AFGRI Agri Services, a leading agricultural services company with core competencies to enhance, support and guide the growth of agricultural enterprises in South Africa and further afield, has launched a not-for-profit company to assist those in dire need involved in the agricultural sector in South Africa. The Fund will operate in the geographic areas of the country where the AFGRI Group operates but won’t be limited to AFGRI Agri Services clients.

“For 95 years and more, the AFGRI Group has been supporting the agricultural sector in South Africa. We do this not because we have to, but because lending a helping hand is part of our ethos. There are times that no matter how dedicated, diligent and committed a farmer is, the elements step in and upset the apple cart – and that in these times, people just need a partner who cares.”

– Chris Venter
CEO, AGH (AFGRI Group Holdings)

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the motivation for establishing the Fund?

The Fund has been established to make a meaningful difference in the areas AFGRI Agri Services operates in, aside from our service and product offerings, as there are times that people just need a partner who cares. We have therefore established this Fund into which we have made an initial injection of R3 million.

What is the purpose of the Fund?

The Fund has been launched to assist those in dire financial need involved in the agricultural sector in South Africa. AFGRI Agri Services knows all too well the publicised issues and get asked by so many to assist. In this way, we can ensure that support reaches those in need as much too often donations don’t reach those who truly need them.

This will enable AFGRI Agri Services to continue to make a positive impact on the agricultural sector in our country, just as we have for the past nine decades and more.

What are the underlying principles of the Fund?

The aim is to grow the Fund to be sustainable into the future as a beacon of agricultural community support. It is therefore not a development fund or a sponsorship vehicle, and will focus purely on assisting people in need, based on the merits of each case. It is based on the ethos of AFGRI assisting those in need, which is not a recent development but has been part of the company’s philosophy since it was established over 95 years ago.

The Fund will be audited and reports published, not only to AFGRI Agri Service`s  shareholders, but also to those donating money. AFGRI Agri Services is committed to and follows strict corporate governance procedures and the AFGRI Agri Services Support Fund is no different. Both the impact and the measurement of the difference we are making will be noted with the purpose of continual improvement to safeguard a growing and sustainable Fund.

Jacob de Villiers, Marion Shikwinya and Ross Simmonds, all senior executives within the AFGRI Group, are the directors of the Fund and will be responsible for the evaluation and disbursements of requests received.

Their resumes can be found here.

Who is eligible to benefit from the Fund?

The Fund has been established in order to extend financial support to beneficiaries in the agricultural sector, focusing on those operating within the AFGRI Agri Services ecosystem and geographic areas. Each submission for assistance will assessed on merits of the case.

Can anyone donate to the Fund? And if so, will they receive donations certificates?

We hope that those so inclined will contribute towards the Fund, so yes, anyone can donate to the Fund, which is registered as a not-for-profit company, with all contributions treated in terms of the Tax Act and thus donations will be deductible. Those donating will receive the appropriate paperwork in terms of South Africa’s financial regulations.

Has the Fund been established and registered as a Not-for-Profit?

Yes, the Fund has been established, and registered as a Not-For-Profit company, with all contributions treated in terms of the Tax Act and thus donations will be deductible. AFGRI itself has committed to an initial donation of R3 million and then an annual donation of a minimum of R3 million. In addition, AFGRI Agri Services will continue to have an account into which farmers are able to donate grain for sale, the proceeds of which will be transferred to the Fund account.

What is the long-term vision for the AFGRI Agri Services Support Fund?

The aim is to grow the Fund to be sustainable into the future as a beacon of agricultural community support, ensuring that financial support is available to all involved in the agricultural sector in South Africa in the long-term. In this way AFGRI Agri Services will continue to make a positive impact on the agricultural sector in our country, just as we have for the past nine decades and more.

How do I engage with the AFGRI Agri Services Support Fund?

Two e-mail addresses also been created for those in need of financial support to apply for funding, which are and Please note that all requests will be subject to certain criteria, and due process.

Throughout the year AFGRI Agri Services will make use of a host of events to raise money for the Fund, including golf and farmers days, as well as ad hoc opportunities, and will also be accepting contributions from external individuals and organisations.


1. Submit your requirement by completing the Application Form

2. Email the Application Form to or

3. Directors of the AFGRI Agri Services Support Fund review requests across the month and these are discussed and allocated within six weeks

4. You will be contacted via the email address or telephone number provided

5. In some cases feedback on the support may be requested

Application Form

AFGRI Agri Services Support Fund Application Form

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Fund Directors

Jacob de Villers

Jacob de Villers


Jacob joined the AFGRI Group in 2004, excelling in AFGRI Grain Management to becoming the Managing Director. He was, at the beginning of 2018, appointed the CFO of AFGRI Agri Services and later in that year became the CEO. In the CFO role, he is responsible for managing all financial aspects of the various divisions within AFGRI Agri Services, including AFGRI Grain Management, AFGRI Equipment, Retail and full subsidiaries such as UNIGRO Financial Services and Lemang Agricultural Services. This includes oversight of the governance of the companies as well as the full financial function pertaining to these companies. Jacob is also a Director of various companies within the Group.

Marion Shikwinya

Marion Shikwinya

LLB (University of Pretoria); LLM (Indiana University School of Law, USA)

Marion, an admitted attorney, was appointed as AFGRI’s Group Company Secretary in 2012, joining from the Omnia Group where she was Divisional Company Secretary and Group Legal Advisor.

Marion was then appointed to spearhead Harvest Time Investments, the entity created in 2012 to train, develop and mentor new era farmers, which has experienced great success under her leadership.

Marion now heads up Lemang Agricultural Services, focussed on supporting large black farmers ready to take the final steps towards becoming full-scale commercial farmers.

Marion is a Director of AFGRI Operations and a member of the AFGRI Agri Services Executive Committee. In her role as EXCO member she continues to be responsible for Sustainability, including B-BBEE and Corporate Social Investment (CSI). Marion also sits on the Board of Limpopo Tobacco Processors (Pty) Ltd as a non-executive director and is an employer representative Trustee on the Board of Trustees of the AFGRI Group employee pension fund. Marion was named a finalist for the Standard Bank 2016 Top Business Women of the year award.

Ross Simmonds

Ross Simmonds


Ross is the MD of UNIGRO Financial Services, which provides lending and insurance products to farmers through 14 branches across South Africa. He has been instrumental in growing the farmer debtors’ book from R1,4 billion in 2011 to just over R12 billon that is under management today.

Ross joined AFGRI Agri Services in 2007, joining from Kagiso Risk Solutions, where he was the Financial Director. During his 10 years with the Group, he has worked extensively at UNIGRO to arrange funding solutions through the Landbank and other commercial banks within South Africa and internationally. Ross is also responsible for the Emerging Farmer Finance portfolio, and as such constantly explores funding opportunities to support these transactions.

He has driven the UNIGRO strategy during his tenure as MD and has focused primarily on empowering a strong management team, regional expansion and innovation.The innovation strategy led to the implementation of UNIGRO’S eAccounts system in 2015.

Ross has deep expertise in management, innovation, and agricultural funding, which stands him in good stead.

Latest News

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