190 Years of Agri-Expo

South Africa’s Oldest Agricultural Society Commemorates and Innovates In Its 190th Year

Agri-Expo, the oldest agricultural society in South Africa and Africa, celebrates its 190th anniversary this year – and with good reason. On Monday 29 November 2021 during its special 190th-anniversary celebrations, Agri-Expo honoured prominent agricultural role players and announced exciting plans for 2022. New initiatives include an international agriculture-in-the-classroom project, a television series on cheese and a series of SA Cheese Festival Pop-up Picnics.

According to Johan Ehlers, CEO of Agri-Expo, the organisation celebrates 190 years of heritage and 25 years of innovation. “The Cape of Good Hope Agricultural Society was established in 1831 and Agri-Expo, our marketing name, in 1996. Renewal has always been part of our DNA, including the initiative to establish organised agricultural structures in South Africa, such as the first Department of Agriculture in the Cape in 1886, and an Agricultural College in 1888,” says Ehlers.

“Agri-Expo has had an impact on many aspects of people’s lives since its inception,” writes Her Royal Highness Princess Anne in a letter of congratulations from Buckingham Palace in her capacity as President of the Royal Agricultural Society of the Commonwealth (RASC). According to Princess Anne, the anniversary also offers an opportunity to give recognition to those who make a difference in everyday South African agriculture.

Two agricultural icons, Alan Winde and Joyene Isaacs, were honoured with the newly established Agri-Expo Honorary Award. Winde, Premier of the Western Cape, received this award for his contribution to agriculture during his term as MEC for Economic Opportunities (2014-2018), and as Premier of the Western Cape, and the direct impact thereof on the dynamics of Agri-Expo. Isaacs, Chairperson of the Agricultural Research Council (ARC), was honoured for her contribution to agriculture during her term as Head of Department of the Western Cape Department of Agriculture (2005-2020). International dairy expert Kobus Mulder was honoured as Agri-Expo Honorary President.


Over the past 25 years, Agri-Expo has managed to stay at the forefront through innovation and creative thinking. Agri-Expo created and recreated exciting opportunities in different agricultural industries so that people look at agriculture with new eyes, generating media exposure to the value of R80 million annually.

Highlights include:

  • the establishment of the national Youth Show Association (1998),
  • the development of the Qualité logo (2001) as the only mark of excellence for SA dairy products,
  • the creation of the SA Cheese Festival brand in 2002 and the doors it opened for agri-entrepreneurs,
  • the From the Earth Expo (2006, 2009) at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC),
  • a world-first city-centre horse auction inside a Conference Centre at the CTICC (2011)
  • a world standard show ring at Agri-Expo Livestock (2014-2019),
  • the transformation of information days for new and small farmers into hybrid SIYABONGA days (2020),
  • the first virtual awards event in the agricultural sector (Qualité Awards 2020), paving the way for many other,
  • the 2020 Sauvignon Blanc SA Top 10 awards, described by wine writers as the best awards event in the industry,
  • and Agri-Expo is the only organisation in the world that hosted a National dairy championships continuously (2020 and 2011) during the pandemic.


Agri-Expo will join the exciting world of television with the very first South African food series, consisting of thirteen episodes on the versatility of cheese, from April to June 2022, presented by a well known South African celebrity chef.

Thanks to RASC networking, Farmer Time South Africa will be presented as part of the international Farmer Time project in future.This project was started by farmer Tom Martin (RASC Conference Attendee in Singapore) in the UK and is already established in Australia, Sweden, Finland, Ireland, Denmark and New Zealand. Learners chat directly to a farmer via a video call from their classrooms. Agri-Expo started a pilot project this year and will expand it further in 2022.

The SA Cheese Festival, South Africa’s largest culinary event, returns after two years. Cheese and wine lovers can look forward to a brand new experience with a special series of Pop-up Picnics that will take place over four weekends in April 2022. The SA Cheese Festival Pop-up Picnics are presented with select partners at four of the Cape’s most popular picnic destinations

Send Agri-Expo a congratulatory message on social media (Agri-Expo on LinkedIn and @AgriExpo1 on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) or by e-mail at [email protected]. Visit www.agriexpo.co.za for a 190-year timeline, a video with highlights and HRH Princess Anne’s full message of congratulations.