Agri-Expo is a South African company that performs marketing services to promote the South African agricultural industry in the Western Cape.[1] The organisation was founded in the Cape Colony as the Cape of Good Hope Agricultural Society in 1831, making it the oldest agricultural society in South Africa and Africa.[2][3]

FormerlyCape of Good Hope Agricultural Society
FoundedNovember 1831; 192 years ago (1831-11) in Cape Town, Cape Colony
FounderMichiel van Breda
Area served
Western Cape
Key people
Breyton Milford (CEO)
Number of employees
4 (2023)

The company promotes the agricultural industry through the organising of agricultural shows and food competitions. The company currently hosts the annual South African Dairy Championship and the South African Young Wine Show. It formerly hosted more shows, including the South African Cheese Festival, and the Agri-Expo Livestock show, but a restructuring in 2023 led to the company cancelling many of their events and retrenching 10 of their 14 staff members.[4][5]

History edit

The Cape of Good Hope Agricultural Society was founded in November 1831[6] by Cape Town farmer and politician Michiel van Breda.[7] On 1 December of that year, the society placed a notice in the government gazette of the Cape Colony advertising a livestock trading fair to take place on 22 December.[8] In 1832, the society established branches in Stellenbosch, Swellendam, Tulbagh, and Worcester.[9][10]: 148 

By 1837, the society had grown to 156 members, an increase of 24 members from the previous year.[6]

In February 1832, the Cape of Good Hope Agricultural Society started collecting money for a prize to offer to a farmer who submitted the best sample of Madeira wine.[11] In June 1833, a wine farmer named J.J. Marais was awarded the prize of 100 Rixdollars and a trophy for submitting the best Madeira wine. The trophy was handed over by Sir John Wylde, Chief Justice of the Cape Colony.[10]: 149 

In 1836, the society presented a cup to a merchant, Captain Robb, for his services in importing Angora goats and sheep.[12]

The Cape of Good Hope Agricultural Society played a role in promoting the mechanisation of the agricultural industry in the Cape Colony in the 1850s.[13] However, agricultural machinery was not widely adopted by Cape farmers.[14]

In 1952, the society established the General Smuts Trophy for the best South African wine of the year. The trophy is named in honour of Jan Smuts.[15] As of 2023, the General Smuts Trophy is still awarded as part of the South African Young Wine Show.[16]

In 1996, the society started trading as Agri-Expo.[3] In 2002, Agri-Expo hosted the inaugural South African Cheese Festival. The first event drew 3,000 people and by 2011, the festival had to limit ticket sales to 10,000 per day over three days according to Agri-Expo's CEO.[17] Agri-Expo sold the Cheese Festival to a consortium of private investors in May 2023.[18]

In 2021, Agri-Expo celebrated its 190th anniversary. Princess Anne wrote a letter of congratulation to the organisation from Buckingham Palace in her capacity as president of the Royal Agricultural Society of the Commonwealth.[19]

References edit

  1. ^ "Agri-Expo - Professional promotion & marketing for the agricultural sector". 8 September 2021. Retrieved 5 October 2023.
  2. ^ Nieuwoudt, Charlene (January 2014). "Show time!". The Dairy Mail. 21 (11): 137. hdl:10520/EJC163174.
  3. ^ a b Botha, Isabeau (February 2022). "South Africa's Oldest Agricultural Society Celebrates 190 Years of Existence and 25 Years of Innovation". The Dairy Mail. 29 (2): 15–16. hdl:10520/ejc-ac_dm_v29_n2_a6.
  4. ^ "Agri-Expo retrenches 10, appoints new GM". Food For Mzansi. 9 February 2023. Retrieved 13 November 2023.
  5. ^ Kriel, Glenneis (3 March 2023). "Agri-Expo restructures to ensure sustainability". Farmer's Weekly. 2023 (23007): 24. hdl:10520/ejc-farmweek_v2023_n23007_a6. Milford confirmed in a statement that 10 staff members had been retrenched, leaving the organisation with only four employees.
  6. ^ a b Bregman, Leigh Davin (2004). "Snug Little Coteries": A History of Scientific Societies in Early Nineteenth Century Cape Town, 1824-1835 (PDF) (PhD thesis). University College London. Retrieved 11 November 2023.
  7. ^ Wilson, Julianne Elizabeth (November 1990). A changing rural economy and its implications for the Overberg, 1838-1872 (PDF) (PhD thesis). University of South Africa. Retrieved 14 November 2023. A moving spirit in the agricultural world in the early thirties was Michiel van Breda who formed the Cape of Good Hope Agricultural Society in 1831.
  8. ^ Van Breda, P (2 December 1931). "Fair for every description of Live Stock". Government Gazette (1352). The Cape of Good Hope. Retrieved 14 November 2023.
  9. ^ Van Breda, P. (1983). Ontstaan van die eerste landbou- en boereverenigings in die Kaapkolonie tot 1883 (PDF) (Thesis) (in Afrikaans). North West University. hdl:10394/5425. Retrieved 11 November 2023. Ook in die westelike distrikte is gedurende die eerste helfte van die 19de eeu verskeie landbouverenigings gestig waarvan die bekendste die Cape of Good Hope Agricultural Society was. Die vereniging is in 1831 in Kaapstad gestig en in die volgende jaar is 'n tak daarvan op Stellenbosch gestig
  10. ^ a b Van Zyl, D.J. (December 1973). Die geskiedenis van wynbou en wynhandel in die Kaapkolonie, 1795-1860 (DPhil thesis) (in Afrikaans). Stellenbosch University. hdl:10019.1/70378. Retrieved 15 November 2023.
  11. ^ George, Marian (1980). JOHN BARDWELL EBDEN HIS BUSINESS AND POLITICAL CAREER AT THE CAPE 1806 - 1849 (PDF) (Thesis). p. 87. hdl:11427/7851. Retrieved 11 November 2023.
  12. ^ McCall Theal, George (1908). History of South Africa since September 1795 Vol. II (PDF). Swan Sonnenschein & Co. p. 41. Retrieved 11 November 2023.
  13. ^ Dooling, Wayne (July 1999). "THE DECLINE OF THE CAPE GENTRY, 1838–c. 1900". The Journal of African History. 40 (2): 215–242. doi:10.1017/S0021853799007434. S2CID 163137437. Retrieved 11 November 2023.
  14. ^ Marincowitz, John Nicholas Carel (June 1985). Rural Production and Labour in the Western Cape, 1838-1888, With Special Reference to the Wheat Growing Districts (PDF) (PhD thesis). University of London. p. 110. ProQuest 2185912667. Retrieved 14 November 2023.
  15. ^ Minnaar, Melvyn (4 November 2020). "The Art of Trophies". winemag. Retrieved 14 November 2023. Introduced in 1952 and named by the Cape of Good Hope Agricultural Society in honour of the Union's Prime Minister Jan Christiaan Smuts for his support of the wine industry
  16. ^ "SA Young Wine Champions of 2023 in the spotlight". 28 July 2023. Retrieved 14 November 2023.
  17. ^ Smith, Carin. "SA Cheese Festival: from good idea to annual powerhouse". Business. Retrieved 14 November 2023.
  18. ^ "About Us". SA Cheese Festival. Retrieved 14 November 2023.
  19. ^ "190 Years of Agri-Expo". Royal Agricultural Society of the Commonwealth. 15 December 2021. Retrieved 18 November 2023.