Among Almaz Agro SA’s employees, there is a remarkable story of women’s leadership and success. Elena Yudina, the company’s Managing Director, goes above and beyond the call of duty to serve as a positive role model for everyone around her.
Almaz has the privilege of supplying its full line of grain handling equipment, such as cleaners, sorters, seed treatment equipment and flexible augers, to companies run and owned by women. Elena believes that: “Women have, to my knowledge, achieved outstanding results in the food industry, both in terms of production and supply. For two customers, our company has supplied numerous high-tech colour sorting machines, and the women who operate and programme them do so with ease and speed.”
Elena has nothing but praise and admiration for Erongo Engineering’s Carin Ziegel, who has played a significant role in establishing Elena’s career and guiding her to where she is today. Erongo Engineering does Almaz’ steel fabrication for their products.
Elena is proud of the quality and efficiency they receive from Erongo Engineering’s local manufacturing. This company is critical to the steel fabrication process used to make Almaz machinery. As a result of this venture, Almaz was able to grow and prosper in the rapidly expanding agricultural market.
In an industry dominated by men, “partnering with strong females is crucial for women’s empowerment”. Elena states: “Carin has done exceptionally well in her company, she surely could be a great inspiration to anyone in the industry, especially to me.”
When asked about Cape NAMPO, Elena says: “I am very excited about the opportunity to interact with old and potentially new clients at Cape NAMPO. Grain SA helps women in the industry grow their businesses, allowing them to expand their reach with their services and products.” Cape NAMPO provides the opportunity for industry-related businesses to bring their exhibits to farmers and customers.
Women in the agribusiness
“Gender equality is not only a human right; it is also a necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous, and sustainable world,” Elena asserts. “Organisation and management are strong suits for women-owned or run businesses, which is why they tend to operate smoothly and efficiently. By supporting these local female-run manufacturing facilities, we hope to expand both businesses and keep supplying what is needed to keep the food supply chain running smoothly.”
As a young woman, Elena moved to South Africa with her parents and completed her studies in Cape Town, where she had the opportunity to bring a Ukrainian-designed and developed product to South Africa. Almaz Agro’s humble beginnings have now grown into a global business. Elena firmly declares: “I will continue to support the best agricultural businesses in my country, despite its current difficulties.”
Since 2014, Almaz has sold more than 450 pre-cleaning equipment units to South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, and Malawi, as well as establishing distribution in Australia for the Eastern European pre-cleaning equipment. A wide variety of grain handling equipment has since been added to Almaz’s product line, including high-tech colour sorters that help the user achieve food-grade quality. The company has seen growth and demand for its unique products despite the current logistics and supply issues faced by Eastern Europe, according to Elena.
Moving forward with Almaz Agro
In addition to Namibia, Angola, and Mozambique, Elena would like to reach more African countries. African women in the agricultural sector may be able to expand their businesses with more efficient machines thanks to Almaz.
“Our equipment is well-known for its ease of upkeep and quick payback on the investment made in it. As always, we are committed to providing the South African market with high-quality service and top-notch equipment, both of which are produced locally and imported. New technology is something we’re constantly working to develop and bring to market at a fair price and delivery time,” Elena concludes.