Agribusiness Focus areas
Agribusiness is a dynamic discipline which encompasses agricultural processes and business principals. Some of the challenges faced by agribusinesses today include the issue of food security, the global gap between developed and developing countries, the lack of adequate financing and the level of competitiveness faced by small scale farmers.
Our academic offering includes the following focus areas:
Strategic management is an organisational function that is vital to all agribusinesses because of the fact that resources are scarce and need to be allocated efficiently to ensure sustainable development for future generations. Strategic management allows companies to position themselves in such a way that they are more competitive, both locally and globally. It enables them to recognize and exploit new business opportunities. Sound strategic management allows companies to anticipate and manage problems, in an ever-changing, modern society.
Strategic marketing is an organizational function that consists of processes for creating, communicating and delivering value to customers. It is a means by which product information and quality is communicated to customers and stakeholders in order to create long-term growth and a strong brand.
Agribusinesses need sound financial statements in order to accurately portray their financial position to investors, shareholders, creditors and other stakeholders who need to make informed decisions regarding the business. These statements enable business managers to control their assets and keep track of their investments. Financial managers need to ensure transparency, clarity and reliability in these statements, that is in line with the King III report. This is important when determining which financing structure will best suit a farmer's needs. The type of ownership a farmer has will affect his capital, liability and tax considerations; for this reason financial expertise is of utmost importance to ensure the success of agribusinesses.
Agribusinesses are faced with many types of risk, including financial, political, production, market and price factors. Businesses need to avoid, reduce, mitigate, retain or absorb risks, depending on the probability and severity of the risk. The sooner a potential risk is identified, the sooner it can be dealt with to minimize potential losses. Forecasting and scenario planning plays a big role in agribusiness and are important tools in risk management. It enables businesses to draw up contingency plans for dealing with situations arising from risk factors.
Globalisation has played a crucial role in the trade of agricultural products in import and export markets. It has been a driver of growth for most developing countries. Trading-goods in which a country has a comparative advantage can boost that country’s economy, but for all other goods in which the country doesn’t possess a comparative advantage they tend to rely on trade with other countries. Unfortunately, despite global efforts to bring about free trade, there are trade barriers in the form of quotas, tariffs, non-tariff barriers, etc. which exist and consequently make trading cumbersome.
Supply Chain Management
Supply Chain Management has to do with the movement and storage of raw materials, work-in-process inventory, and finished goods from the point of origin to the consumer. It is the way in which inputs and services are brought together and then used to grow, transform or manufacture a commodity into more differentiated products. As the safety of the environment becomes increasingly important, more environmentally- friendly processes are being adopted in order to reduce carbon footprints and emissions. These “green” approaches are technology-based so that costs remain manageable. The supply chain needs to be kept as short and concise as possible to cut costs and ensure quality when dealing with perishable agricultural produce, for instance. There is a need to establish safe, secure and continuous supply chains in order to try to minimise inventories and losses due to transport inefficiencies and redundancies, which in turn also reduces transaction costs.