Italian-born, Ulrich Gericke started his international travels straight after graduation. These travels brought him to Cape Town, South Africa where he settled down. Southtrade’s history with agriculture began with the German Holder tractors and implements. Holder laid the foundation to half a century of successful agricultural machinery sales. Due to his strong Italian roots, Ulrich Gericke soon added a number of Italian brands of machinery to the Southtrade portfolio. This process has continued ever since, and today Southtrade exclusively represents over 25 Italian factories in Southern Africa.
In 1977 Ulrich Gericke was awarded the title of Commendatore della Republica in recognition of his commercial contribution towards Italian exports into Africa, as well as his private work to develop Italian culture in Africa.
On the export side, Southtrade has successfully sold many millions of cartons of canned fruit from South Africa to France, Germany, and Switzerland. During the decades 1970 to 1990s Southtrade was a leading supplier of canned fruit in West Germany with a number of its own private labels.
In 1990, Ulrich’s only son Niccolo’ joined Southtrade. Niccolo’ was born in Cape Town in 1961 and graduated at UCT. His career began in German banking. In anticipation of joining the family business Niccolo’ spent two years working on the production lines of various Southtrade suppliers. This gave him a sound technical grounding.
Southtrade sources its agricultural machinery from only the most reputable international manufacturers that offer the most reliable equipment and cutting edge technology. Careful consideration is therefore given before taking on any new brands. Southtrade only works with mutually exclusive agreements. This ensures that stock of machines is always readily available ex-stock.
The company has built a reputation as a reliable partner and has consequently acquired a sizeable share of the agricultural machinery market in Southern Africa. Today many of its brands are market leaders.
Southtrade is known as a specialized supplier of spraying and plant protection equipment. It has the fullest possible range offering solutions to every conceivable need. Over the years it has added selected agricultural machines to its range, including cultivators, pumps, grass mowers, forklifts, tomato harvesters, fertilizers spreaders, balers, electronic control instruments etc.
Southtrade’s product pallet offers solutions to almost all types of crop farmers including vineyards, fruit, vegetables, haymaking, etc . In this way it has been able to hedge against the seasonal fluctuations often associated with agriculture.
Since 1995 Southtrade is located in Brackenfell, in the outskirts of Cape Town. The building houses a formal show room, 3000 square meters of warehousing and spacious comfortable offices for sales and administrative staff. The location is at the heart of the SA wine and fruit industry. This has led to a regular daily flow of clients.
In order to ensure strong future growth, Southtrade is continually identifying and bringing new technology to Southern Africa. This involves extensive international travel to most important trade fairs, and to visit factories.
After 55 years, Southtrade’s remarkable success continues and the company remains the most serious supplier of the best agricultural machinery.