Christmas Message from the CEO

At the end of the year people often say: “What a year!” This can mean different things – either a year full of highlights and good things, a bad year, or a bit of both. Looking back on the year 2017 at Agra Limited, it was indeed a year full of challenges, but also highlights, achievements and milestones.

 

Namibia has been in the grip of a severe drought and is experiencing an economic recession. These are major factors affecting Agra’s business. Embracing the challenges, Agra focussed on its core business amidst unfavourable market conditions, which were typified by export restrictions on livestock and low producer prices at the end of 2016. 

 

On the positive side, producer prices showed a steep increase during 2017, benefitting both producers and the business environment within the agricultural sector, with a positive spin-off for Agra Auctions.

 

Adding to the year’s challenges, was the implementation of the new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. Although the new system still poses a few challenges, Agra is proud to have achieved stability in terms of the integrity of the system having resolved most of the issues experienced since the “go live” on Sage X3 at the end of July 2017 – a system that will improve our business processes and controls, enabling us to transact 
more effectively. 

 

As a proudly Namibian company, Agra continued to invest in local infrastructure and increased its footprint in Namibia. We opened our new retail outlet in Karibib, a new retail branch at the Hardap Irrigation Scheme and started upgrades and expansions at our branches in Tsumeb, Otavi and Maltahöhe. Solar panels were installed at the majority of the Agra owned retail buildings. 

 

Despite a slight decrease in Agra’s revenue, we managed to achieve an increase in net profit after tax and Agra Ltd declared its first dividend of N$6,1million. This is indeed a milestone for Agra and for me as CEO of the company.  It is a priority for me to reward the shareholders of Agra, who are mainly the agricultural producers. I strongly believe that our shareholders should benefit from Agra’s growth and prosperity. 

 

Difficult years and circumstances create opportunities for growth.  As Robin Sharma said: “Stop being a prisoner of your past. Become the architect of your future.”

 

Blaming the past and our circumstances will prevent us form making progress. Being a producer in Namibia is not easy. The agriculture industry is at an all-time low and the economy is weak, but looking on the bright side, livestock prices are currently higher than ever. There is always something positive, if we look to find it. If we take a look around us at the burdens people have to carry, we will realise that we’d rather, if given a choice, handle our own burdens, as we are familiar with them and we know how to handle them better than anyone else. We are in control of our own destiny!  Provided we see the challenges as opportunities to make things better, learning from our hardships and mistakes and build on it, we will grow and keep moving forward. Keep looking at the brighter side of things, constantly search for opportunities and make plans to improve your situation. Don’t blame and stagnate, but build on your past and create the best future for you, those you love and the country you live in. Do whatever you do with passion 
and confidence. 

 

I would like to thank all Agra’s loyal customers for your support during the year, your patience during the implementation of the new ERP system and the renovations at several branches. I know it has been frustrating at times.  However, I am confident that the improved business environment will enhance our customer’s shopping experience, and that these frustrations will soon be something of the past. No progress is possible without discomfort, and the joy is so much more when the anticipated result is achieved.

 

Thank you to Agra’s executive leadership team and our loyal and motivated work force for your contribution towards our good financial results and your commitment towards excellent customer service. Thank you to our board of directors under the leadership of Mr. Ryno van der Merwe for your continued leadership, commitment and support. Good performance is a result of strong leadership, and I thank you for that. 

 

I wish you all a blessed festive season. May you find the time to relax, recuperate, reflect and recharge for the year to come.  We trust that Namibia will be blessed with abundant rainfall and that the current favourable producer prices are maintained and for all conditions contributing to the recovery of the economy to improve. 

 

We are looking forward to adding more value to all our stakeholders in the year to come. 
 

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