Eastern Cape Relief – AFGRI Says Thank You

A month has passed since devastating wildfires caused havoc in the Southern and Eastern Cape regions, claiming lives and leaving many displaced. Apart from homes and businesses affected, the destructive fires also swept through numerous farms in the Thornhill district, destroying pastures, killing livestock and leaving the farming community in dire need of aid.

Several farmers in the Free State and KZN Midlands region, as far as Bothaville, Koppies, Danielsrus and Tweeling, have generously donated animal feeds to the farms in need. AFGRI partnered with these farmers to facilitate a structured and transparent platform and process through which large-scale hay donations could be sent to farms in the Thornhill district. The feeds donation, comprising hay bales and maize rests, amounted to more than a 1000 round bales. AFGRI Grain Producers further donated maize for trading, using proceeds to fund this project.

South Africa’s agricultural community is known for its generosity, resourcefulness and genuine support of fellow farmers in need. During 2015/16, when the Free State lay stricken with severe droughts and the province declared a disaster area, Cape farmers liberally assisted inland farms. Now, as the Eastern Cape faced the trail of damage left by the blaze, Free State and Midlands farmers were returning the favour by offering their support and bringing relief through these donations to farms in distress.

AFGRI is proud to be associated with the South African farming community and wishes to extend a heartfelt thank you to all the farmers that made this generous contribution possible.

Nevertheless, the cost of transporting the bales proved the biggest hurdle to overcome. Taking the task upon themselves, AFGRI ensured the transport costs were covered by involving several industry partners and formally sourcing additional financial contributions from our suppliers and business affiliates.

The response was astounding. AFGRI Animal Feeds MD, Anina Hunter, wishes to acknowledge the following institutions for their financial contributions towards transportation: AFGRI Grain Management, AFGRI Grain Producers, AFGRI Animal Feeds, AFGRI Unigro, VD Commodities, Seaboard, Lynn Phillips Consult, Central Edible Oil, TICSA Feeds, VS Soya CC, Farmwise Grains, KWS Carriers and SCP Polycloth Manufacturers.

Feed donations from various farmers continue to come in, and we would like to fulfil the process by delivering all of the donations to the affected farms. To date, only 85% of the transportation costs have been covered. Should you wish to get involved by contributing financially, please email Phillippus Oosthuizen (Logistics Manager for AFGRI Animal Feeds): phillippus.oosthuizen@

As partner to the agricultural community, AFGRI is honoured to be involved in initiatives of this kind.


Enhancement to AFGRI’s online transaction platform frees up time for farmers

AFGRI’s innovative e-Accounts online transaction platform has evolved into a powerful, dynamic digital channel that will soon span services and products across the AFGRI suite with further enhancements aimed to free up time for farmers

UNIGRO, the financial services division of AFGRI, became the first South African agricultural lending provider (excluding the tier one banks) to provide internet transaction services to its customers with the launch of its online offering in 2014.

Named e-Accounts, the transactional online system has evolved into a powerful, dynamic digital channel that will soon span offerings across AFGRI.

“e-Accounts evolved from a relatively simple transaction portal into a sophisticated digital channel that is changing the way AFGRI’s customers are doing business,” says Tinus Prinsloo, Chief Executive Officer, AFGRI Agri Services. “The platform lets farmers manage their entire business, finance and planning on one user-friendly platform that’s secure, instant, convenient and accessible from a variety of devices. In addition, farmers get end-to-end transaction capability at lower rates than those charged by banks.”

Four years after the portal was developed by specialist software provider Synthesis for UNIGRO, e-Accounts have been leveraged by most AFGRI divisions and expanded into a powerful, dynamic platform. Additional enhancements will further revolutionise the way farmers manage their AFGRI accounts.

Johann Barnard, Chief Operations Officer, UNIGRO Financial Services and e-Accounts project owner, says the platform is a resounding success. “AFGRI e-Accounts enables farmers to manage their entire operation online – from loans, forex and payments to grain trading and equipment purchases. It offers a secure, easy-to-use transaction and management platform for customers. Instead of having to call or email AFGRI, customers can now access their accounts from multiple devices, simply and intuitively, 24 hours a day.”

Following the initial success of the platform, AFGRI saw the opportunity of adding further agri-related functions that would enable farmers to administer and manage their entire farming operations, says Barnard. Several additional features, including payment scheduling, viewing and authorisation of foreign exchange transactions as well as payroll capabilities, were added for GroCapital, another AFGRI financial division.

As features to the platform are added on demand, the popular grain management tool was added in June 2016. Using e-Accounts, farmers can view the amount of grain they have in stock at the silo, as well as the amount they still need to deliver on their contracts. They can keep an eye on live grain prices, estimating how they will affect them, and trade their grain with brokers, who are able to immediately transfer money from their UNIGR0 facilities to the farmers, says Prinsloo.

With this feature, clients can see everything from tonnage, date of delivery and Rand per ton, through to the processing of loans and payment. They have insight into the entire value chain, via a graphical dashboard, adds Barnard. “e-Accounts also enables farmers to tender for offcuts (called chaff and siftings) from the grain processing which can be used for cattle feed.”

AFGRI’s insurance division will be next to benefit, followed by retail.  And later this year, farmers will have access to e-Credit, where they can apply for new lending facilities through e-Accounts.

“Within five years, we want to create a ‘bartering’ system so that, for example, when our client delivers his grain he can drive away in his new tractor!” says Barnard.

For AFGRI, e-Accounts delivers a major competitive advantage. AFGRI is benefitting from greater customer satisfaction, increased revenue as a result of up-selling and cross-selling, better efficiency, increased employee satisfaction and reduced risk. The platform has been a major differentiator for AFGRI, which is now viewed as a leading technology innovator.

AFGRI e-Accounts now has approximately 1000 active users, with more than 30 000 logins since the first project went live. The largest single payment so far was more than R60 million. “We’re seeing a dramatic trend upwards,” says Barnard. “Within the first 12 months, R1,2 billion in payments went through the system.  During the second year, this value has tripled, shooting up to more than R4 billion.”

“We see e-Accounts as one of most important sticky factors for the agricultural sector going forward,” Barnard concludes. “We’re not aware of any other company – in South African or the rest of the world – that enables its customers to have this wealth of information at their fingertips and which enables  them to run their entire farming operations.”