The Southern African Grain Laboratory (SAGL), acting as the reference laboratory for the grain and oilseed industry in South Africa, recently launched its new crop protection division. The new division will allow the SAGL to serve a larger part of the agricultural industry in an entirely new sector. The opening of the new laboratory was celebrated at the SAGL at the Grain Building in Pretoria.

The day also marked the 20th anniversary of the SAGL that was established in 1997 following the disbandment of the Agricultural Marketing Boards. Not only did the event celebrate 20 years of the SAGL it also celebrated the people who have made it all possible. The SAGL has come a long way to becoming the successful establishment it is today.

Jannie De Villiers, Grain SA CEO and one of the founding members of the SAGL, Mariana Purnell, general manager, Agbiz Grain, and director on the SAGL Board of Directors, and Boikanyo Mokgatle, chairman of the SAGL board of directors, who opened the day, reminisced about humble beginnings and the progress they have witnessed over the past 20 years. “Now, 20 years later we are here launching the new crop protection division, even though people said it was impossible to establish the SAGL or its new division.”, said De Villiers.

Nico Groenewald, head of agribusiness at Standard Bank, emphasised the importance of financing further down the value chain to support the agricultural industry full circle. “One easily overlooks institutions like the SAGL and the important role they play in ensuring that high quality produce reaches consumers down the value chain.”, said Groenewald, emphasising the importance of establishing the new division.

“The new crop protection division will further contribute to ensuring that safe and nutritious food reaches the consumer.”, said Cecilia Breedt, laboratory manager Crop Protection Division. The new laboratory will soon be fully functional for commercial testing of pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides, to ensure these products enter the market on local and international standards. As the SAGL slogan reads: “We measure so that you know”. –Ursula Human, FarmBiz

See Tweets done at the function here: