The 72nd annual AFMA AGM was held at the Arabella Hotel and Spa in Kleinmond, Western Cape on 13 September. The audience of more than 100 members of the Animal Feed Manufacturers Association (AFMA) members, leaders from industry organisations, academia, and government officials were told that agricultural qualifications and competencies must be aligned if the country is to meet the demands of employers.
Keith Lockwood, an independent economics and business consultant, said that given the present focus on education, many employers indicated that they would rather hire people based on their character traits than solely on the basis of their qualifications.
“If a candidate’s attitude is right, employers are more willing to award a bursary or train an applicant in the skills required for a specific position. In addition to this problem, long-term growth needs to be created before a stable environment for employment can be created,” Lockwood said.
At the AFMA AGM, chairperson Wouter de Wet reflected on the successes of the past year and plans for the future. Some of the notable achievements during the last 12 months, he said, included the increase in AFMA’s visibility, involvement in critical discussion making around the agricultural value chain, its role in the soya value chain discussions, participation in public-private partnerships (PPP’s), and the new AFMA strategy. De Wet said the AFMA strategy has developed a focus on unlocking value in the local agricultural value chains, through cooperation within these value chains. The AFMA Board has identified 45 ‘touch-points’ where AFMA could play a role in influencing the greater value chain. The most significant focus areas are bringing new ideas to the table, partnering with government, and enabling food security.
“The AFMA Board has reviewed the association’s Memorandum of Incorporation (MoI) and will propose some changes to align it with latest legislation to ensure we stay in line with the rapidly changing environment. This remains a work in progress. The MoI will be signed off by members before the next AFMA AGM,” de Wet said.
The second guest speaker, Dr John Purchase, CEO of Agbiz, shared his insights into the South African agricultural sector based on the risks and challenges in the political economy environment, investor confidence and growth in agriculture, food security, and developments in the legislative and policy environment. He said that the primary concern in South Africa is the lack of GDP growth and decline in competitiveness. Other priorities concern inequality, unemployment, land and water reform, crime and security issues and state capabilities.
The AFMA Awards
During the AFMA AGM, awards were presented to two very deserving recipients for their outstanding contribution to the animal feed industry during 2018/2019:
- The Person of the Year Award went to Chemuniqué’s managing director, Terry Wiggill, for his exceptional contribution in making a difference to the cost and sustainability of producing food in Africa by searching for innovations and being the first to bring these technologies to South Africa. He was described as someone passionate about developing people – those he works with, inexperienced graduates and interns, as well as people from disadvantaged backgrounds and local communities.
- The winner of the Barney van Niekerk/Technical Person of the Year was Dr Peter Plumstead, technical director of Chemuniqué. His current research projects include evaluating the effects of limestone on calcium and phosphorus digestibility, phytase efficacy, and phosphorus excretion, as well as the assessment of the variation in nutritional value of corn for poultry.
The new AFMA Board
The new board was also elected at the AFMA AGM. Wouter de Wet of RCL Foods and Thinus van Lill of Quantum Foods were re-elected as chairperson and vice-chairperson respectively. The rest of the AFMA Board includes:
- Alwyn Barnard, Nutri Feeds
- De Wet Boshoff, AFMA, executive director
- Dr Mbusi Dlamini, RCL Foods
- Anina Hunter, AFGRI Animal Feeds
- Heiko Köster, Barnlab
- Dr Hinner Köster, Barnlab
- Mark Manley, Sovereign Foods
- Sharlene Moodley, De Heus
- Michael Schmitz, Meadow Feeds
- Willem Stander, Meadow Feeds
Other events taking place around the AFMA AGM included a meeting of the AFMA Board, a meet-and-greet function, an AFMA dinner, and two very positive side-meetings with the Protein Research Foundation/Oilseeds Advisory Committee and with the Director of Animal Health at the Department of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries (DAFF).