“For almost a century now, the AFGRI Group has been supporting the agricultural sector in South Africa. We believe in our hearts that supporting those involved in agriculture where we can when they fall on difficult times is absolutely the right thing to do. This investment in caring for those involved in the various processes that put food on the table of all South Africans is important to us and, although we can’t help everyone, we will lend a helping hand wherever we can.”
Acting CEO, AFGRI Group Holdings
What is the motivation for establishing the Fund?
The Fund has been established to make a meaningful difference in the areas AFGRI 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 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 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`s shareholders, but also to those donating money. AFGRI is committed to and follows strict corporate governance procedures and the AFGRI 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 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 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 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 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 Support Fund?
Two e-mail addresses also been created for those in need of financial support to apply for funding, which are firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. Please note that all requests will be subject to certain criteria, and due process.
Throughout the year AFGRI 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
3. Directors of the AFGRI 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
AFGRI Agri Services Support Fund Application Form
The AFGRI Support Fund, as at the start of our new financial year April 2020, is proud to list instances and distributions which have assisted those in need:
- A family from Bethal received support after a natural disaster;
- A child with a rare disease received funding for necessary medical treatment;
- The Kingdom Ambassadors Children’s Home, with 43 children whom do not receive governmental support, received assistance;
- Farmers Associations received fuel assistance for drought relief schemes;
- 180 tons of maize was donated alongside the Blinkwater Mill and Burre Burger for drought relief in the Northern Cape;
- Support of the #PayFoodForward initiative – the Sunfield Fortuna Home for the Disabled in Balfour received assistance;
- Free State Covid-19 food help, together with Agbiz Agri Value Chain Relief Project and initiative for community development;
- During November 2019 a project was started to help the farmers in areas where drought was being experienced. In the Ceres area, through the Koue Bokkeveld Drought Relief Project, farmers cut, bail and transport animal feed material to drought areas. AFGRI Equipment assisted through the supply of equipment.
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 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, 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. From December 2020, he assumed the role of Acting CFO of AFGRI Group Holdings.
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 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 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 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.