Protecting the seeds of growth in South Africa and beyond

Through massive investment in the development of its product portfolio, targeting products mainly towards ‘row crops’, but also ‘permanent’ or ‘export’ crops – like citrus fruits, table grapes, apples and pears – the company is facilitating the continued growth of South Africa’s significant agriculture exports.
Agriculture remains a critically important industry in South Africa and many other African countries, as a provider of jobs, and from a food security perspective. Nearly 80 percent of farmable land in South Africa is used for agricultural production, amounting to over 97.6 million hectares.
With the sector contributing around 2.5 percent (US$8.7 billion) to South Africa’s GDP, Villa is keen to capitalise on this market segment. It is investing heavily in product development to provide a total solutions approach to crop protection, as opposed to simply providing standalone products. After growing its turnover by 23 percent in the 2013-2014 financial year and continued annual growth leading up to this period, Villa is confident in its ability to invest its profits back into the business to gain market share. “It is estimated that we currently hold a market share of just over 20 percent,” says Andre Schreuder, Managing Director of Villa Crop Protection.
Further bolstering its growth plans in South Africa and on the rest of the continent, October 2015 saw Villa sign an exclusive partnership agreement with US-based Land O’Lakes Inc, marking the US$17 billion entity’s first move into Africa. Villa can now provide the full product portfolio across the entire South African agriculture market, with key retailers across the sector to facilitate further market growth, and a team of more than 200 employees.
Schreuder comments: “The deal will see two like-minded organisations combine two complementary portfolios of productivity-enhancing crop input products and services to help farms sustainably improve their yields in Africa. Apart from access to new capital, the most exciting component of this venture is the ability to tap into new expertise, ranging from collective product procurement, skills transfers, sharing product formulation expertise, access to decision supporting information technology, and quality control expertise.”
The short-term focus will be to manage the local registration of the impressive range of Land O’Lakes’s Winfield products, which includes adjuvants and plant nutrition products.
Andre Schreuder concludes: “Modern agriculture is technology-driven and requires high levels of expertise, and we see Villa playing a leading role in both these fields going forward. By the end of 2016, we will have a significantly bigger presence on the continent, a bigger team, larger facilities (a 9 500m2 warehouse is currently under construction) and a wider range of products that cover associated industries such as fly control solutions, rodenticides, a home and garden portfolio, and an industrial weed control portfolio.”
Villa ultimately envisages growing its market share and continuing to develop in line with industry trends, selling a complete value-adding solution to its customers.
Tel: 011 396 2233