AFGRI Agri Services, one of South Africa’s leading agricultural services companies, has constructed a new grain bunker in the Eastern Cape to support the local farming community in support of Government’s vision of expanding the country’s agriculture footprint.
This is according to AFGRI Agri Services CEO, Jacob de Villiers, who says the new bunker near Butterworth in the Eastern Cape will offer state-of-the-art storage facilities for both maize and soya beans, offering storage capacity of 15,000 tons.
“This is our first commercial bunker in the province, and also the first commercial storage facility in the Eastern Cape, and we believe it will make a huge contribution to the efforts of local farmers, who will in future be able to securely store their crops without worrying about the produce rotting before it can get to market.”
The bunker in Centane, about 30 kilometres outside of Butterworth, is one of six new bunkers opened by AFGRI Grain Management recently, including the Delmas, Vaaldrift, Devon, Kortlaagte and Chelmsford Dam bunkers.
De Villiers says the Eastern Cape bunker will be managed by AFGRI Grain Management, which will employ and train people from the local community to help run operations. AFGRI Grain Management will also ensure that world-class grain management systems and procedures are put in place. An example is not only offering the storage of grains, but also the issuing of silo certificates, which can in turn be used as collateral for the farmers to secure additional funding.
The bunker will form part of the Centane/Mbashe Agricultural Initiative, a commercial dryland maize and soybean operation, which currently aggregates 2 500 hectares of communal land in rural Eastern Cape into a single commercial farming entity on behalf of 2 252 communal landowners from 34 villages. It is a joint venture partnership between these landowners and WIPHOLD. Gloria Serobe, WIPHOLD founder, says AFGRI Agri Services’ decision to enter the Eastern Cape Province is an exciting development for the province.
“The Eastern Cape is the next frontier for agricultural growth in South Africa. The area has enormous potential as an alternative growing region for South Africa’s food supply. What’s needed to support agricultural development in the region is attention to basic infrastructure, including grain storage facilities. We salute AFGRI for leading the way and investing in the future, not only of the region but also of their business.”
De Villiers said that AFGRI Agri Services is very proud to be helping to build the foundations of a strong agricultural sector in the Eastern Cape, which further includes the tobacco farming project that Lemang Agricultural Services, AFGRI’s training and development arm, is involved with, working closely with British American Tobacco South Africa.
“These endeavours are proof that committed businesses can work with Government to ensure sustainable skills transfer, create job opportunities and at the same time enhance the agricultural value chain,” he concluded.