14 October 2016
Policy and legislation
World Food Day

DR JOHN PURCHASE, AGBIZ CEO - Against the backdrop of a massive and persistent drought inflicting much damage to the agro-food systems in southern Africa, we celebrate World Food Day on the 16th of October. 

It is a time to reflect on South Africa's relatively good food security (See Global Food Security Index) and the exceptional asset this country has in its agro-food system.  It is an asset that should be nurtured, cherished and celebrated. However, this asset is increasingly being put at risk by both controllable and uncontrollable factors. On the uncontrollable side factors such as climate change and drought, global economic and security situations,  pose increased risk and uncertainty, but it is the more controllable factors, such as misguided policy and legislation, skewed and restrictive trade agreements, inappropriate government intervention (or the new so-called  buzz word of 'government disruption'), and inefficient and high-cost SOE's that raise the most concern. These controllable factors undermine our competitiveness by adding to the cost of doing  business and act as disincentives to much-needed investment. On top of this we currently have major instability in the political economy of the country, and this creates a real toxic mix that needs to be addressed urgently. So let's reflect  on World Food Day, and the future of our agro-food system.....!      
Economic and agribusiness intelligence
SA will have to weather high meat prices into next year

"An adequate supply of food at the national or international level does not in itself guarantee household level food security," says  Agbiz economist, Wandile Sihlobo in an opinion piece that was published in Business Day on Thursday. " Concerns about insufficient food access have resulted in a greater policy focus on incomes, expenditure, markets and prices in achieving food security objectives, in a nutshell, economic access to food."  Read the full article here»
International Grains Council ' s 2016/17 production estimates

GrainDespite ongoing talks about production challenges across a number of countries, the world is still well-supplied regarding grains and oilseeds. The International Grains Council (IGC), indicated just last week in their monthly report that the 2015/16 global grains and oilseeds stocks were estimated at 472 million tons - 5% higher than the previous season. This followed a season where global grains and oilseeds production was estimated at 2.002 billion tons. Wandile Sihlobo provides more information in the linked article.
South Africa's agricultural machine sales decline 

The recent agricultural machinery sales data released by the South African Agricultural Machinery Association (SAAMA) indicates that in September 2016, combine harvester sales were down by 26% when compared to September 2015, with only 14 units sold.  This is the highest sales level over the past three months and, to some extent, is reflective of reduced harvest activity that follows lower crop production.   Wandile Sihlobo provides more information in the linked update»
Food and beverages manufacturing output accelerates 


Recent food and beverage sectors' manufacturing data indicates that in August 2016, output increased by 3.1% year-on-year (y/y), after registering a 0.8% y/y contraction in July 2016.  A substantial increase in annual output was recorded in the dairy products sub-sector, which was up by 3.9% y/y in August 2016.  Wandile Sihlobo provides more information in the linked update»

Daily view on commodity markets

Daily commentaries on agricultural commodity markets and macro-economic trends are available on the Agbiz website  www.agbiz.co.za
Weather update
Still chance for La Niña to develop
The Climate Prediction Center/NCEP/NWS and the International Research Institute for Climate and Society in their 13 October ENSO Advisory indicated that La Niña is favoured to develop (~70% chance) during the Northern Hemisphere fall 2016 and slightly favoured to persist (~55% chance) during winter 2016-17. ENSO-Neutral conditions were observed during September, with negative sea surface temperatures (SSTs) anomalies expanding across the eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean by early October. All of the Niño regions cooled considerably during late September and early October, with the latest weekly value of Niño-3.4 index at -0.9°C. Subsurface temperature anomalies also decreased toward the end of the month, reflecting the strengthening of below-average temperatures at depth in the east-central equatorial Pacific. Atmospheric anomalies across the equatorial Pacific edged toward La Niña during September, with a stronger tendency toward La Niña late in the month. The traditional Southern Oscillation index and the equatorial Southern Oscillation index were positive. Overall, the combined ocean and atmosphere system reflects ENSO-Neutral during September, but are more clearly trending toward La Niña conditions now. Please click on ENSO Oct 2016 to peruse full advisory.
Agbiz personnel 
Agbiz appoints Management Accountant 
Agbiz has appointed Natasha Swanepoel in the position Management Accountant as from 28 September 2016.  Her responsibilities include professional advice and support to management with regard to financial planning, budgeting and reporting to ensure that effective decisions are made.   In addition, she will also review financial management systems, processes and procedures to ensure that financial information is provided to members in a timeous manner.  Before she joined Agbiz, Natasha was Financial Manager at Best Clothing and Gifts. Natasha  takes over the duties of Erika Rupping who recently emigrated to Australia. 
Skills development in agribusiness
Agribusiness Centenary Bursary - Apply now

Agbiz is making available an annual bursary to a South African student registered for a Masters or PhD degree in either agricultural economics or agribusiness management related fields. The application deadline is 9 December 2016.  More information»
Members' news
BathoPele wins award for agricultural training

BathoPele Agri Development Institute received an AgriSETA Excellence Award as Leading Private Service Provider at a gala event, which took place on the 5th of October in Johannesburg. The AgriSETA  Excellence Award ceremony is held annually to acknowledge learners, employers, service providers and agricultural projects for their service excellence.  Recognition is given to those who have excelled within the agricultural sector in skills development.  Click to read BathoPele's media release»
Industry news
BUSA finds announcement by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to charge Finance Minister most unfortunate

President of Business Unity South Africa (BUSA), Jabu Mabuza said in a media statement released on Tuesday that BUSA genuinely believed that the kind of cooperation that has recently seen the Government, through the Treasury, working in a close partnership with organised business and labour would improve the economy, create jobs and stave off any possible sovereign credit downgrades. As a result, BUSA found the timing of the NPA's announcement, which fuelled perceptions that there was an agenda to destabilize the economy, "most unfortunate". He said such perceptions undermined confidence in the country's policy environment. Read more»
OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook 2016-2025

The linked  OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook  features  an in-depth look at the opportunities and challenges facing Sub-Saharan Africa in the next decade.
Register for Africa's largest agri investment event  

According to the latest "Lions on the move II" report by Mc Kinsey, Africa could nearly double its manufacturing output (including agri processing) to $930 billion in 2025 from $500 billion today, provided countries take decisive action to create an improved environment for manufacturers. Three-quarters of that potential could come from Africa-based companies meeting domestic demand; today, Africa imports one-third of the food, beverages, and other similar processed goods it consumes. The other one-quarter could come from more exports. The rewards of accelerated industrialization would include a step change in productivity and the creation of up to 14 million stable jobs over the next decade.  While the potential that Africa offers is undoubted, the question remains: will it be achieved? Businesses and governments will need to work harder to capture the opportunity and come together in open forums such as the African Agriculture Indaba.  The African Agri Investment Indaba (AAII) 2016 is taking place from the 28 - 30 November 2016 at the CTICC in Cape Town. Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Senzeni Zokwana will deliver the keynote address. Dr John Purchase, CEO of Agbiz is one of the numerous exerts on the programme.  Find linked the latest information about the indaba.  For further information visit www.agricouncil.org and www.agri-indaba.com
News around the web
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Member States have refined and validated a regional Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Strategy and Action Plan (REEESAP) for the period 2016 to 2030, which aims to increase energy access and security, support industrialisation, empower lives and enhance environmental sustainability.   Read more»
The number of people without access to electricity is estimated at more than a billion, while almost 2.9 billion still rely on traditional, unsustainable biomass sources such as firewood for cooking and heating. About 80% of those lacking modern energy access live in rural areas, which also host more than 70% of the world's poor.  The linked International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) study analyses the benefits of introducing off-grid technologies for agriculture. 
As agricultural production across the world is increasingly threatened by climate change and overpopulation, some farmers are exploring radical alternatives like agroecology, which might just be the answer to global hunger.   Read more»
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