19 February 2021
New report reflects on progress towards NDP objectives
The Bureau for Economic Research (BER) developed, in collaboration with a network of more than 20 partners from 18 institutions, as well as input from the National Planning Commission (NPC) commissioners, a set of indicators that are aligned with the Sixth Administration’s seven priorities and each of the National Development Plan (NDP) chapters. Indicators were chosen to reflect on output as opposed to inputs such as spending and resource allocation. Whereas the Medium-Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) prescribes inputs and actions, the BER’s NDP Assessment Report evaluates impact and outcomes. The objective of the BER’s NDP Assessment Report is to give a data-driven view of progress with South Africa’s development in as short and concise a format as possible. Where inadequate progress is observed, it remains the decision-makers’ prerogative and responsibility to decide which policy levers to pull and which issues to prioritise. In this way, the NDP Assessment Report is a tool to measure developmental progress, in order to ultimately improve implementation. Please click here for a BER media statement on the release of the report.
SONA a mixed bag on agriculture
Similarly to 2020, in this year's State of the Nation Address (SONA), President Ramaphosa reaffirmed the government's commitment to ensuring that agriculture continues to be amongst the key sectors that will drive growth and job creation in South Africa. The president's message centered around the Agricultural and Agro-processing Master Plan's potential role in driving expansion and development in the sector, with success already evident in the sugar and poultry master plans. The broader Agriculture and Agro-processing Master Plan is nearing completion, and we expect its launch within the first quarter. The strength of the master plan is the joint-venture approach amongst social partners that underpins it. The president pointed to a similar emphasis, stating that "this provides an opportunity for further public-private partnership in agriculture to promote transformation and ensure sustainable growth."Agbiz chief economist Wandile Sihlobo shares his views in the linked article.
Agbiz meets with IEC on upcoming local government elections
This past week, Agbiz CEO Dr John Purchase met with the chief electoral officer of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), Sy Mamabolo, on the local government (municipal) elections that will take place towards the end of 2021. An important outcome of the meeting between Agbiz and the IEC was that a protocol would be developed around registration of voters, access to premises and general collaboration to ensure free and fair elections to proceed. Please peruse the IEC Presentation that provides important info for all agribusinesses. 
B4SA vaccine update
You will no doubt have followed developments over the past few days related to the South African Covid-19 vaccine acquisition and roll-out programme. Colleagues will be aware that the Business for South Africa (B4SA) vaccine platform was established to provide the most up-to-date information available, based on bilateral and multilateral engagements with government, hopefully enabling businesses to respond to the latest information. Please click here to peruse the latest update.

Agbiz gives input on Property Valuation Act review
On 17 February 2021, Agbiz was afforded the opportunity to present to the Ministerial Advisory Panel reviewing the Property Valuation Act and its associated regulations. In the linked presentation, Agbiz emphasised the need to draw a distinction between the concepts of ‘value’, which relates to the land, and ‘compensation’, which takes the specific owner’s circumstances into consideration. This is intended to lay the basis for clearer court decisions on individual elements of just and equitable compensation as well as assist to manage expectations in the process. Specific comments were also included on the ‘formula’ contained in the regulations. 
New agency set up to oversee water supply countrywide
Minister for Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation Lindiwe Sisulu outlined the plans for her department in the debate following the State of the Nation Address. The minister made reference to the importance of the Water and Sanitation Master Plan and urged members of the public to write to the department with their inputs on the plan. She referred to the meeting recently held with agricultural stakeholders and the need to give effect to transformation in the water sector. She also announced the creation of the National Water Resources Infrastructure Agency, legislation to this effect is due to be tabled in the second half of the year. The idea is for the agency to function along a similar line to SANRAL to manage and develop water infrastructure. The minister also outlined the steps that are being taken to tackle corruption and maladministration in the Department. The minister’s speech is linked. 
New opportunities for South African agriculture: the African Continental Free Trade Area
The new African Free Continental Trade Area phases out 90% of tariffs on all goods traded between African Union member states over a five to 10-year period. This seeks to boost intra-African trade and investment in regional value chains. The current 41% share of South African agricultural exports that goes to Africa is concentrated in SADC. The opening of other markets presents an opportunity for further expansion in goods such as oranges, apples and wine. Please click here for an article by Tshepo Morokong, Louw Pienaar, Wandile Sihlobo on this subject.
South Africa’s food security conditions 
South Africa has been fortunate to have sufficient food supplies since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. The country is a net exporter of food products, and 2020 was one of the best seasons because of favourable rainfall that supported the crop. There are essential imported food products that South Africa is dependent on such as; rice (100% dependent on imports), wheat (50% dependent on imports), and palm oil (100% dependent on imports). This is not the case for most of its neighbouring countries such as Zimbabwe, Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Lesotho and Swaziland, among others, that rely heavily on imported food products. Agbiz chief economist Wandile Sihlobo discusses this subject in the linked article, first published on newsi.co.za.
SA food price inflation decelerates in January 2021
South Africa's food price inflation softened to 5,6% y/y in January 2021, from 6,2% y/y in the previous month. The deceleration was in most product prices in the food basket except for bread and cereals, which accelerated from the levels seen in December 2020. Nevertheless, this was overshadowed by the slowing price inflation in meat; fish; milk, eggs and cheese; fruit; and vegetables. The bread and cereals products price inflation mirrors the increases observed in the past few months in grain prices. The current slightly elevated price inflation for this particular product prices will likely prevail for most of the first quarter as grain prices have continued to surge since the start of the year. Read more in the linked article by Wandile Sihlobo.
South Africa’s agricultural exports registered the second-largest level on record in 2020
South Africa's agricultural exports amounted to US$10,2 billion in 2020, which is a 3% increase from the previous year. This is the second-largest level after the record exports of US$10,7 billion in 2018. The exports were primarily underpinned by large domestic agricultural output, which was supported by favourable weather conditions. The relatively weaker domestic currency also made South Africa's agricultural products more competitive in the global market. The top ten exportable products by value were citrus, grapes, wine, apples and pears, maize, nuts, sugar, wool and fruit juices. Wandile Sihlobo discusses this subject in the linked article.
Grain storers bring integrity to the market
Thanks to the JSE's good and transparent rules for issuing and applying silo certificates it is easy to identify problems when a grain storer does not
meet the necessary requirements. Grain storers themselves play an important role in this process.
It is important that the system is consistently above suspicion to ensure integrity. Agbiz Grain general manager explores this subject in the linked article, written for and first published in Landbouweekblad.
Leadership at Agbiz Grain
At the Agbiz Grain Steering Committee meeting held earlier this week, Jerry Maritz of Afgri was re-elected as chairman and Tom Meintjes of TWK as vice-chairman. Barnie de Klerk of TWK and Awie Kriel of Kaap Agri were also elected to serve on the Agbiz Grain executive committee.
Communication in businesses
With employees in various businesses still working remotely, communication in businesses and teams will remain a major challenge. Gone are the days of a quick exchange in a hallway or a cup of coffee in the office kitchen, now communication will take work and dedication. Communication is the cornerstone of employee engagement. According to a 2017 Gallup study (which can be accessed here), companies with engaged employees earn between two and five
times more than companies who have employees who are not engaged. Communication ensures that employees understand what is expected of them, provides them clear purpose in the workplace, builds the culture within the workplace and teaches accountability to all parties. Jahni de Villiers of Labour Amplified discusses this subject in the linked article.
Agro-processors invited to participate in UNIDO-AfDB firm level survey on Covid-19
Food Processing
The United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), together with the DTIC and the African Development Bank (AfDB) are jointly assessing the impact of the Covid-19 crisis on South Africa’s industrial sector, to assist the government in tailoring appropriate policy responses. As part of these efforts, UNIDO, the DTIC, and the AfDB have developed an enterprise survey to gather new and detailed information on the socio-economic impact of the pandemic on manufacturing firms. Manufacturing firms are invited to participate in the survey. The survey should take approximately 15 to 20 minutes to complete and is available here. The survey targets firms’ top managers and/or business owners. Information collected will be anonymised, and neither names nor firm denominations will be disclosed.
Agribusiness is on the rise but local investors risk getting left behind
Agribusiness (food and agriculture) as an asset class has grown in prominence in recent years, particularly in private markets given the largely unlisted nature of companies in the food and agricultural sectors. This growth has largely been driven by the growing realisation that real assets in the agribusiness sector (including food processors, permanent crops producers and agricultural land) provide balanced risk-adjusted returns that are able to counteract the effects of low-return asset classes, such as infrastructure, and the high-risk asset classes, such as traditional venture capital and listed equities. Please click here to read the full article, first published in Business Day.
BUSA Covid-19: Cargo movement update
Baltic Freight Index
This BUSA Covid-19: Cargo movement update contains a combined overview of air, sea, and road freight to and from South Africa in the last week. The report is the 25th update. Fortunately, new cases of Covid-19 have once again decreased considerably, averaging approximately 2 488 per day (down from 4 138 last week). Unfortunately, the news regarding Astra Zeneca's poor trial results has curtailed initial optimism surrounding our vaccine rollout program. Nonetheless, it appears as if the second wave has now passed. South Africa dropped down to 16th position globally (surpassed by Iran earlier in the week), with the total number of cases recorded now exceeding 1 484 90016 at the time of writing. Globally, more than 150 million people have now been given at least one dose of vaccine, which constitutes 1.94%17 of the world's population as of writing. Although the news is promising and indicates progress in our fight against Covid-19, it is far too early to make any assumptions about resuming a normal life. Please click here to peruse.
Input suppliers needed for Solidarity Fund's agriculture voucher programme
The Solidarity Fund will issue vouchers to up to 47 864 qualifying farmers, worth R2 000 each. The programme is successfully underway, but in certain geographies we need more participating input suppliers where farmers can redeem their vouchers. There are already over 330 input supplier outlets registered. The regions we are now focusing on, across South Africa, are areas where there are farmers registered, but participating shops are more than 100 km away. Please click here to find out more.
Weekly newsletter from CGA
Justin Chadwick, CEO of the Citrus Growers' Association of Southern African, shares the latest news in the citrus industry in his weekly update - From the desk of the CEO. Please click here to peruse.
The latest news from the pork industry
Read more about the latest developments and news in the pork industry in the South African Pork Producers' Organisation's (SAPPO) newsletter, SAPPO Weekly Update.
Second International Congress of Biological Control (ICBC2) 
26-30 April 2021 | Davos, Switzerland
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  • Agbiz is the only organisation that serves the broader and common over-arching business interests of agribusinesses in South Africa.
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