No deal for SeaArk

The legitimacy of a recent SeaArk Africa business deal has been questioned by the same company with which they are said to have clinched the deal.
Earlier this year SeaArk Africa said it had signed an agreement with a major Saudi Arabian marine company t

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The legitimacy of a recent SeaArk Africa business deal has been questioned by the same company with which they are said to have clinched the deal.
Earlier this year SeaArk Africa said it had signed an agreement with a major Saudi Arabian marine company to the tune of R70 million. But the company, the Jeddah-based Al Fulk, has denied ever agreeing to such a deal, saying the widely publicised pilot prawn-farming site won’t be developed on their shores.
According to SeaArk Africa their earlier statement was based on a legitimate memorandum of understanding. Al Fulk strongly denies this and said they were sceptical from the start and don’t wish to pursue any dealings with SeaArk Africa. – Cornelia du Plooy and Mail & Guardian

Internet milk marketing might make the difference

Milk producers and buyers will be able to trade milk on an internet-based trading platform towards the end of May, if everything goes according to plan, says the managing director of the Milk Producers Organisation (MPO) Etienne Terre’Blanche.
Trading this way will increase milk-price transparency. “Farmers will be able to see prices and volumes on offer and compare earnings,” explained Terre’Blanche. “They will also be able to sell their produce to the highest bidder.”

He said that using the internet could be especially advantageous for small-scale producers struggling to find an outlet. The internet might also become a market for milk surpluses. Producers are often forced to sell surpluses at prices fixed by the company with which they have contracts, but might now search for an alternative market for their produce. Buyers will be able to source milk from a large number of producers nationally, a major advantage.

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The virtual market is not aimed at displacing contracts with large dairy buyers, but at providing producers with an alternative marketing tool. Terre’Blanche said agriculture has faced many changes over the past few years and innovative ways of marketing are needed to ensure farmers’ survival.

The internet-trading platform will mainly facilitate standardised six- to 12-month contracts, but will also provide for short-term and once-off transactions. It was launched by the MPO, together with Market Square South Africa, who developed the software. – Glenneis Erasmus

Northern Cape goat commercialisation programme launched

The Northern Cape Government and the private sector have joined forces to commercialise goat farming by emerging farmers, with the hope of ending subsistence farming in the province.

The multimillion-rand Northern Cape Goat Commercialisation Programme was developed by the Department of Agriculture, in collaboration with the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC). The programme is an Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative for South Africa (AsgiSA) and Provincial and Development Strategy anchor project. The Kalahari Kid Corporation was established as part of the programme, with local and international branding and marketing as its core functions.

A direct investment of R15 million by the IDC has given the programme impetus, said premier Dipuo Peters. She said the province’s goat population stands at more than 700 000, and the programme will afford goat owners the opportunity to develop from herders to suppliers of naturally reared goat meat for retail and processing for export, and of hides for leather production.

The government has also established a number of goat co-ops in the province. The donated 2 000 goats for two production farms on 15 000ha, and 300 initial stock units to three co-ops, the Kagisanong Women Dipudi in Kuruman, the Britstown Small Farmers’ Co-op and the Chevon Youth op in Groblershoop. Another 18 co-ops will be supplied with breeding and initial stock in the near future. – Annelie Coleman

Asmal resigns as SAWIC chairperson

Prof Kader Asmal has unexpectedly walked away from his position as chairperson of the SA Wine Industry Council (SAWIC). He was supposed to have held the position until September this year. There are rumours Asmal resigned over strained relationships between himself and certain groups in SAWIC.

Asmal, however, denied this. “It’s normal to have strain between groupings in large organisations, but Ihave always tried to represent the best interest of each group in the council to the benefit of the wine industry as a whole,” he said. He added that he enjoyed working with SAWIC, but felt it was time to move on.

The SAWIC board expressed its gratitude for and appreciation of Asmal’s efforts in establishing SAWIC two years ago. Nosey Pieterse, chairperson of the Black Association of the Wine and Spirit (BAWSI) said Asmal had made a major contribution to the wine industry. The Wine Industry Advisory Forum will meet in due course to nominate a successor.

In the meantime a successor to previous SAWIC CEO Dr Johan van Rooyen has been identified, but the name of the candidate has not been made public. – Glenneis Erasmus