A SHORT HISTORY OF AGRICO

On February 4, 1896 Paul Andrag arrived in Cape Town, South Africa, having left Germany to work for the Moravian Mission near Caledon. His task was to manage the trading store at Genadendal. During 1904 he started his own business in Cape Town and subsequently transferred to Saron, situated between Gouda and Porterville in the Cape and continued with a trading store.

Paul noticed that the local farmers faced many problems due to a lack of proper equipment. He knew that European agricultural machinery could solve some of these difficulties and began to import equipment to sell locally. Well-known agencies were acquired, including Lanz Tractors, Perrot Irrigation, Deutz Engines, John Deere Tractors, Fahr Combines, KSB pumps and others.

In time, his sons joined him in the business and many pioneering ideas were introduced to South Africa by them. Some of these are: The first rubber-tyred tractor, the first sprinkler irrigation, useful varieties of plants (Including Lupins and Serradella), some of the first locally manufactured ploughs, the first locally made irrigation tubing and many more. By the time the second world war had ended, all five sons of Paul were active in the business, which was then called P Andrag & Sons.

In 1950 Agrico Machinery (Pty) Ltd was founded to resume importation of Lanz Tractors. The branch network of Agrico grew steadily to follow the demand for its products. During 2000 the shareholders merged the Andrag and Agrico companies into one, larger group. This was done to make use of synergies in manufacturing, marketing and distribution. Today there are 27 branches spread over South Africa. 

Three factories produce implements, agricultural tractors, industrial tractors, centre pivots, quick coupling pipes, PVC pipes, polyethylene pipes, drippers, micro jets, aluminium and iron castings, electric valves and crop sprayers.  The 4+Series of tractors was developed, with sales to farmers commencing in 1986. The cumulative production exceeds 600 tractors. The manufacture of centre pivots was started in 1988 and is done in an integrated factory that features on-site galvanising.

Currently four shareholders, who are all university graduates, are active in the day to day management of the company with more third and fourth generation family members serving as non-executive directors. Therefore three successful generation successions have taken place, often a critical stage for a family business.

Our company currently employs over 900 people, and has annual sales exceeding 1 Billion Rand.

Our management style can be characterised as conservative. This philosophy coincides with that of our main customers, the farming community, construction and industrial companies. These customers generally have a low mobility and tend to favour long-term business relationships, based on mutual trust.

AGRICO: More than 100 years’ service!