We’ve taken the next step in our growth journey and we took it on South African soil. Land O’Lakes, Inc. recently closed on a 52.5 percent ownership stake in Villa Crop Protection of South Africa. The investment marks our first major international commercial investment in Africa. Working together with Villa, we will develop new solutions designed specifically for local growers to help them produce more food using fewer resources.
Nearly 80 percent of the land in South Africa was used for agricultural production in 2014. And agriculture added 109.3 billion South African Rand ($8.7B USD) to the country’s gross domestic product according to the World Bank. In a rapidly growing industry, and with our involvement, Villa Crop Protection is poised for tremendous growth in South Africa and beyond.
“South Africa has a dynamic and growing agriculture industry, and we are proud to be entering this country,” says Chris Policinski, president and CEO of Land O’Lakes. “We’ve been in countries across the world, including parts of Africa, for 35 years through our international development efforts. We look forward to bringing proven products from our WinField business to the South African market.”
A market leader in crop protection
Villa Crop Protection is a South African market leader in crop protection products with access to farmers across the country through a network of dealer shareholders. Land O’Lakes will provide backing and expertise in proprietary products, services and insights delivered under the WinField brand as well as scale in procurement.
Like Land O’Lakes, Villa approaches agricultural productivity using proven research. Like us, they provide their customers with the insights, education and tools needed to make a difference in the field.
Training programs are provided through the Villa Academy Training Institute, where staff work with agriculturalists, producers and sales people from across the industry to provide them with the latest knowledge, scientific facts and experience in the field. The focus is on helping the farmer optimize their crop production using fewer resources. With this partnership, Villa Crop Protection plans to expand the institute’s reach with assistance from Land O’Lakes and provide an even-wider range of training courses for the agricultural industry both locally and in the rest of Africa to build skills that help support the economic development of farmers and the agricultural industry as a whole.
Growing Land O’Lakes internationally
In late 2013, Land O’Lakes launched its international business team, charged with growing the business beyond our borders and continuing to provide increasing returns to our member-owners.
“Through insight and a strategic approach, we found the right partner with which to extend and grow our commercial business in Africa,” says Chris.
“The data is clear: Agriculture and production are critically important to South Africa,” says Andre Schreuder, managing director of Villa Crop Protection. “We are positive that this deal will enhance our capabilities, build on distinctive and complementary product offerings and bring new technologies, international insights and Land O’Lakes’ years of value-added agricultural knowledge to help meet local growers’ needs today and into the future.”