About Vipa Holdings
The Right Product Every Time
With thousands of South African farmers toiling in tough conditions to create successful businesses while providing for the country, Vipa Holdings is easing the load on the industry by providing precise agricultural products delivered timeously and to the highest standards.
“Vipa’s policy is to support farming communities by providing agricultural products to blenders, co-ops and agents that give the farmer what is needed when it is needed. This more precise approach places an emphasis on saving costs, with less risk to the supply chain and ultimately better yields on a sustainable basis” CEO David Smillie.
South Africa and Mauritius
Based in Durban with offices in Johannesburg and Mauritius, Vipa Holdings supplies fertilizers and animal feed raw materials to the agricultural industry. Vipa offers a range of exclusive value-added, coated products to blenders, as well as binders for pellet production.
The Vipa Story
As told by David Smillie – CEO Vipa Holdings
Vipa Holdings began in 2004 as an informal initiative that has grown into a highly organized and focused agricultural business which in March 2014 saw the company take a significant leap forward in its operation, one that will see it becoming a leader in the fertilizer business within the SADC region that will emphasise on global expansion.
In late 2013, with the effects of the global recession slowly impacting on South African businesses, particularly those in the logistics and transport sectors, Vipa found itself without a reliable way of bringing quality fertiliser products into the country and out to the to the market place.
Rather than allowing the recession to drag down their own business, the Vipa team looked at the current industry issues and opportunities and made a firm decision to move forward.
Benefiting the Industry
In early 2014, after finally bringing the right people together, Vipa entered into collaboration with a worldwide player in the fertiliser industry that has seen it import bulk fertilizers such as UREA, MAP and KCL for distribution throughout the region.
Vipa will focus on beneficiating these imported products through a state-of-the art manufacturing / coating facility situated close to the Durban harbour, ensuring an on-source, on-the-ground approach to the business.
Supported by one of the finest Trade Execution facilities located in South Africa, Vipa will be able to streamline logistics and mange the consistency of stock, which will ensure its’ clients get what they want, when they want it, and in the way they want it.
Part of maximising this ability says Vipa CEO Mr David Smillie is collaborative planning with clients, which helps avoid fluctuating prices, poor deliveries from local transporters and delays caused by poor quality supplies. “Many of these problems stem from having to buy on a just in time basis, but our dedicated team has the experience and now the right partnership to help our clients plan their deliveries,” he said.
Vipa Holding’s is a owner-operated business, so careful attention is paid to the quality of the products being imported and the best way for that quality to be retained while getting to the end user. “I have a vested interest in the success of this business and that means ensuring that the products we supply cannot be faulted,” said David.
As important as quality and timing, is cost, and with Vipa’s ability to bring large quantities of quality raw materials to the market, it is able to offer its’ clients competitive prices and the provision of credit. “Our focus is on saving clients time and money without compromising on quality – hence our motto ‘Buy quality or Buy twice’, and I really feel confident that our clients will not be disappointed,” said David.
The provision of credit has been missing in the industry and Vipa has been working hard to create a structure for this, a structure that will not only help the industry weather the economic storms it has been facing, but will ultimately help grow the farming industry in South Africa. “We ask our clients to please ensure that they have completed their credit application forms so that they can order on open account. We also now offer cash discounts to our clients,” said David.
The Vipa team has seen the company through its changes and growth over the last 10 years and with this big step forward, it will be looking to grow its’ staff. “In the next few months, we will be looking for people who fit into the Vipa mindset of integrity, strong decision-making and a focus on client relationships,” said National Sales Manager Cobus van Rensburg.
For David, 2014 will be a watershed year, with teething problems that will have to be dealt with as they arise, but collectively, with its new partners there are few companies that have the experience or the size to compete at the same level. “So watch out for Vipa products being delivered across the SADC region and know that another quality Vipa product is in transit,” said David.
According to the World Bank, while agriculture employs 65% of Africa’s labour force and accounts for 32% of GDP, African farm yields are among the lowest in the world. Although agricultural performance has improved since 2000, growth is not fast enough and has been based mainly on area expansion. With the scarcity of arable land there are limits to further expansion and thus productivity must increase.
“Our policy of giving the farmer through our clients, what is needed, has really stood us in good stead. In the Africa context, this means providing products on time that enhance and protect the natural biology of the soil so that there is a balance between the nutritional value of the crops and the high yields needed to meet growing food demand,” said Sales Director Cobus van Rensburg.