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  • By Lynda Kiernan-Stone, Global AgInvesting Media

Land O’Lakes Makes Investment in South African Crop Protection Company

Land O’Lakes has made its first commercial investment in Africa as its positions itself to capitalize upon the continent’s growth potential, acquiring a 52.5% stake in South African crop protection business, Villa Crop Protection.

Under the agreement the two companies will join their complementary portfolios of crop input products and services aimed at increasing crop yields for all sizes of farming operations. The existing management team in place at Villa Crop Protection will remain in place, and experts and technologies from Land O’Lakes’ crop inputs business, Winfield Solutions LLC, will support the business moving forward.

"We've been in countries across the world, including parts of Africa, for 35 years through our international development efforts,” says Chris Policinski, president and CEO of Land O’Lakes Inc. “This is our first major international commercial investment in Africa. We look forward to bringing proven products from our WinField business to the South African market and investing in the research and development efforts that will provide new products to local growers that help produce more food, more sustainably."

South Africa’s agriculture industry is entering a dynamic stage of growth. Nearly 80% of the country’s land, or 97.6 million hectares, was used for agricultural production in 2014 and agriculture accounted for 109.3 billion South African Rand (US$8.7 billion) of the country’s total gross domestic product according to the World Bank. Land O’Lakes will bring its proprietary products and services that have been commercialized in the U.S. to the market along with staff that have the latest knowledge and experience. With this backing, Villa Crop Protection plans to expand its reach, product offerings, and training courses within both the local agricultural industry and across Africa.

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