Agbiz Congress 2018 Feedback Report
The Agbiz Congress 2018 was hosted from 7 to 8 June in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape. More than 400 key leaders and decision makers convened at this premier agribusiness network opportunity to discuss and influence the future of the broader South African agro-food industry. 

Herewith a brief summary of the presentations with links to more detailed reports as well as some of the presentations.
Opening and welcome - Dr John Purchase
Agriculture and agribusinesses annually contribute around 14% of total GDP to the economy of the country,  but the value of these sectors cannot be measured in money alone. They make a huge contribution to rural development and sustainable employment. Agbiz’s members’ participation is, therefore, crucial to take agriculture and agribusiness forward in South Africa, said Dr John Purchase, CEO of Agbiz .
Keynote address - Mike Mlengana
Mike Mlengana, director general of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, delivered the keynote address and placed public–private partnerships in the spotlight. “These partnerships are important for the South African economy, but they must be meaningful and they must have a meaningful impact on people’s lives. We must have a strategy and a clear vision about these partnerships,” he said.
Global agribusiness outlook - Prof Marcos Fava Neves
Agricultural markets will grow but prices will stay more or less as they are today. The only way for agricultural producers to remain in business is to build their margins. This was the message to congress of Prof. Marcos Fava Neves, professor at the Business School of Economics, Business Administration and Accounting at the University of São Paulo, Brazil.
Technology and global food security - Dr Neal Gutterson
Farmers face an ever-changing landscape, while constantly striving for higher yield, resilience and desirability. They need seeds and crop protection products that address their challenges – not just by country or region, but that are laser-focused down to the acre. This was the message at the congress of Dr Neal Gutterson, chief technical officer R&D and product development of Corteva Agriscience.
Economic outlook - Goolam Ballim
President Cyril Ramaphosa has taken a number of important steps so far this year in stage one of the Ramaphosa reform era. These include recalibrating key areas of economic and institutional importance. He also overhauled the security cluster, said Goolam Ballim, chief economist of
Standard Bank.
Socio-economic expectations - Mpumelelo Mkhabela
“Don’t be too excited that the Zuma error has been terminated. Change, however, could be intoxicating. Agribusinesses must invest in building confidence. Now is not the time to sit back and relax under Ramaphoria. The president is crying for help.” This was the opinion of Mpumelelo Mkhabela, political analyst and a fellow at the Centre for the Study of Governance Innovation at the University of Pretoria.  
Land reform: PLAAS perspective - Prof Ben Cousins
Current programmes of smallholder support from the private sector are built on shaky foundations. They are often based on problematic assumptions and normative ideas informed by the experience of a successful (white) and large-scale commercial farming sector in South Africa. A fundamental rethink is required, said Prof Ben Cousins, DST/NRF research chair in Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies at the University of the Western Cape.
Land reform status update - Theo Boshoff
"Agbiz input with regard to land reform so far was primarily viewed from a commercial perspective, thus the creation of successful and viable new entrants. This is only one part of the story. The restoration of dignity is key to the debate, but how does one do this practically?" Theo Boshoff, Agbiz head of Legal Intelligence, discussed the current policy environment for land reform and the relevant legislation and said that Agbiz is closely involved in many land reform forums. 
Water security and water governance in South Africa - Trevor Balzer
Without intervention the national water deficit will be around 17% by 2030. Water availability could also deteriorate as supply contracts and demand escalate due to growth, urbanisation, inefficient use, degradation of wetlands, water losses and the negative impact of climate change. This was the opinion of Trevor Balzer, deputy director general: Strategic and Emergency Projects of the Department of Water and Sanitation.
Developing strategies for export promotion - Prof Wilma Viviers and Martin Cameron
Trade facilitation and cost reduction strategies can help to unlock South Africa’s economic potential through increased exports and more scientific fact-based market intelligence. This should be at the centre of strategic decision-making and trade facilitation initiatives. This was the message of Prof. Wilma Viviers, director of the TRADE research entity and W old Trade Organisation chair holder at the North-West University, and Martin
Cameron, managing director of the TRADE Research Advisory.
Navigating SA's trade policy direction and investment opportunities - Sifiso Ntombela
Europe remains a major market for South African agricultural exports and has growth potential, but a partnership approach is needed to address the sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) and technical barriers to trade (TBT) measures affecting exports such as citrus, said Sifiso Ntombela, Agbiz head of International Trade and Investment.
New leadership elected at the AGM

At the conclusion of the Agbiz Congress, the Annual General Meeting was held during which Francois Strydom, managing director of Senwes (left), was elected as the new chairman of Agbiz, while Sean Walsh, managing director of Kaap Agri ( not present) and Dr Langa Simela, agribusiness development manager of Absa (middle), were elected as deputy chairpersons, pictured here with Dr John Purchase, Agbiz CEO.

View the gallery for pictures of all the events at the congress.