AGRA SHARES CSR THROUGH 9TH SOCIAL REPORT
AGRA SHARES CSR THROUGH 9TH SOCIAL REPORT
Published: 09 Feb 2016
Agra proudly published its ninth annual social report this month, showcasing Agra’s social involvement in 2015 through contributions to the a development of agriculture and communities across Namibia.
Besides sharing Agra's inputs as a major role player in the agriculture industry, the report also highlights a multitude of initiatives and efforts of several organisations in Namibia committed to developing the industry and local communities. Agra is proud to be associated with these organisations and individuals who contribute to the essence of Agra’s slogan: “A better life”
Agra’s support to various events, projects and initiatives in the agricultural industry can be divided into knowledge and skills development; organised agriculture; agronomy; swakara and livestock as well as support to other groups where Agra does business as a diverse product and service provider. The report also shares Agra’s inputs into the development of their employees.
Agra experienced positive growth and was privileged to be able to invest largely in local infrastructure during the past two years. Besides the economic impact of Agra’s business, 2015 was again a year in which the company aimed to address the social aspect of the communities in which they do business. The report stated: “Through involvement we strived to better the lives of the Namibian community, especially in a year where the agricultural industry had to face various challenges of which the intense drought was a major factor.”
Agra’s advisory services division, ProVision, played a major role in Agra’s contribution to knowledge and skills development. Through the services of this division, farmers were once again exposed to viable farming techniques, solutions and alternatives and supported to understand their important role and increase their impact on the growth of the industry. Within the industry and organised agriculture, various groups take initiatives to organise events to share information and skills, focusing on specific needs or current issues. Agra supported these initiatives through sponsorships, financially or in kind and through physical assistance and involvement.
Several training courses and interactive breakfast sessions were presented by ProVision covering topics such as Namibia’s animal health; optimised production; rangeland management in dry seasons; financial viability of livestock farming and financial & risk management for optimised dryland cropping.
In the report Agra describes the farming conditions in the year under review as “very challenging with one of the worst droughts in years, the outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease north of the Veterinary Cordon Fence and the animal health regulations that were put in place by South Africa affecting Namibia’s export of livestock to our neighboring country.” Organised agriculture played an invaluable role in addressing these adversities by finding solutions or actions to manage unfavorable conditions. Realising the importance of this interweaved structures of farmers associations; regional agricultural unions and the spearheading organisations, the agricultural unions, Agra widely supported events organised and hosted by farmers associations including information days, training initiatives or fundraising events.
The report explains Agra’s product and service diversification to counter the risks and potential negative effects that the cyclical nature of agriculture has on Agra’s agricultural centered business. Through this Agra also serves a larger part of the community and specific groups of clients and activities such as gardeners, pet owners, the renovator and home-maker, sport shooting, horse riding and outdoor adventurers. Initiatives and events organised by the various groups of interest were supported by Agra where it provided the opportunity for Agra to introduce their products and services, connect with clients, give back to loyal customers and contribute to communities.
Agra is involved in the agronomic and horticulture sector through the provision of a wide range supplies for plant production as well as technical support by advisors within the industry. As food production and self-suffiency becomes more and more important and the industry grows, more initiatives are taken to support development in this industry. Agra supported a number of annual events as a regular sponsor as well as some new events.
Agra is the sole marketer of swakara pelts through the Agra Pelt Centre, responsible to collect, sort, package and ship the pelts to the two international auctions in Copenhagen, Denmark. This industry, with its unique challenges thus forms an integral part of Agra and its activities and benefited from the company's sponsorship and involvement in a number of events. As a major service provider in the livestock section of Namibian agriculture, this industry is close to Agra’s heart. Namibia’s animal health status, the condition of Namibia’s animals and the genetic quality of our stud breeds are aspects in livestock farming that play a large role in Namibia’s position in the market and income derived from livestock. It therefore is not only important for Agra to play a role in the marketing of livestock and the provision of animal husbandry inputs, but also to contribute to the maintenance of Namibia’s good reputation and the growth of the industry. Information sharing, skills development and education are crucial to equip livestock producers across all spheres of farming in commercial and communal areas. Through the inputs of Agra ProVision and the support of initiatives and events that contribute to the development of the livestock industry, Agra contributes widely, not only as role player in the industry, but because prosperity and welfare form part of the company’s reason for being. “Agra’s aims to maintain its status as an employer of choice” and “Agra is passionate about developing the individual potential of its people and has a holistic approach in managing our staff corps” are statements in the Agra social report expressing Agra’s realising of its corporate social responsibility towards its “largest investment” – its employees. “Given the pressing skills need in Namibia, Agra is passionate about developing the individual potential of its people and has a holistic approach in managing their staff corps. Staff is also encouraged to participate in CSR initiatives and actions and thereby experience that these actions have an impact on attitude and level of awareness of employees and create a sense of direction, integrity, positive perception about their employer and themselves and contributes to good team spirit,” states the report.