Agrinet moving forward

History of AgrinetAbout 65 years ago Agrinet was started as VETSAK (an acronym for ‘Vrystaat en Transvaalse Sentrale Aankoop Kooperasie’), with the initial vision to serve and uplift the South African farming community by establishing a centralised co-operative buying group that could negotiate better prices and source specialised products. VETSAK was to become the co-operative for the co-operatives so to speak.

Fast forward to present day and Agrinet has evolved into a large wholesaler, supplier and distributor in ten specialist categories (Hardware, Electrical, Irrigation, Paint, Garden, Mechanisation, General Goods, Power Products, Plumbing and Outdoor) to the traditional co-operative and growing national hardware retail segments within sub-Saharan Africa. The company has enjoyed a varied and dynamic history and has helped to develop and lead various market segments over the past few decades through its uniquely developed approach to wholesale and distribution.

Humble beginnings, big vision

On 1 September 1950 in Fordsburg, only 5 years after World War II, the five founding members of VETSAK established the first central buying co-operative with only R600 and a bold vision. After the war there was a shortage of many goods in the country, which provided a unique opportunity for the company. This shortage, coupled with a valuable Yskor steel supply contract, placed the founding members on a very favourable starting block.  But it was not as clean-cut and easy as would be expected as many previous failed attempts to establish a centralised buying group was still fresh in the minds of various farmers and regional co-operatives.

The founding members persevered, however, and in the winter of 1952, VETSAK acquired a larger, more centrally located property in Isando. The location was also ideal because of its proximity to the railway network, which, at the time was the main form of distribution to the co-operative groups until the introduction of Agrinet’s own fleet of trucks in 1990. Slowly but surely the company increased their product offering and in no time over 20 000 trade items were being sourced and distributed, which included products like Wolseley engines, to a wide variety of ‘farm-tested’ hardware tools.

A tipping point in the company’s history came in 1959, when the decision was made to establish a manufacturing plant to produce the now infamous orange VETSAK farm gate. This would mark the first big step in VETSAK’s history to becoming a serious contributor to farm-related manufactured goods. The drive has always been to meet the South African farmer’s needs for great quality products at reasonable prices. The company’s logo still carries the VETSAK gate to this day, which symbolises the company’s promise to not let any product pass its gates without proper investigation and stamp of approval.

To this day VETSAK farming products are still used and preferred by many farmers, which speaks to the close working relationship, R&D and understanding of the farmer’s needs during the product development and manufacturing process at VETSAK’s various plants. In these formative years VETSAK grew a reputation of trust with the farming community through various produced and imported products in irrigation, ground-engaging parts, engines and hardware ranges, of which the most famous was the Fiat Tractor. To this day VETSAK is still a household name, which is testament to the lasting impact the company had on the farming communities of yesteryear.

A few big shifts

The company’s vision to become a truly centralised and national buying co-operative was still not fully realised until the acquisition of Boeresake’s trade division in 1996. This division served the Cape region and owned the Agrinet brand. The need was identified to change the company’s name from VETSAK to Agrinet as this better represented the company’s transition to a truly national distributor.

In later years legislation was passed which enabled centralised co-operatives to sell to ‘non-members’. (Other co-operatives were referred to as ‘members’) This opened a flood of opportunities for the company to expand markets and extend their hard-earned expertise to cater for other buying groups.

In 2007 the need arose to move to larger premises that would allow for further growth and the Samrand warehouse was acquired. Agrinet still operates from these premises today and has built various additional warehouses on site to keep up with the increasing growth.

Since the move to Samrand, Agrinet’s focus has shifted from mainly supplying/manufacturing agricultural type products, to the growth of general trade type products to service the needs of the general hardware market. Agrinet however still retains its market-leading position in irrigation and competitive offering in mechanisation and power products (engines) through its specialist divisions.

Agrinet’s strength is its people

Sean Bradshaw, MD of Agrinet recognises that; “The strength of Agrinet lies within. The company has a great heritage and wealth of internal knowledge which is continually being guided to develop our service offering to the market.” The long-standing culture of Agrinet is that of commitment, camaraderie and loyalty and the company prides itself in retaining its employees due to the genuine ties formed with staff. Very recently, Aaron Mbatha, the longest serving employee of the company, retired after an amazing 48 years of valued service.

Agrinet today and the next 65 years

Modern day Agrinet is a dynamic yet grounded company which still operates according to the founding and guiding principles of being solutions-driven, knowledgeable, innovative and best at sourcing. Agrinet’s mission is to be a dynamic partner for their clients and suppliers in the retail chain and to assist their business partners in achieving growth goals and market positions through their extensive distribution and sourcing capabilities.

Agrinet’s commitment to the support and development of top brands will keep on assisting its customers in their challenge to serve the high standards of today’s consumer and build lasting relationships. Already Agrinet has enjoyed great success with their recently introduced owned brands such as Nexus, Power Master and the rebranded Kaufmann Outdoor range, which serves as testament to the company’s understanding of the consumer and retailer’s requirements for a well-priced, high quality product that serves their needs.

The vision for the next 65 years is to be the solutions-driven channel of choice for Agrinet’s portfolio of products in Africa. This will be achieved by building on a great legacy, measurement of standards according to world-class benchmarks, as well as continual improvements in terms of integrated technology, distribution, deliveries and service measures.



Latest


14 Sep 2020
Matus makes a move

Matus had spent around 28 years in its operations building based in Durban, but the time has come and to…

Matus makes a move

Matus had spent around 28 years in its operations building based in Durban, but the time has come and to move on and they are now situated at new address in Springfield Park, Durban.

02 Sep 2020
Product of the Year 2020

A product that is new, innovative and ticks the most important retail boxes for you.

Product of the Year 2020

A product that is new, innovative and ticks the most important retail boxes for you.

18 Aug 2020
DIY Awards 2020

The DIY & Industrial Trade News Industry Awards is into its 11th year and the voting process has started. Go…

DIY Awards 2020

The DIY & Industrial Trade News Industry Awards is into its 11th year and the voting process has started. Go through the various categories below and vote for your deserving winning company under each. Judging: All nominated companies are judged as follows: Every month DIY & Industrial Trade News readers…

31 Jul 2020
Grinding discs reengineered

Grinding discs are considered essential products for many tradesmen. Although conventional grinding discs offer several advantages, they also have some…

Grinding discs reengineered

Grinding discs are considered essential products for many tradesmen. Although conventional grinding discs offer several advantages, they also have some disadvantages especially related to ergonomics.


Top stories


05 Feb 2020
′Silent salesman′ simplifies paint colour tinting

Duram recently launched an innovative new Colour Tinting solution. Francois Swart, Duram sales director sat down for a Q&A to…

′Silent salesman′ simplifies paint colour tinting

Duram recently launched an innovative new Colour Tinting solution. Francois Swart, Duram sales director sat down for a Q&A to tell us more about it.

17 Dec 2019
Reaching high

Recent developments in forklift technology have resulted in cutting-edge reach trucks that are much smarter, offering an array of benefits…

Reaching high

Recent developments in forklift technology have resulted in cutting-edge reach trucks that are much smarter, offering an array of benefits to the end user.

17 Dec 2019
Now with added offering

The Mica brand has always been synonymous with DIY. Its trendy blue, yellow and orange has brightened up hardware store…

Now with added offering

The Mica brand has always been synonymous with DIY. Its trendy blue, yellow and orange has brightened up hardware store fronts across the country for the past 36 years. Although Mica has always played in the general DIY and paint market, it has now firmly stuck its foot in the…

17 Dec 2019
Ingco now offers power tools training to retailers

Skillcraft Agencies, distributors of the Ingco tool brand has opened a power tool training centre, helping sales staff acquire the necessary skills…

Ingco now offers power tools training to retailers

Skillcraft Agencies, distributors of the Ingco tool brand has opened a power tool training centre, helping sales staff acquire the necessary skills to better understand, market and sell the brand.  


Visit the official COVID-19 government website to stay informed: sacoronavirus.co.za