Africa’s first research and training feed mill to be launched at Africa’s largest feed and animal nutrition conference

By: Food Focus on 18 February 2020

The AFMA Forum 2020, Africa’s largest feed and animal nutrition conference, was strategically chosen as the right time and perfect platform to officially launch Africa’s first research and training feed mill to be located at the University of Pretoria’s (UP’s) Miertjie le Roux Experimental Farm near Bronkhorstspruit.

The AFMA Forum 2020, themed Explore Today for a Better Tomorrow, taking place at Sun City from 3 to 5 March will be hosting more than 700 international and local delegates from more than 170 companies and organisations operating in the feed and animal nutrition sector.

In establishing the AFMA/UP Research and Training Feed Mill, the Animal Feed Manufacturers Association (AFMA) has entered into a joint venture with the University of Pretoria (UP), with the signing of an MoA on 11 December 2018, to the value of R50 million.

The core objective of the joint project is to the establish a research and training feed mill to “Close the Gap” that currently exists in the skill set of most animal nutrition students finishing university or tertiary education. This skill set is only developed after being employed in the formal feed industry and can take up to 3 to 4 years of inhouse training before the employer really starts reaping the benefits of the investment made in this human capital (students).

The reason for the “GAP” stems mainly from the fact that students finishing their degree or post- graduate studies have little to no practical experience of the actual feed milling environment. Postgraduate students, furthermore, don’t have a practical feed milling environment to conduct proper, practical and innovative research and development. Due to the lack of physical infrastructure and means to give shape to the practical side of the theory in the past, tertiary academic institutions couldn’t include this in their under-graduate or post-graduate curriculums.

With this exciting joint venture, which will in the future become available to all South African students, the objectives are:

  • To avail the necessary physical feed milling environment to assist in “Closing the GAP”.
  • To avail the necessary physical environment for post-graduates to do proper research and innovative product development;
  • To deliver better practical equipped students to the industry who are marketable with little extra in-house training;
  • To shorten the time spent on in-house training by the employer;
  • To ensure a faster return of investment in human capital to industry;
  • To avail the necessary capacity to industry to make use of this facility to do industry trail feeds;
  • To avail the necessary capacity to industry for innovative research and development, which is difficult in a large manufacturing environment;
  • To avail the necessary capacity to industry and academia to host short and refresher courses on feed milling; and
  • To avail the necessary capacity to accommodate the training of feed millers and students north of South Africa’s borders.

According to the MoA between UP and AFMA, AFMA will via its members and industry role players contribute toward the research and training feed mill and the laboratory, as well as other equipment necessary for the establishment and ongoing operations on the principle of - “FOR THE INDUSTRY, BY THE INDUSTRY”. UP will contribute the site and infrastructure, as well as the final operating of the mill assisted by AFMA specialists.

Companies operating across the whole feed manufacturing supply chain – from the procurement of raw material to the delivery of the final product – are invited to join AFMA and UP at the launch, and to step up and make a contribution towards realising the full potential of this research and training feed mill – the very first on the African continent.

The research and training feed mill is an initiative of the AFMA Board of Directors, driven by the AFMA/UP Research and Training Feed Mill Project Committee.

For more information about the AFMA Forum 2020 and to register, visit

The AFMA Forum 2020 is accredited for Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for professionals registered at the South African Council for Natural Scientific Professions (SACNASP) and the South African Veterinary Council (SAVC).