Last week, we somehow neglected to mention in an issue that was otherwise replete with stories of consolidation in the agri-business sector, that Afgri had announced that Mauritian-registered AgriGroupe Holdings had offered R2.6billion for their business. Afgri, as you know, are a diversified agricultural products business which began life as a good old-fashioned co-op, built by the state and commercial farmers, which listed in 1996 when all such businesses were disbanded. And this, say the African Farmers’ Association of South Africa (Afasa), is the problem with the deal. Afgri was built cheaply on public money, and now it is being offered cheaply for sale to an entity which is in effect a consortium of mainly American interests. As the largest owner of SA’s grain storage facilties, and providing services to 7,000 commercial farmers, many of them emerging, Afgri is a significant contributor to the wellbeing of the farming community.
Comment: Some heartening activism from a very influential quarter.