R5 million donated to livestock farmers

With South Africa in the grip of the worst drought the country has seen for the past six decades, AFGRI has stepped in and helped farmers across its service offering, the most recent of which was a donation of R5 million worth of animal feed to livestock farmers. The momentum of drought relief aid from AFGRI is increasing, with the Grain Management division having decided not to increase storage rates for 2016.

“Again, this step is in light of knowing that our farmers value every bit of relief we are able to offer. As partners to agriculture we feel this is the right thing to do. We need to ensure our farmers thrive when the rains come,” said AFGRI CEO, Chris Venter.

“Words cannot explain the pride I feel right now, knowing that we successfully allocated the entirety of the R5 million fund we made available to feed livestock in need,” says Venter. He went onto explain that the rationale of providing this feed was because farmers were slaughtering animals rather than having to watch them die. The feed provided by AFGRI is nutritionally formulated to help keep the animal alive. “Our goal to assist farmers to keep their livestock alive until the rains and grass return,” Venter went on to say.

The enormity of the drought is evident in the fact that it took less than one week to receive enough applications to deplete the R5 million worth of animal feed to livestock farmers in need. AFGRI kept track of each consignment from the first contact with the call centre. AFGRI’s feed mills are currently producing the drought feed to distribute to the drought stricken areas in KwaZulu Natal, Free State, Northwest, Gauteng and Mpumalanga. In the region of 110 000 animals are being supported.

Animal feed

Furthermore, much-needed financial relief is being offered for the current season (August/September) through the company’s financial arm, Unigro Financial Services. This is by way of restructuring payment for agricultural debt through various options, including consolidating outstanding amounts into term loans for unpaid revolving credit, production and insurance accounts due during 2016, subject to the availability of security.

“For hire purchases and medium-term loan repayments payable during 2016, we will consider rescheduling the outstanding amounts over the existing period plus one year, with no interest penalties, and will also consider extension for carry-over debt due during 2016, subject to the customer’s repayment ability and the availability of security.”

“I am proud that across the diversity of our business, we have been able to offer meaningful assistance. Animal feed was originally offered at discounted prices and as the drought tightened its grip, eventually given away and now, as a gesture of further consideration, we are holding our silo rates constant. In the greater scheme of the impact of the drought conditions, it feels like this is a drop in the ocean, but we are convinced that each small gesture goes a long way,” Venter concludes.

 

Author: Intsika

Gwatyu is a former editor of Farming SA and parliamentary reporter for Landbouweekblad (the leading agricultural publication in South Africa). He has more than ten years of media experience, most of which are in the agricultural sector. He completed several local and international media courses, including a media management course from the University of Stellenbosch, 3-year National Diploma in Languages (CPUT) and a fellowship in entrepreneurship on agricultural communication at the Oklahoma State University in 2014. He continues to be involved in agricultural media and communication activities in South Africa and the continent.

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