush for arable land will force the mechanisation route for all farmers and innovative plans for structured deal making on equipment will also play a role.”

AFGRI has taken the lead with innovative finance schemes in Zambia and Uganda.
In Zambia, AFGRI’s John Deere dealership, in partnership with Zanaco and the Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU), provide agriculture asset finance to help farmers mechanise their operations.

In Uganda, the Abba Mechanisation Circle, through AFGRI’s Agricultural Development Services Division, provides farmers with access to mechanisation, which is purchased by AFGRI and made available to them through rental agreements.
Much more is needed in Africa to drive the agricultural sector and increased demand for agricultural equipment. To assist farmers in Africa to increase their yields through the use of modern equipment, government involvement is crucial, and so is the availability of financing for agricultural equipment, says Roux.

According to Roux, this will require the banking sector to take some calculated risks.
He says as Africa is the lowest mechanised continent, the growing demand for mechanisation will drive the market for agricultural equipment. According to the Technavio report this will be supported by the announcement that agricultural departments across the continent will allocate more than US$ 48 million in subsidies to small farmers during 2015-2017.

Roux says in some countries, notably Zambia, there is good support to make finance available for farmers to buy mechanised equipment, but the difficulty to access finance can hamper the growth rate.
Technavio expects that Asia Pacific (APAC) will continue to generate the bulk of the revenue for the global agricultural machinery market. In APAC the market is expected to reach US$74 billion by 2020 compared to US$46 billion expected in North America. APAC has a larger share of the market mainly due to the growing population in this region, which gradually boosts the demand for food. Increased mechanisation is supported by government initiatives such as subsidies for agriculture and credit availability.

In contrast to this rapid growth, the agricultural machinery market in North America has reached maturity and is expected to witness slow growth due to a decline in the price of commodities and a weak forecasted economic cycle in North America.

AFGRI joins the GAA Alliance

Thursday, September 15, 2016 – Thirty-six leading agri-business companies have today launched the Global Agri-business Alliance (GAA) in Singapore. Their aim is to collectively tackle the major environmental and social challenges facing agricultural supply chains and rural communities across the world.

Announced at the Building Sustainable Futures Forum sponsored by Olam International, the newly-formed GAA is a CEO-led private sector initiative seeking to contribute significantly to the delivery of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, most notably SDG 2: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture1.

Launch member companies span continents and commodities
The companies already involved are headquartered across the world with representation from Africa, Asia, Australia, USA and South America and are involved in multiple commodities including grains, dairy, edible nuts, edible oils, pulses, rubber, sugar, as well as agro-chemicals. (*Please refer to the Appendix for the list of GAA members as at launch date, as well as quotes
from company management for reporting.)

Unique and substantial role
The GAA is unique in bringing together the companies operating closest to the ‘farmgate’ and
therefore having the greatest influence on the stewardship of natural resources and surrounding
communities, many of whom may also be employed by the sector. Member profile includes
growers and producers; traders; fertiliser, agro-chemical and seed suppliers; agri-service
providers, primary processors and agri-tech suppliers for both food and non-food crops.

David Nabarro, Special Advisor to the UN Secretary-General on the 2030 Agenda for
Sustainable Development and Climate Change, said: “Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 will change our world: eradicating poverty, tackling climate change and ensuring a prosperous, safe and healthy future for our children and grandchildren.

“The SDGs also represent investment opportunities for responsible businesses, and are essential for sustainable economic growth. Achieving the SDGs will only be possible with the full commitment of the business community, transforming their business models to deliver also social and environmental value, and working in partnership with the public sector and civil society.

“The launch of the Global Agri-business Alliance is excellent news for the SDGs”.

While many agri-companies already collaborate with non-governmental organisations, technical implementers, consumer brands and retailers, the members of the GAA will harness their collective strengths at the ‘front-line’ of agricultural production to help bring the scale and impact required to drive major change.

Members will collaborate to improve rural livelihoods and working conditions, mitigate climate
risks and manage natural capital sustainably at the landscape-level.

  1. Please  refer  to  the  Appendix  for  key  facts  pertaining  to  SDG  2

This powerful combination  will greatly improve food and nutrition security globally. In turn this will also support the delivery of SDG 1 – to end poverty in all its forms everywhere2.

Paul Polman, Chief Executive Officer of Unilever, and a member of the SDG Advocacy Group, said: “The Global Agri-business Alliance is a major step in aligning this critical sector behind the Sustainable Development Goals. We know the SDGs cannot be achieved without business and we must all go beyond our own individual supply chains towards broader sector wide and value chain approaches. The alliance can catalyse likeminded businesses and
collaborate with other business platforms to deliver the positive impact the world needs.”

Lord Mark Malloch-Brown, Chair, Business and Sustainable Development Commission commented: “Agri-business is most clearly linked to SDGs related to reducing hunger and ending poverty, but it is also critical to protecting livelihoods, achieving gender equality and fulfilling education. The companies of the Global Agri-business Alliance understand that their sector must help achieve sustainable development, but they also recognise the SDGs represent
a tremendous business opportunity. We at the Business Commission look forward to working with the GAA and its member companies to seize these opportunities and create a more inclusive,
sustainable world.”

Global Context
In providing food and raw materials, the agricultural sector employs more than 2 billion people globally, is a foundation for rural development, and underpins many economies in terms of share of GDP and employment3.

Yet, the FAO currently estimates that of the 795 million undernourished people4, about 50%5 are from smallholder farming communities, surviving off marginal lands prone to natural disasters including drought or flood. At the same time, agriculture accounts for 70% of freshwater withdrawal6 and generates 12% of all manmade greenhouse gases – or up to 25% if forestry and other land use are included7. The sector’s ability to boost productivity, minimise food losses and reduce impacts on natural resources is critical to food security and inclusive growth for a world
population projected to rise from about 7.3 billion to 8.5 billion in 20308.

Notes to the Editor:

Anti-trust statement
As participants in the GAA, the companies involved are mindful of antitrust laws and will operate within clear parameters. There shall be no discussions of competitively sensitive information, and GAA participants commit not to enter into any agreements, whether formal, informal or tacit, or concerted actions, or otherwise engage in conduct that may restrain competition. This prohibition


2 2016, 18 August. Goal 1: No poverty. Retrieved from
3 2016, 18 August. Creating a Sustainable Food Future: Interim Findings. Retrieved from
4 Food and Agricultural Organization of the United States. (2015). The State of Food Insecurity in the World
5 2016, 18 August. Who are the hungry? Retrieved from
6 2016, 18 August. Water uses. Retrieved from
7 Intergovernmental Plan on Climate Change. (2014). Climate Change 2014 – Mitigation of Climate Change. 5) IPCC Working
Group III AR5 (2014) Chapter 11. Agriculture, Forestry, and Other Land Use (AFOLU), Available
online: chapter11.pdf (Last accessed 09/04/2015)

includes the exchange of competitively sensitive information, including but not limited to prices, rates, coverage, market practices, claims settlement practices, customers or any other competitive aspect of an individual company’s operation. Each participant is obligated to prevent any discussion from falling outside these bounds.

Trade and other transactional issues
Trade and other transactional issues that fall under the purview of existing trade bodies in the sector will not be addressed by the GAA.

About the Building Sustainable Futures Forum
The Building Sustainable Futures Forum is sponsored by Olam with the aim of convening the agri sector to help support the delivery of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly in improving global agricultural systems as referred under SDG2: “End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture”. Speakers and moderators include: Ms Hoonae Kim, Director, Asia and the Pacific Region, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD); Dr Pavan Sukhdev, natural capital economist; Jeremy Oppenheim, Founder & Managing Partner of SYSTEMIQ and Programme Director, Business & Sustainable Development Commission; Dr Andrew Steer, Chief Executive Officer at the World Resources Institute; Peter Bakker, President of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD); Dr Peter White, CFO, WBCSD; David Shukman, Science Editor BBC, and Alejandro Litovsky, Founder and CEO of the Earth Security Group.


I) List of GAA members at launch date (alphabetical order)

No. Company  Name Headquartered
1 AFGRI South  Africa
2 Agrocorp  International  Pte  Ltd Singapore
3 Agropalma  Group Brazil
4 Balsu  Gida Turkey
5 Besana  Group UK
6 Bidco  Africa  Ltd Kenya
7 Chellam  Plantations  Group Malaysia
8 Export  Trading  Group  (ETG) Tanzania
9 Flour  Mills  of  Nigeria  PLC Nigeria
10 Golden-Agri  Resources  Ltd Singapore
11 Greenyield  Berhad Malaysia
12 Groupe  Mimran Senegal
13 Groupe  SIFCA The  Ivory  Coast
14 GURSOY  Tarimsal  Ürünler  Gida  Sanayi  ve  Ticaret  A.S. Turkey
15 Hakan  Agro  DMCC UAE
16 Halcyon  Agri  Corporation Singapore
18 Indian  Oilseeds  and  Produce  Export  Promotion  Council  (IOPEPC) India
19 Lewis  M.  Carter  Manufacturing  Inc. US
20 Markham  Agro  Pte  Ltd Singapore
21 Minanga  Group Indonesia
22 Mitsubishi  Corporation Japan
23 Musim  Mas  Group Singapore
24 MWT  Foods Australia
25 Olam  International Singapore
26 PureCircle  Ltd Malaysia
27 Reliable  Cashew  Company  Pvt.  Ltd. India
28 SABIC Saudi  Arabia
29 Sime  Darby  Group Malaysia
30 The  Richard  Franco  Agency US
31 Triputra  Agro  Persada Indonesia
32 Univanich  Palm  Oil  PCL Thailand
33 Vijayalaxmi  Cashew  Company India
34 Von  Bundit  Co.  Ltd. Thailand
35 Willowton  Group South  Africa
36 Wilmar  International  Limited Singapore

II) Quotes from select GAA members (alphabetical order)


“At AFGRI we are passionate about being an enabler to food security across the African continent, as such our support of the GAA puts us another step closer to fulfilling our chosen mandate.” ~ Chris Venter, Chief Executive Officer of AFGRI
Agrocorp International Pte Ltd:
“The agriculture and food production sector is one of the largest emitters of greenhouse gases across industries. While we serve a vital need in producing and transporting food around the world, it is important to ensure that we do so in a sustainable manner. This means employing efficient production practices and supply chain control and to work together with one another to promote wider adoption of these practices. This is why groups coming together, like the GAA, are so important and we aim to take an active role.” ~ Vijay Iyengar, Chairman and Managing Director of Agrocorp International

Agropalma Group:
“Networking, interaction, commitments, sustainable investments and policies: the Global Agri-business Alliance is the new platform for frontrunners interested in gathering to build momentum for an inclusive and responsible economy in the food and non-food value chain.” ~ Marcello Brito, Chief Executive Officer of Agropalma

Balsu Gida:
“The GAA initiative brings together different parties from the agri-business sector and provides a wide platform of opportunity to discuss, address and execute on a plan for a sustainable future for the food industry. The GAA will fill a crucial gap in coordination between all the stakeholders to bring sustainable solutions.” ~ H Cuneyd Zapsu, Chairman of Balsu Gida

Besana Group:
“The nut and dried fruit sector is today global and becoming more and more important. High-level scientific research has confirmed the healthiness of nuts and dried fruit in the daily diet, and certified quality that starts in the field is a “must” in our international agriculture business over five continents. This means respect for the environment, sustainability for farmers and high food safety for consumers, with an eye towards the impact of climate change. We therefore welcome the initiative and the mission of the Global Agri-Business Alliance (GAA) as a very important step towards global development.” ~Giuseppe Calcagni, President of Besana
Bidco Africa Ltd:
“The Global Agri-business Alliance is an active movement by companies that recognise the potential of using demand-driven smallholder farming to end poverty and hunger by building inclusive value chains. This is the kind of commitment we need and must have from the private sector to achieve the SDGs.” ~ Vimal Shah, Chief Executive Officer of Bidco Africa
Chellam Plantations Group:
“Ignoring engagement on the issue of sustainability is a myopia that could damage the perceived
integrity of palm oil and its derivatives. The battle to sustainability is a long and difficult one, involving
cooperation of many parties throughout the entire palm oil value chain. But it is also unavoidable as
with education, technology and media, people have become global citizens. The key to surviving this
battle will be to embrace it.” ~ Venkata Chellam, Managing Director of Chellam Plantations Group

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Back row, second from left: Jacob de Villiers the AFGRI representative from AFGRI Grain Management