3 years ago

Free State Business 2020 edition

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The 2020 edition of Free State Business is the 10th issue of this highly successful publication that, since its launch in 2008, has established itself as the premier business and investment guide for the Free State. The Free State Development Corporation describes its work, including property management and investment support in several articles in this journal. The official launch of the Maluti-A-Phofung Special Economic Zone (MAP-SEZ) was a significant event for the economy of South Africa’s most centrally located province. Business and industrial parks form part of the economic strategy of the province’s planners and details of these facilities are outlined in this journal. In addition, overviews on each of the key economic sectors provide up-to-date information on trends in the manufacturing and tourism sectors, for example. Regular information about the size and nature of each sector is also included. Updated information on the Free State is also available through our monthly e-newsletter, which you can subscribe to online at, in addition to our complementary business-to-business titles that cover all nine provinces as well as our flagship South African Business title. The printed journal is distributed internationally on outgoing and incoming trade missions, through trade and investment agencies; to foreign offices in South Africa’s main trading partners around the world; at top national and international events; through the offices of foreign representatives in South Africa; as well as nationally and regionally via chambers of commerce, tourism offices, airport lounges, provincial government departments, municipalities and companies.


PROFILE OVERVIEW Agriculture Grains and dairy farming underpin a diverse and robust sector. The purchase of a 21% stake in BKB by VKB has given the latter company extended geographical reach and opportunities in new markets. While VKB is strongest in the Free State and Limpopo with a grain focus, BKB is well-established in the Eastern Cape, deals mainly in wool and mohair and runs many auctions. VKB is already a diverse group, with the capacity to produce soybean meal and soybean cake, flour and even packaging from its plants, mills and factories. Grain Field Chickens, a large abattoir in Reitz, is one of the company’s biggest facilities in the province. The Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), which has a 23% stake in the project, aims to help develop the Free State as the poultry hub of South Africa. VKB’s headquarters are in Reitz in the eastern part of the province and the group has nine brands in sectors such as fuel, grains, animal feed and foods. VKB has development programmes with 51 emerging commercial farmers in the province and data on 140 developing farmers. Not many rural landing strips have to deal with 376 aeroplanes and 63 helicopters in a short space of time. But that’s what Bothaville had to do when it again hosted the country’s largest agricultural SECTOR INSIGHT VKB has bought a stake in BKB. festival, NAMPO Harvest Day, in 2019. Grain SA’s big day had 775 exhibitors catering to 81 345 visitors. The annual Farmer Patent Competition is sponsored by Grain SA and Omnia, the fertiliser company. Bothaville is located in the Lejweleputswa District Municipality on the western boundary of the Free State with North West. So far west is Bothaville that Senwes counts it FREE STATE BUSINESS 2020 30

OVERVIEW PROFILE as part of its North West region. The giant agricultural company, with its headquarters in the North West city of Klerksdorp, has three separate regions for the rest of the Free State. The company deals about 20% of the country’s oilseeds and grain through its 68 silos. The Free State Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) notes that only 11% of the province’s primary agricultural production is processed within the province’s boundaries. Business Times reported in 2018 that smaller Free State dairy farmers are struggling to deal with rising costs and lower prices. With the trend towards sourcing milk in coastal areas growing, the number of dairy farms in the province has dropped to 183, from a high of 929 in 2009. The Imbani Homsek Group is an integrated dairy-products producer with one of the biggest Ayrshire herds in the world. The farm north of Bloemfontein encompasses 6 000ha and its factories supply Woolworths. The long-life milk factory is a three-way partnership between Imbani Homsek, Woolworths and Nampak, the packaging company. The head office of Country Bird Holdings is in Bloemfontein: its brands are Supreme Chicken, Nutri Feeds and Ross (breeding). Country Bird Logistics controls 45 chilled and frozen vans. Clover has three factories in the Free State: Bethlehem (milk powder, whey mixtures and creamers); Frankfort (butter, the largest such factory in the country, where ghee and roller dried milk powder are also made) and in Heilbron (whey, buttermilk, condensed milk and packaging). In 2017 DARD hosted a summit on “Repositioning the Free State Province for Agricultural Value Adding and Processing Towards 2030”. Investors are being encouraged to look at baby vegetables, wholesale meat production (including poultry) and leather manufacturing. Key to commercialising these agricultural options is access to finance and the Industrial Development Corporation has been active in the Free State in support of this goal. The official launch of the Maluti-A- Phofung Special Economic Zone has given another platform to boost the agri-processing and agri-logistics sectors. A number of initiatives have taken place in terms of the land reform process. Some 6 000ha has been allocated to small-scale farmers and 500ha to farm dwellers. A land audit has been done of all land belonging to state, provincial or municipal authorities with the intention of providing land for black enterprises. The provincial government wants to see more black commercial farmers. One way of achieving this is to increase production volumes of small-scale farmers. Five agri-parks are planned in each of the Free State’s district municipalities. The concept brings together farmers, traders and agriprocessors (such as abattoirs) in convenient sites within each district municipality. Support for rural smallholders will be available in terms of equipment hire from a central source, storage facilities, packaging of produce and getting products to market. Training will also be offered. Provincial assets Agriculture makes up 4% of the Free State’s gross domestic product, but the province’s efficient farming operations contributed a total of 10% 31 FREE STATE BUSINESS 2020

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