3 September 2021
DALRRD hosts CEO Forum Steering Committee Meeting
The Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) recently hosted a CEO Forum Steering Committee meeting. A number of key matters were tabled and presentations made as follows (click on link to peruse):
It is important for role players and stakeholders to note these presentations and developments.
BUSA meets with Finance Minister Godongwana
South Africa is in the economic rebuilding phase from the knock of the pandemic. This process requires that government works collaboratively with the business community and labour on a range of economic interventions. BUSA, where Agbiz is a member, is a unanimous voice and structure for the business community regularly interacting with the government. This week, Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana, met with BUSA members and shared some thoughts about how the government plans to ignite the much-needed growth in the South African economy. This also provided an opportunity for BUSA members to engage the minister on the current discussion on land reform (EWC in particular) and the Land Bank. The finance minister noted the limitations and potential dangers of EWC to the sentiment and the economy, views which Agbiz shares. On the Land Bank, the minister highlighted the work the Treasury is currently doing and also openness to engage the business community on ideas for stabilising the bank. The general formal remarks of the finance minister (which didn't specifically include the points above that were part of the discussion) were constructive and can be accessed here. 
How can we rebuild South Africa's ethical foundations?: 
What is most troubling about acts of corruption that go on for too long without getting punished – and of the kind that we have seen before the establishment of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture, known as the Zondo Commission – is that the standard any future leaders would be required to meet is dismally low. When you measure progress from a low reference point, such as South Africa endured between 2008 and 2018, aspiring to excellence in public leadership becomes a steep mountain to climb psychologically. The situation we find ourselves in today is that whenever a politician is caught up in a conflict of interest, this triggers a polarised debate in society between those who would argue that if there was no criminality in the form of money exchanging hands, there should be no issue; and those, on the other hand, who understand that politicians should be beyond reproach if we are to secure the integrity of public institutions and strengthen the ethical foundations of society. Prof. Mzukisi Qobo, head of Wits School of Governance at the University of the Witwatersrand, shares his insights in the linked article, first published in Mail & Guardian.
Green paper on comprehensive social security withdrawn
As previously reported, the Minister of Social Development published a green paper on comprehensive social security for public comment. The green paper was published under contraversial circumstances and it proposed that all tax payers must contribute between 8% and 12% of their earnings towards funding social security for the unemployed, including a basic income grant. As expected, the green paper has been formally withdrawn following a notice in the Government Gazette to this effect. The notice is linked here.
South Africa's agricultural sector is likely to have an unusual period of three consecutive favourable seasons
South Africa has not had three consecutive favourable agricultural seasons in a long time. But the 2021/22 season is likely to be an additional period of a prolonged cycle of favourable weather conditions and good agricultural activity in South Africa. The 2019/20 and 2020/21 production seasons were characterised by ample rainfall, which supported agricultural activity in the country and led to large harvests. The typical cycles are two seasons of large agricultural output followed by a notable decline on the back of dryness. The only periods in the recent past that had three successive years of conducive weather conditions and a large crop harvest were in the 2007/08, 2008/09, and 2009/10 production seasons. In this period, commercial maize production was more than 12 million tonnes each year, averaging 12.5 million tonnes a year. Agbiz chief economist Wandile Sihlobo discusses the season's prospects in the linked article, written for and first published in Mail & Guardian.
Reflections on South Africa's 2021/22 winter crop production prospects
One of the data points I have been looking forward to this week is the first production estimate of South Africa’s winter crops – wheat, barley, canola and oats. Since the 2021/22 season started, the Western Cape, which is the region that grows more than two thirds of these winter crops, has received favourable rainfall. Farmers also responded positively to the good rains through increasing area plantings. For example, the recently released data show that wheat, canola, and oats plantings are up by 2% (to 521 500 hectares), 35% (to 100 000 hectares) and 34% (to 35 150 hectares) y/y, respectively. For wheat, the area planted is roughly in line with the 11-year average, while for canola and oats, current planting is the largest on record. Barley is the only winter crop that farmers cut its area sharply by 33% y/y to 94 730 hectares. This is partly because of lower demand following temporary bans on alcohol sales at various intervals since the pandemic and a large harvest in the previous 2020/21 season. In the linked article, Wandile Sihlobo shares his insights on the latest data.
Transforming the rural economy
South Africans keep digging deeper in their pockets to make ends meet just to pay the bills. The Money Crunch on eNCA featured a special focus on how South Africans have been affected by our struggling economy. Chief economist at the Agricultural Business Chamber of South Africa (Agbiz), Wandile Sihlobo, believes there’s a missed opportunity to transform the rural economy. He discussed this issue in an interview on eNCA. Please click here to peruse.
Emphasis with digital tools move to post-harvest quality
In South Africa, 2021 will be remembered as a watershed year. The economic recovery of the country depends on the impact of wise decisions on the lives of other people. It also depends on how the socio-political issues in the macro-environment facing the agricultural industry and the different sectors, will be optimally managed. Also how to restrain unnecessary expenses. You have to understand the cost drivers that in the future will affect the profitability of businesses. Agbiz Grain general manager Wessel Lemmer discusses this subject in the linked article, written for and first published in Landbouweekblad.
Save the date: Agbiz Grain Symposium
There is little doubt that 2021 will be remembered as a watershed year for South Africa. Our economic recovery depends on the difference we make in the lives of others through our decision-making, the optimal management of socio-political challenges in the macro-environment, the curbing of unnecessary costs, by embracing new technological advancements and by gaining a clear understanding of the fundamental factors that will determine commodity prices in 2022. Leading our country and sector forward into a promising,
joyful future we need to make a difference in the lives of
others through our decision-making. Key speakers include Prof. Johann Kirsten, Dr John Purchase, Prof. Ferdi Meyer, and Arlan Suderman. Join us from 20 - 23 September for our VIRTUAL Symposium. More information on the programme and to register to follow.
ANC's Mashatile warns against raising taxes, urges govt to accelerate spending on infrastructure
Harbour Customs
A top South African governing party official urged the government to accelerate spending on infrastructure to create jobs and cautioned against raising taxes to fund additional welfare benefits. "We have a lot of infrastructure that needs to be fixed, the rail lines, some provinces’ dams, road and bridges," Paul Mashatile, the treasurer-general of the ANC, said in an interview on Thursday. "That is where jobs are going to come from." Mashatile’s comments come amid an ongoing debate in South Africa on how best to revive the coronavirus-battered economy, reduce a 34.4% unemployment rate and tackle rampant poverty and inequality. A recovery plan unveiled by President Cyril Ramaphosa in October last year envisioned the government allocating R100 billion for new infrastructure within four years, spending that would galvanise a further R1 trillion of private investment. Please click here to read the full article, first published on Fin24.
Jannie de Villiers retires after an illustrious era at Grain SA
Mr Jannie de Villiers retired as chief executive officer of Grain South Africa (Grain SA) at the end of August 2021, after a sterling career at the organisation’s helm for a decade. He joined Grain SA in 2011, just after a period of particularly great concern in the global food system. This was a period when prices were rising fastest between 2008 and 2010, in what was later termed the world food crisis. Prior to this, he had spent much of his career in food processing and also had a few stints in public service. South Africa is not a small country in the global grain market by any stretch. While its maize production volumes might look relatively small compared to China, Brazil and the US, South Africa is the eighth largest maize exporter globally, with an average of 1,8 million tonnes exported per year. In the linked article, Agbiz chief economist Wandile Sihlobo looks back on Jannie de Villiers' career.
Addressing problems with farmworker vaccinations
Organised agriculture is working with government and other organisations to determine to what extent farmworker and other people living in rural areas have sufficient access to nearby sites to receive the Covid-19 vaccine. Those areas where the greatest need exists for additional capacity will also be identified. Communication from the Department of Health and Business for South Africa (B4SA) indicated that South Africa appeared to have managed to secure sufficient Covid-19 vaccinations supplies for the third and foruth quarters of 2021 to initiate a vaccination roll out, according to Theo Boshoff, head of legal intelligence at Agbiz. Read more in the full article, first published in Farmer's Weekly.
Agriculture joins chorus against assessed-loss tax proposal
The agricultural sector joined with other bodies on Tuesday to plead for exemption from the Treasury's proposal to cut from 100% to 80%, the deduction of a prior assessed loss from taxable income. At present, companies with a previous loss assessed as such by the SA Revenue Service (Sars) can carry it forward to the next tax year and offset 100% of the loss against their tax obligation so that no tax is paid. In terms of the Treasury's proposal, only 80% of the loss could be used to offset the tax obligation. Read more in the full article, first published in Business Day.
BUSA cargo movement update
The BUSA Cargo Movement Update – the 53rd of its kind – contains a consolidated overview of the South African supply chain and the current state of international trade. Operationally, Transnet has vowed to continue to engage in dedicated daily recovery forums and meetings until all operations and entire supply chains have been restored. As with last week, concerted efforts have been made to clear the backlog at the ports, with another good week registered number-wise. Against that, however, the predicted struggles have shown their face as the Durban yard reached near-full stack occupancy levels for both general-purpose and reefer containers. The recurring theme in these reports, ensuring that our terminals can operate fluidly, remains pertinent. Please click here to peruse.
Discussion on the state of South African agriculture and the impact of Covid-19
The University of the Free State (UFS), in partnership with Standard Bank and the Mangaung Chamber of Commerce and Industry, is pleased to invite you to a special lunchtime webinar with:
• Tommie van Zyl (CEO of ZZ2);
• Wandile Sihlobo (Chief Economist of AgBiz); and
• Nico Groenewald (Head of Agriculture, Standard Bank).
 Join us for a discussion on the state of South African agriculture, the impact of Covid-19 on the industry, and how farmers and agri-businesses can respond to the opportunities and challenges in the agricultural sector.
Date: 9 September 2021
Time: 12:30 to 14:00 (via Zoom)
RSVP: Alicia Pienaar at PienaarAN1@ufs.ac.za by 7 September 2021
More information is available here.
BFAP Baseline Agriultural Outlook 2021
The BFAP Baseline is an annual event that presents a 10-year outlook for South African agriculture. The 2021 edition, generated by BFAP’s integrated modelling system, will present an outlook of agricultural production, consumption, prices and trade in South Africa for the period 2021 to 2030 and will also shed light on the industry’s contribution to inclusive growth, food security and economic prosperity. Fostering growth and sustainability of inclusive food value chains require an integrated approach. Whereas the direction of short-term growth is mainly determined by external events like weather, global market prices and exchange rate fluctuations, specific preconditions and the environment they create will determine long-term inclusive growth trajectories. The 2021 edition of the BFAP Baseline will consider these preconditions, highlighting some very specific actions that can be taken in order to ignite growth opportunities and maximise agriculture’s contribution towards job creation and inclusivity. For more information and to register for the event on 15 September at 14:00, please follow this link.
Get the latest news from PALS
PALS is the acronym for Partners in Agri Land Solutions, a private land reform and development initiative. It was established as Witzenberg PALS (NPC) in Ceres in 2015 by farmers in partnership with local communities and all three spheres of Government. Please click here to read the latest PALS newsletter - Perspective - Inside PALS.
Special economic zones in South Africa: what makes them special?
Cova Advisory is hosting a free webinar on 15 September at 10:00 on how to locate in, and access the benefits of, a Special Economic Zone (SEZ).
In this webinar you will learn about:
  • The criteria applied by government when companies want to locate in an SEZ.
  • The various benefits available to companies once they have located in an SEZ and how to access those benefits.
  • An investor’s own experience of establishing a company in an SEZ.
Speakers include Bianca Romans, Fatgiyah Bardien, Benedicta Durcan, Maidei Matika and Kaya Ngqaka. The session will be hosted by Tumelo Chipfupa.
Please follow this link for more information and to register.
Invitation to attend AFMA's 74th AGM
AFMA will be hosting its 74th AGM on 3 September 2021. The speakers during the open session include Justice Malala, leading South African political analyst for a political overview, Wandile Sihlobo, Agibz chief economist for an economic overview, and Agbiz CEO Dr John Purchase who will discuss the Agriculture and Agro-processing Masterplan (AAMP) as part of the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan (ERRP). For more information and to register, please follow this link.
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.
Sustainability Summit 2021
21-23 September 2021 | Virtual

2021 AFMA Symposium
18-19 October 2021
Enquiries: events@afma.co.za 

Intra-African Trade Fair 2021
15-21 November 2021 | Durban

Agbiz Congress 2022
22-24 June 2022 | Sun City
Why join Agbiz?
  • Agbiz is the only organisation that serves the broader and common over-arching business interests of agribusinesses in South Africa.
  • Agbiz addresses the legislative and policy environment on the many fronts that it impacts on the agribusiness environment.
  • Agbiz facilitates considerable top-level networking opportunities so that South African agribusinesses can play an active and creative role within the local and international organised business environment.
  • Agbiz research provides sector-specific information for informed decision-making.
  • Agbiz newsletter publishes members' press releases and member product announcements.
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