Diversified chemicals and commodity services group Omnia resumed its dividend for the first time since its 2018 interim results, as its after-tax profit for the 2021 financial year soared to R658-million from R79-million, a more than sevenfold increase. Among other things, that is testimony to the resilience of the South African commercial agriculture sector.
Omnia said in a Sens statement on Tuesday that its "agriculture division experienced improved demand due to positive agronomic conditions, a good crop harvest coupled with high agriculture commodity prices... Sales during the peak of the summer planting season were maximised."
South Africa's commercial grain farmers are in the process of harvesting what is expected to be an exceptional maize crop of around 16.2 million tonnes, the second biggest on record, and other crops have also been doing well. Much of this is driven by precision farming, a digital approach which uses GPS mapping and other technology to distribute seeds and other inputs such as fertiliser in a precise manner to maximise yields.
"In South Africa we have large laboratories so we can send over 60,000 samples a day of soil for testing," Omnia CEO Seelan Gobalsamy told Business Maverick.