This is the official website of The Agri Handbook, biennial publication, South Africa’s primary reference book for the agri-food industry which provides points of reference for all sub-sectors which make up the agricultural value chain. Whether you are a new farmer looking at your options or an old hand wanting to diversify your operations but wondering where to start, you will find value here.
The Agri Handbook was pioneered by the RainbowSA publishing team in 2003 as the National Agricultural Directory and the Afrikaans Nasionale Landbougids. Originally only available in A4, full colour, printed format, the publication was made available as an interactive PDF on CD-ROM in 2009. A companion Blog was added to support the publication with articles and news in 2013. The work of porting the 672 page resource to web format began in 2015 and the website went live in July 2016, with updates and additional chapters being added on a weekly basis.
In December 2018 the website moved up a gear to become the WordPress Agribook.Digital.
How did this project begin?
Back in the early 2000s the team ran a skills publication and skills call centre. We received several calls to do with agriculture, something not covered in our book as it was more corporate and government focused. So we set off to research agricultural training in the country. The one chapter became four chapters, became ten and then mushroomed to around the current 180.
The team travelled widely, meeting agri-food industry role players to introduce what we aimed to achieve. We met with over 400 of them – farmer unions, businesses, universities, industry associations, government, research and training bodies – and in 2004 the first edition saw the light of day.
Craig Macaskill has been the editor of the Agribook since its inception in 2004 as the National Agricultural Directory. He grew up on a mixed farming operation near Ficksburg in the Free State and following a career as Head of Department at a private school, he shifted gears putting his editing skills to use by compiling and summarising the inaugural edition of the National Agricultural Directory.
What people have said over the years
Among the (unsolicited) feedback …
“The agricultural sector has not yet seen a resource of this thoroughness and usefulness. It has surpassed all our expectations of a successful information and business linkages venture.”
[Steve Galane, Department of Agriculture, Forestry & Fisheries (DAFF)]
“The … National Agricultural Directory not only succeeds in keeping up with the rapidly changing global landscape, but it is way ahead of any other database for farmers, agribusiness or students. This intensively researched 700-page publication provides a frame of reference for sustainable agricultural development and gives farmers the opportunity to explore diversification into other areas of agriculture.”
[Farmer’s Weekly, review by Roelof Bezuidenhout]
“‘n Magdom inligting oor feitlik enigiets in die landbou is vervat in die jongste weergawe van Die Agri Handboek vir Suid-Afrika…. Dié boek word al geruime tyd deur Landbouweekblad se bibliotekaresse … gebruik om die talle navrae van lesers te beantwoord.”
[A countless amount of information about pretty much everything to do with agriculture is captured in the latest Die Agri Handboek vir Suid-Afrika… This book has been used for a long time by Landbouweekblad’s librarian to answer the numerous enquiries from our readers – free translation].
[Landbouweekblad, review by Jan Bezuidenhout]
“Thanks for this additional information which will also be distributed. Your books are going very well from our office.”
[Ethel van Abo, provincial farmer union KwaNalu]
“Please take note that I have received the books. Thank you very for your excellent service.”
[Margareth Hoaes, Agricultural Bank of Namibia]
“Thank you very much for this important tool. I really appreciate.”
[Dr. Nicolau L. Sululo, Counselor (Economic and Trade) , High Commission of the Republic of Mozambique]
” I am totally enthralled by this publication!”
[Judy Stuart, Future Farmers Foundation]
“Congratulations Craig & your Team / This is great and well done for the rapid progress from humble beginnings – you have made a substantial contribution to the agricultural industry. If you are ever near Delmas please pop in to see us as we are working on a comprehensive farmer development process management system that walks a new farmer through all the steps to success including possible mobile based support facilities. There may be a sensible link up with your information/products.”
[Neil de Smidt, Director: Buhle Farmers’ Academy]
“Thanks very much! Just to let you know that I have received my 2 copies of the handbook as well as the CD! The handbook seems to get better and better every year – congrats on another successful publication.”
[Monica Brits, SAKATA Seed Southern Africa]
“Congratulations to you and your team on what has to be a really great step in the right direction in opening the Agriculture industry to anyone with an interest. The input and work that has gone into this book is brilliant.”
[David Gates, KZN Flower Growers and East Coast Intensive Horticulture Group]
“Dr Bradfield says thank you very much for the service you provide to the industry by producing this magnificent document.”
[Jeanine Labuschagne, Breedplan]
“You and your team must be congratulated once again for the comprehensive nature of this book, and for its great use and value to the Agricultural Industry.”
[Clive Henderson, Measured Farming]
“I think you’ve done a fantastic job with this handbook.”
[Alan Short African Journal of Range and Forage Science]
“Got to your new site courtesy a totally unrelated search, and was rather impressed with the latest version of the Agri-Handbook. Congratulations with converting to the latest technology!”
[Johan van Veenendaal, Intensive Growers Association (IGA) and Cedara College of Agriculture]
“I really can’t believe such valid information that I have been looking for, woow woow. Ok.”
[Kenneth Kgokane, Kgokane Woods]
“Thank you so much for all your help, so may you continue to be an anchor in this faculty in your own right, I really look up to your work. With appreciation.”