KKSM to market Syngenta

Syngenta has appointed Klein Karoo Seed Marketing (KKSM) in Oudtshoorn to take over its vegetable-seed distribution.
Issue date : 11 July 2008

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Syngenta has appointed Klein Karoo Seed Marketing (KKSM) in Oudtshoorn to take over its vegetable-seed distribution. Clint Lawson, Syngenta SA’s seed marketing manager, said the appointment was a strategic decision. “The company has reached a point where it’s unable to grow its vegetable-seed market without investing in more human capital,” said Lawson. “does not make sense to us as our vegetable-seed range is limited and it wouldn’t fit into our business strategy.”

KKSM has a vast range of seed products with the necessary infrastructure and expertise to provide valuable client information. “It makes business sense to combine our vegetable range and KKSM’s comprehensive distribution network,” said Lawson. L omo van Rensburg, manager, confirmed that the new vegetable range would complement current product range. “It’s well-aligned to the Zeraim range, which already markets under the Afrigro trademark,” said Van Rensburg.

“This range consists of tomatoes, tunnel cucumbers and zucchini types, while the Syngenta range consists of broccoli types, cauliflower, open-field peppers, spanspek, tunnel tomatoes and sweetcorn.” awson emphasised that was not experiencing financial problems. He added that Syngenta’s Crop Protection business wouldn’t be affected by the agreement and all crop-protection products would continue to be available. The Syngenta vegetable brand will still belong to and continue to sell under the brand name. – Glenneis Erasmus

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Senwes reports a sturdy profit

Despite challenging market and agricultural conditions, Senwes has achieved excellent growth for the third consecutive year. During the financial year ended 30 April, positive commodity price levels gave rise to good plantings, according to Steven Alberts, director of finance. “resulted in a positive business cycle for the input supply and credit extension business units,” said Alberts.

“However, the grain division’s performance was somewhat hampered by pressure on the grain throughput channel due to low volumes of available grain.” H e said the strategy of growing market share through product offering and superior customer service had proved very successful.

New opportunities are being continually investigated. Alberts added the investigation into African markets is in its infancy, but all indications are that there’s money to be made in the Southern Development Community. “South markets are mature and the competition locally is severe,” explained Alberts “It makes good business sense to explore avenues in neighbouring countries.” Senwes’s operating profit, before interest and tax, grew by 33% to R350 million. net result attributable to shareholders of R173 million, up from R125 million in 2007.

Result also represents an increased return on opening equity of 22,4%, compared with 18% the previous year. Earnings per share increased 38,4%, from R0,69/share to R0,96/share. Shareholders received dividends of R0,54. This included a special and interim dividend of R0,40, with a final proposed dividend of R0,14. A s part of value creation the gap between net-asset value and trading value has been successfully bridged and shares currently trade at a price-book ratio of 129%.

Johannesburg Stock Exchange listing will be considered and discussed with shareholders if necessary. G ood financial performance should continue on the back of a positive agricultural cycle and favourable agricultural commodity prices. The current summer crop shows potential and indications are there should be a return to normal grain volumes.

“In addition, winter grain crops are expected to increase because of recent good rains in winter crop areas and high wheat prices,” said Alberts. Record profits were realised by the mechanisation and input supply division. “This was caused directly by the sharp increase in commodity prices resulting in the highest profitability in agriculture in the past five years,” explained Alberts. “Farmers recently postponed investments in mechanisation because of low prices and uncertainty in agriculture.” – Annelie Coleman

KZN community garden project wins major supply contract

Having just taken its first crop the Eshowe project – an initiative of the Department of Social Development (DSD) and empowerment organisation the Organic Farm Group (OFG) – will now supply the catering company Fedics with processed vegetables for the Eshowe Hospital.

The members of the project are now growing the vegetables for the Fedics deal on 4ha of land provided by the DSD, and will harvest them in the spring. The project will also process the vegetables. he Eshowe project, also called the Vukuzithathe Community Garden, is based in the rural Vuma area of KwaZulu-Natal, which suffers high levels of unemployment, illiteracy and poverty.

The project has provided an opportunity for 25 community members, aged between 19 and 78 years, to generate an income. They sold their first yield of spinach, beetroot, lettuce, cabbage, green peppers and tomatoes, grown on 1,5ha, to the community. I n addition to facilitating the deal with Fedics, the OFG has provided training in commercial organic agriculture and basic business principles. OFG promotions director Quinton Naidoo said the organisation, funded by corporates, was looking at bringing in more groups of organic farmers, clustered on five farms of 20ha to 30ha, in order to provide the full range of vegetables required by Fedics.

 “It’s humbling to see people so dedicated that some of them walk for up to an hour to get to work at 6am,” said Naidoo. “Even more humbling is the fact that although some participants are illiterate, they’re just as eager to learn the concepts behind organic farming as those who are literate.” – Robyn Joubert

Still no game exporting to the EU

SA’ s venison EXPORT INDUSTRY still hangs in the balance, despite a recent meeting between industry players and representatives of the Department of  Agriculture’s veterinary division and of the European Commission (EC). It was agreed that the EC’s decision to suspend exports can only be repealed by another decision following a successful inspection of the SA’s export control systems.

Earlier, Farmer’s Weekly had reported that according to Piet Neethling of Camdeboo Meat Processors in Graaff-Reinet, chairperson of the Game Abattoirs and Meat Exporters of SA, the ban was the result of a lack of communication between the national agriculture department and the EU. Neethling said South Africa has the capacity to conduct the necessary tests for growth stimulants and that these were done. Subsequent reports have since indicated that the agriculture department neglected to send these results to the EC. – Staff reporter

Annelie Coleman represents Farmer’s Weekly in the Free State, North West and Northern Cape. Agriculture is in her blood. She grew up on a maize farm in the Wesselsbron district where her brother is still continuing with the family business. Annelie is passionate about the area she works in and calls it ‘God’s own country’. She’s particularly interested in beef cattle farming, especially with the indigenous African breeds. She’s an avid reader and owns a comprehensive collection of Africana covering hunting in colonial Africa, missionary history of same period, as well as Rhodesian literature.