7 October 2016
Policy and legislation
LandCare linked to conservation agriculture and PDAL Bill

Land reform Speakers at the 7th Biennial National Land Care Conference in Kimberley, Northern Cape outlined the history of LandCare and explained that its purpose was closely linked to Conservation Agriculture policies and the Preservation and Development of Agricultural Land Policy and Bill (PDALB) which is focused exclusively on land use and not land ownership. The event was held under the auspices of the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in partnership with the MEC of Agriculture, Land reform and Rural Development and was attended by Mariana Purnell of Agbiz Grain.
Sustainable land management by means of the LandCare concept provides a proactive approach to mitigate and adapt to natural risks and disasters. It also encompasses land use legislation and adds value to those who suffer from food security. Key note presentations introduced the four sub-themes of LandCare, namely:
- Management strategies and practices to promote resilience and the sustainable use of communal grazing for improved livestock, market access and economic benefits.
- Sustainable use of water resources and water management options in arid and semi-arid regions to mitigate the impact of drought and enhance livelihoods.
LandCare solutions to enhance the adoption of sustainable land management practices for improved agricultural production.
- Best practices for control and utilisation of invader plant species.
Considering the current climatic situation, water resources and water management options were of primary concern. Felix Reynders of the ARC Institute for Agricultural Engineering provides more information in the linked presentation»
Sin tax on sugar

The Minister of Finance announced in the February 2016 Budget a decision to introduce a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) with effect from 1 April 2017 to help reduce excessive sugar intake. On 8 July 2016, National Treasury published the draft Policy Paper and Proposals on the Taxation of Sugar Sweetened Beverages for public comments. The taxation of SSBs was arrived at as part of the action plan of the National Health Department's Strategic Plan for the Prevention and Control of NCDs 2013 - 2017, and National Strategy for the Prevention and Control of Obesity 2015 - 2020.  Nthabiseng Baloyi, senior associate at Werksmans Attorneys provides more information in the linked article»
Economic and agribusiness intelligence
South Africa's groundnuts production at a lowest level since 1946 

This year South Africa produced 18 850 tons of groundnuts (peanuts) - the smallest crop since 1945/46 season. This is down three folds from the 2014/15 season's production, owing to a decline in area planted, which is estimated at 22 600 hectares. This is a record low area (hectares), according to South African Grain and Information Services (SAGIS) dataset dating back from 1936, due to an El Nino induced drought season.  South Africa's groundnuts consumption is approximately 63 000 tons per annum.  About 37% of this is consumed directly as "peanuts", with the balance processed into peanut butter, oil and other products.   Wandile Sihlobo, Agbiz Head Economic and Agribusiness Intelligence, provides more information in the   linked update»
Africa needs a future farming strategy

In September more than 1,500 delegates from across the world converged in Nairobi for the African Green Revolution Forum conference amid a growing realisation that Africa's agro-food system is not working. In fact, it has not worked properly since the colonial era (1960s-70s), when Africa was a net exporter of agricultural commodities. Africans need to reflect on the advice passed down the generations by Dakota Indians: when you discover you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount. The question to be answered is: even with all the investment funding and pledges announced at the conference, can an African green revolution be realised if investments are made on the basis of an old way of thinking?  Linked is an opinion piece  written by Agbiz economists, Wandile Sihlobo and Tinashe Kapuya,  that was published on Monday in Business Day.  
Daily insight into agri-commodities 

Daily commentaries on agricultural commodity markets and macro-economic trends are available on the Agbiz website  www.agbiz.co.za
International trade
USDA to pay farmers more than $7 billion due to low crop prices

It has been reported that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is set to pay US farmers more than $7 billion (R96 billion) in order to compensate them for lower crop prices. Global prices of soft commodities have generally been depressed over the recent past, under the weight of increased inventory stocks and exports. Having noted with concern the support levels that are offered to farmers in overseas markets, Agbiz has been pushing for a review of these practices and how they affect South Africa's competitiveness, in a bid to influence progressive trade policy. To that end, a study has already been commissioned within the National Economic Development and Labour Council (NEDLAC) to with a view to now inform South Africa's future trade negotiations, particularly for the food sector. 

Click on the link to read the full article:  
USDA to pay farmers more than $7 billion due to low crop prices  (Reuters)
Entry into force of the SADC-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) 

The SADC EPA group (Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland) and the EU have reached the final stages towards the implementation of the SADC-EU Economic Partnership Agreement. These include fulfilment of ratification processes by the SADC EPA countries while the European Union (EU) required approval for provisional application of the Agreement. All the SACU member states have deposited their instruments of ratification of the Agreement and the EU has notified provisional application of the Agreement.   Read full media release here»
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»
Weather update
Seasonal Climate Watch - SAW

Current observations show close to the border of weak La-Niña state. The likelihood of weak La-Niña development toward summer season remains low.  The forecasting system favours a gradual improvement of chances for above-normal rainfall conditions toward the mid-summer season.  Read more»
Members' news
NAMC releases Grain and Oilseeds Supply & Demand Estimates for September

The National Agricultural Marketing Council (NAMC) released the latest Grain and Oilseeds Supply and Demand Estimates on 30 September 2016. Please click on SASDE September 2016 to peruse.
NAMC releases key research reports

This past week the National Agricultural Marketing Council (NAMC) released the following key reports:
Please click on above titles to peruse.
Changes in terms of learnership tax deduction incentives

Signa recently informed you about the changes coming into effect in terms of learnership tax deduction incentives that were due to expire on 30 September 2016.   The advantages that have been identified by the Government far outweigh the cost of the Sect 12(h) allowances as can be seen from the linked press release that was published by treasury on 25 September 2016.

Read more in the Signa newsletter»
Monsanto and Dow AgroSciences enter global licensing agreement on Exzact precision technology platform

Monsanto and Dow AgroSciences have joined forces to research and commercially develop new crop solutions across the research portfolio of Monsanto. Dow AgroSciences has created EXZACT technology that is helping to deliver next generation crop improvements into the hands of farmers. Media release»
RCL Foods considers a restructure of its commodity chicken component

RCL Foods is considering a restructure of its commodity chicken category in response to current market conditions, which have deteriorated as a result of an increased level of dumped chicken products in the local market.   Read more»
- Bizcommunity.com
Sundays River Citrus Company Transformation Times

Work on the unique SRCC / Ikamva Lethu Citrus Empowerment Project has been awarded a water licence by the Department of Water Affairs and Sanitation.  The water licence is for 675 hectares equivalent of water for a period of twenty years, subject to a number of conditions and will be renewable if compliance with such conditions is maintained over the period.  
Read more»
News around the web
16-year-old South African invents wonder material to fight drought
- www.edition.cnn.com
Historians, forecasters battle over prospects for South Africa ag revival
- www.agrimoney.com
MASDT News - September
Upcoming Events
Africa Fertilizer Agribusiness Conference
10 - 12 October 2016 | Dar es Salaam | Tanzania
Members of AGBIZ can register for the conference  here using the code AGBIZ1 and will save 15% off the final delegate rate.   The brochure with details of all the sessions and the expert speaker panel can now be viewed  here .  
More information

Water & Climate Congress
22 - 24 March 2017
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