Impact

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Harvest Time Investments

Harvest Time Investments delivers AGH’s farmer training and development programme.

With over 90 years of experience in the agricultural sector, AGH understands what it takes to be a successful farmer, and with this in mind, launched Harvest Time Investments in 2012 to unlock the potential of farmers and their farms through training, development, and mentorship.

As part of the initiative, study groups and trial sites are used to demonstrate new technology such a precision farming. Mentors and agronomists are on hand to share practical information and knowledge and offer insight that comes from many years of experience.

However, the mentorship is arguably the most valuable component of all – by working directly with the emerging farmer throughout the process, AFGRI’s mentors, working with teams from GeoAgro, AFGRI’s precision farming division, and its agronomists, are able to assist the individual to enhance his/her yields. This puts the farmer in a good position to increase yields and grow more crops, ultimately helping him or her to become successful commercial farmers of tomorrow.

Understanding that grain marketing and price hedging are also an integral part of a successful farming operation and of the profit earned from different crops, AFGRI assists emerging farmers with Grain Management services, and farmers are taught to understand the basics of the futures market. They are thus able to use this knowledge to hedge prices in the future. Farmers are also provided with basic business skills training.

Finally, the programme provides finance to farmers and exposure to the latest technology and farming best practice.

Through organised Farmers’ Days AFGRI continues to expand the horizons of new-era farmers and will always, as it has done for over 90 years, be with the farmers, for the farmers.

In Metsweding, Gauteng, Farmer A is flourishing

In the 2013/2014 season Harvest Time met this farmer in Metsweding for the first time. Only 68 ha had been planted using a planter which was incorrectly calibrated creating large, inefficient gaps amongst the maize plants. This led to an infestation of weeds.

The AFGRI training and development programme, which Farmer A embarked upon included farmer study groups, in-class training, basic computer training, and on-farm assistance by agronomists, coupled with mentorship, which also ensured that confidence in his skills and ability, was engrained.

Finance provided through AFGRI Harvest Time ensured that he could purchase an additional 22 ha of land, bringing the total to 100 ha. Weed management is also under control, with an excellent crop on the land. Full repayment of the production loan has been made, and the next step is to plant 120 ha. This is made possible through the confidence to lease additional land as well as having a true partner where farming matters can be discussed and the best course of action implemented.

In the Nkangala district of Mpumalanga yields are improving

In this case, Farmer B began farming in 2011 cultivating a mere 150 ha of maize. In 2012 he joined the training and development programme. Through a mixture of training, monitoring and mentorship the business has grown to 640 ha, which comprises 300 ha of white maize, 300 ha of soya beans and 40 ha of sugar beans.

Initial yields were 500kg per ha, but today yields are up at between 4 to 7 tons per ha of maize and soya and 1 to 2 tons per ha of sugar beans. The farmer improved his mechanisation with the purchase of a six-row planter and a harvester head for soya and maize, bought through access to the AFGRI hire purchase funding model to help grow his farming operations further.

In Mpumalanga, Farmer C now has a 617 ha farm and is previous of farmer of the year with Grain SA

Humble beginnings meant that Farmer C originally farmed on 50 ha but three years ago this started to change when he joined the AFGRI training and development programme. Here he garnered much-needed training in the form of in-class training, on-farm technical training with agronomists, personal development, as well as basic computer training. Monitoring and mentorship took the form of regular visits to the farm, assistance in managing accounts to ensure payments to input suppliers were made, as well as assistance with pre-season budgeting and spending.

From the humble 50 ha, Farmer C has developed into farming on just over 400 ha, made up of 140 ha of maize, 260 ha of soya beans and 20 ha of sugar beans. Yields have increased so that he is now able to produce between 6 to 9 tons per ha of maize and 1,5 to 3 tons per ha of soya beans and Farmer C’s farm is run with equipment he was able to finance from the profits. The training, mentorship and development programme from AFGRI has helped Farmer C learn the latest advanced techniques and by winning Farmer of the Year he walked away with a brand new tractor from John Deere, which will make his operation even more efficient.

In Standerton Farmer D is making his passion a reality

This is the first year in the AFGRI traning and development programme for Farmer D, who is very passionate about farming, and is a highly motivated individual. Farmer D spent most of his time on his farm during planting season, and his crop is beyond all expectations despite the relatively short period. He planted soya beans this season as a result of the drought, as he didn’t want to take too much risk, planting 75 ha and another 225 ha, which he owns in partnership with a neighbour. The crop estimate is currently around 1.5 tons per ha.

Strategic Pillars

  • Agriculture

    AFGRI is a leading agricultural services company with core competencies to enhance, support and guide the growth of agricultural enterprises.

    We provide services across the entire grain production and storage cycle, offering financial support and solutions as well as inputs and hi-tech equipment through the John Deere brand supported by a large retail footprint.

    Business Segments:

    Grain Management, Equipment, Farmer Finance & Insurance, Retail

    AFGRI International operates AFGRI Mauritius Holdings, a South African-based company which holds AFGRI Mauritius Investment Limited as well as the AFGRI related companies that operate in Australia. AFGRI Mauritius Investment Limited, is incorporated in Mauritius and holds the investee companies throughout Africa.

  • Food

    Philafrica is an investment company involved in food processing with a vision to unlock the potential of Africa’s high-potential agricultural lands through food processing.

    At Philafrica Foods, there is a belief that the most effective way to transform African agriculture is market pull through processing plants. But to do this well in Africa, it’s critical to support each stage of the value chain and care for all stakeholders.

    Business Segments:

    Cassava Processing, Grain Milling, Oil & Protein, Dog Food Production, Poultry Mozambique, Animal Feed Production

  • Financial Services

    GroCapital Holdings is the bank holding company for the recently acquired South African Bank of Athens (SABA).

    This banking license will deepen AGH’s reach in the financial services, agribusiness and foods sectors in South Africa. Financial services are a key enabler for these sectors and will help businesses grow and drive food security.

    The South African Bank of Athens has been operational in South Africa since 1947. The bank offers comprehensive traditional business banking such as lending, transaction banking and treasury functions, as well as alliance, business and international banking. It is known for its focus on the development of market-leading, niche transactional banking offerings in partnership with businesses.

    GroCapital Advisory Services offer advice on the full range of strategic transactions, comprising Mergers & Acquisitions, Capital Raising and BEE ownership transactions.

    In addition, we provide our investment portfolio, of companies just outside the direct scope of AGH’s four strategic pillars, with a comprehensive advisory approach that draws from our strengths in providing strategic and tactical know-how, industry knowledge, and utilising our extensive food & agriculture network to strengthen our invested companies.

    Investment Portfolio:

    AFGRI Technology Services, GroCapital Financial Services, CMI – Collateral Management International

  • Impact

    Harvest Time Investments
    Ukufeza Ikhono | Unlocking potential

    We understand that the perfect farm takes passion, dedication and sometimes just that little bit extra, and that’s why AGH is proud to support South Africa’s new-era farmers through our training and development programme, hosted within Harvest Time Investments.