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EXPO: Agrifica Conference Boasts Top Experts in Agriculture


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A United Nations study published by its Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) and the World Bank, indicates that Africa’s already well developed agricultural sectors can be vastly expanded to improve the continent’s overall food security, providing adequate supplies for local consumption, and also produce surpluses for export to other markets.

This strategy will be highlighted at the Agrifica Conference on 26 July, one of several conference events that form part of Africa’s Big Seven Food and Beverage Trade Expo (AB7), to be held from 25 to 27 July 2010 at Gallagher Convention Centre in Midrand, near Johannesburg. AB7 is the biggest, and only, food and beverage trade show of its kind on the African continent.

Agrifica (Pty) Ltd is an agribusiness development and intelligence company established in 2001 and based in Pretoria, South Africa.

The theme of this year’s Agrifica conference is ‘Food Security for Africa’, and discusses the continent’s role as the potential solution to the World Food Crisis. Topics for discussion include: global food supply and demand; Africa’s potential contribution to world food supplies; investor interest in food production in Africa; prospects for commercial agriculture in Africa; factors affecting agricultural food production, and needed interventions to achieve Africa’s food production potential.

The keynote address will be given by Dr Pieter Mulder, the Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. Dr Mulder has a long political history in South Africa, having been a longstanding member of the conservative Freedom Front Plus party. He served as national chairperson of the party from 1994 until elected its leader in April 2001. He was appointed Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in 2009.

Dr Lawrence McCrystal, the Director of Agrifica, will open the conference and take part in the panel discussions. Dr McCrystal was Chief Economist for the Industrial Development Corporation from 1967 to 1969, and a member of the task team that established the Development Bank of Southern Africa. He is a member of the President’s Economic Advisory Council and Chairman of Finance, Education and Enterprise Development for the Refilwe Community Project. He holds a Ph.D in Economics from the University of Natal and twice received the Medal and Prize of the Economic Society of South Africa. He has published numerous articles on economics and economic development, a book on industrial location entities and a book on sustainable development of people.

Other notable speakers include Rian Coetzee head of the Food, Beverage and Agro Industries SBU of the Industrial Development Corporation, Kobus Lindeque, Managing Director of Monsanto, and Paul Runge, Managing Director of Africa Project Access (APA), a South African company providing specialist consulting services and information regarding projects in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Dr John Purchase, CEO of the Agricultural Business Chamber, is also the Deputy Director of the Grain Crops Institute, and was previously Manager of Strategic Development for Grain SA from 2004 to 2005. He is a member of South Africa Plant Breeders Association, and was also President of the South African Society for Crop Production.

Dr Theo De Jager is Vice-President of AgriSA, established in 1904 as the South African Agricultural Union. Today it serves over 70 000 large and small-scale commercial farmer members.

“Agrifica was established to promote agricultural development in Africa by harnessing South Africa's considerable agricultural skills, honed over many decades and under African conditions, in partnership with those who share the same vision,” says Marianna du Plessis, Project Manager of Agrifica. “This prestigious and highly relevant conference will focus on the global food crisis and the many opportunities this presents for all sectors of business and agriculture in Africa. This includes suppliers of imported non-African sourced food into Africa, new markets for sub-Saharan subsistence farmers with surpluses, better cost-to-sales ratios for larger mechanised farmers and more cost effective utilisation of transport and warehousing operations into Africa.”

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