Africa agri business grows WA footprint

Brad ThompsonThe West Australian
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A major force in African agriculture has increased its footprint in WA as part of long-term plans to grab a share of the local grains industry.

AFGRI, a private company started in South Africa more than 90 years ago, wants to use its growing network of farm machinery dealerships in WA as a launch pad for diversification.

The company operates John Deere dealerships in a number of African countries where it runs feed mills and is heavily involved in grain handling.

AFGRI operations director Gollie Coetzee said the com-pany’s long-term motivation for establishing operations in WA was food security.

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“Food security is what we are all about and WA will give us a long-term footprint for that,” he said. “Not at this point in time, but we are looking toward TO the future. In other countries we are heavily involved in mills, storage, wheat handling and finance.”

AFGRI is not a buyer of Australian wheat but will consider becoming active in the market based on the success of its WA operations.

“Africa does not have a major wheat crop because of the winter rainfall,” Mr Coetzee said.

“We want to make sure we are in countries that can help us in the long term.”

AFGRI has just added the Jolly and Sons farm machinery dealerships in Dalwallinu and Wongan Hills to dealerships it owns in Geraldton, Moora and Carnamah.

It acquired T & H Walton Stores in 2004 and now employs more than 110 people in WA operating as AFGRI Equipment.

Mr Coetzee said AFGRI had been looking to expand its machinery dealerships in WA for some time because economies of scale were vital in a field where technology was surging ahead.

AFGRI started life as a farming co-operative and at one time was listed on the Johannesburg stock exchange.

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