e-Newsletter
21/2021
4 June 2021
EWC debate out of sync with South Africa's economic policy direction
As reported via the Agbiz media statement earlier this week, the due date for the Ad Hoc Committee on the amendment of section 25 to deliver its recommendations to the National Assembly expired at midnight on Monday 31 May. Ultimately the committee resolved to ask the National Assembly for extra time to finalise its recommendations as the political parties in the Ad Hoc Committee failed to find common ground on all of their issues. The National Assembly has resolved to allow until the end of August for the committee to complete its recommendation. What is perhaps concerning, is that this followed deliberations the previous week whereby the committee requested the Parliamentary Legal Services to draft a Bill reflecting various options proposed by political parties represented in the committee. The revised draft presented to the Committee on Monday included three controversial proposals, namely state custodianship of land as a natural resource, the removal of the 1913 cut-off date for land restitution claims and removing the requirement that nil compensation must be sanctioned by a court process. It must be emphasised that these are not final proposals by the committee but still those of individual political parties. What is perhaps concerning, is that these proposals are being considered at all since the Parliamentary Legal Services were of the opinion that it exceeded the committee's mandate given to it by the National Assembly. Agbiz's media statement released earlier in the week is linked here.
Agbiz facilitates workshop with Transnet on logistical constraints
On Thursday, a high-level delegation of Transnet led by Transnet Group chief executive Portia Derby, engaged with representatives of the Citrus Growers' Association of Southern Africa (CGA) and the Fresh Produce Exporters' Forum (FPEP), as well as prominent citrus growers from the Groblersdal/Marble Hall area. Agbiz facilitated the workshop, hosted by Shoeman Boerdery, to discuss the overarching operational constraints experienced at the ports as well as issues related to Transnet Freight Rail (TFR). One of the outcomes of the workshop was the establishment of a core strategic group representing all the stakeholders that will focus on finding short, medium and long-term solutions for the current constraints.
No ordinary recovery - navigating the transition
The Covid-19 pandemic continues to cast a long shadow over the world’s economies. The OECD Economic Outlook, Volume 2021 Issue 1, highlights the improved prospects for the global economy due to vaccinations and stronger policy support, but also points to uneven progress across countries and key risks and challenges in maintaining and strengthening the recovery. According to the report, prospects for the world economy have brightened but this is no ordinary recovery. It is likely to remain uneven and dependent on the effectiveness of vaccination programmes and public health policies. Some countries are recovering much faster than others. Korea and the United States are reaching pre-pandemic per capita income levels after about 18 months. Much of Europe is expected to take nearly three years to recover. In Mexico and South Africa, it could take between three and five years. Please click here to peruse.
POLICY AND LEGISLATION
Land restitution and the 1913 cut-off date a red herring?
Much has been written on expropriation and compensation, but the linked article by Agbiz head of Legal Intelligence Theo Boshoff focuses on the 1913 cut-off date for land restitution. To recap, s25 (7) allows for a person or community who was dispossessed of their land without compensation after 1913 to claim the land back. 1913 was chosen as the threshold because it was the date when the infamous Native Land Act came into operation. Calls to scrap the 1913 date have been made several times in the past. From a theoretical point of view, one can understand the argument: The Native Land Act may have entrenched and formalized land dispossession, but it had been taking place for centuries before that.
Employment equity still far from where it should be in SA agricultural sector
Given the diversity of people in South Africa, fair and equal representation is important to ensure that all citizens have the necessary access to employment opportunities. For this reason, the Employment Equity Act (EE Act) was introduced in 1998 to provide for companies to measure and report on representation in the workplace. Companies were not obligated to meet specified targets but those who implement employment equity are rewarded with a certificate that enables them to do business with government. With that being said, the Department of Labour and Employment has raised its dissatisfaction with the employment equity status years later after the EE Act was passed. Public policy/advocacy intern at Agbiz, Thapelo Machaba, discusses this subject in the linked article.
Why agriculture is key to South Africa's climate change response
South Africa is a party to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). When the parties to the convention met in Paris in 2015 (COP 21), member nations undertook to reduce their Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHGs) in order to limit global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius, and preferably below 1.5 degrees, by 2100. Each country has to negotiate its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), which represents its commitment to reaching global goals. Developing countries such as South Africa are given slightly more leeway, but there is still a global push for all nations to increase their ambitions. Theo Boshoff explores this subject in the linked article, written for and first published in Farmer's Weekly.
AGRIBUSINESS RESEARCH
SA heads for another bumper year as yields rise and demand picks up 
With 2021 set to present even larger yields than 2020 for South Africa’s major field crops, horticulture and wine, it is plausible that exports could also surpass last year’s second-largest export earnings record of $10.2bn. In the first quarter of 2021, South Africa’s agricultural exports amounted to $2.9bn, a 28% year-on-year increase. The size of the increase is partly because of base effects, as the first quarter of 2020 was hit by Covid-related disruptions to global supply chains, but the growth also reflects a rising export performance for various products. Read more in the linked article by Agbiz chief economist Wandile Sihlobo, written for and first published in Business Day.
SA's summer crop production estimates adjusted upwards 
Last week, the South African Crop Estimates Committee (CEC) further lifted, mildly, its forecast for 2020/21 maize, soybeans, sunflower seed and sorghum from the April 2021 estimate to 16,2 million tonnes (up 6% y/y – the second-largest harvest on record), 1,9 million tonnes (up 54% y/y, a record harvest), 716 240 tonnes (down 9% y/y) and 195 035 tonnes (up 23% y/y), respectively. Meanwhile, dry beans and groundnut production estimates were left unchanged from April 2021, at 56 577 tonnes (down 13% y/y) and 57 900 tonnes (up 16% y/y), respectively. The broadly large summer grain and oilseeds production estimate this season is on the back of increased area plantings for summer crops and favourable rainfall since the start of the season. Wandile Sihlobo discusses the latest data in the linked article.
SA agricultural employment down 8% y/y in Q1, 2021
South Africa's agricultural sector is in its second consecutive year of good performance supported by favourable rainfall and expansion in plantings. In 2020, the sector's gross value added expanded by 13,1% y/y, and this year will likely also be another year of good performance. While we expect better crop harvests than 2020, the expansion could be 5% y/y because last year’s base is already quite strong. Yet, the agricultural jobs data continue to disappoint. In the first quarter of 2021, South Africa's agricultural jobs were down by 8% y/y, with 792 000 people employed. This is the lowest level since 2014, which was a drought year. But we are not in a drought season at the moment. The decline in jobs seems to be concentrated within industries affected by various regulations in the lockdown period, such as the horticulture (wine grapes) and game industries. Wandile Sihlobo discusses the latest data in the linked article.
Reminder: Agbiz/IDC Agribusiness Confidence Index Survey for Q2, 2021
The agricultural and agribusiness sectors are faced with a wide variety of challenges, including uncertainty in domestic agricultural policy, biosecurity, and agricultural finance. Therefore, it is essential to analyse and determine the confidence levels in the agribusiness sector, and we do this through the Agbiz/IDC Agribusiness Confidence Index. As a reminder, the Agbiz/IDC Agribusiness Confidence Index is set up in such a way to ensure it measures the business confidence, which influences business decisions, and to a lesser extent, capture the emotions and emotional influences on the sector. Decision-makers from within the agricultural sector and Stats SA, SA Reserve Bank, National Treasury, etc., are close observers of this Index. Kindly respond to the Agbiz/IDC Agribusiness Confidence Index Survey for the second quarter of 2021 and submit your response today, Friday, 04 June 2021, either electronically (by clicking on this link or by completing a printable version and sending it back to wandile@agbiz.co.za
AGBIZ GRAIN
Good grain prices expected in new marketing year
Grain
The decline in grain stocks worldwide is attributed to a decline in maize supplies. International maize stock levels are the lowest in eight years. However, the stock levels for wheat are building up to record levels. It is important to note Chinese purchases and harvests in America and Brazil. Agbiz Grain general manager Wessel Lemmer discusses this subject in the linked article, written for and first published in Landbouweekblad.
OTHER NEWS
Invitation to B4SA business briefing: fake news in SA, actionable lessons and Covid comms resources
Today, 4 June from 12:00 to 13:15, Business for South Africa (B4SA) will host a Business Communicators’ Forum with Martin Kingston (B4SA), William Bird (Media Monitoring Africa), Dr Peter Benjamin (HealthEnabled and co-ordinator of the NDoH’s SA Social Listening and Infodemiology team) and David Lydall (Covid Comms) for an interactive information session covering:
  • Progress and ramp-up of South Africa’s national vaccination rollout 
  • Social listening in South Africa – fake news and what to do about it
  • Creative “Covid content” and public pandemic information available for use by businesses.
Please click on this link to join the Zoom meeting.
2021 Nampo Harvest Day cancelled
Grain SA’s renowned annual agricultural tradeshow, the 2021 NAMPO Harvest Day that was rescheduled for 17 – 20 August has been cancelled, the organisation announced on Thursday. Following the initial postponement earlier this year, government policies and guidelines permitting, the arrival of the 3rd Covid-19 wave, and the amendments to the lockdown levels under the National State of Disaster has left the organisation with no alternative. With more than 750 exhibitors participating in this agricultural showpiece, sights are now set on 2022. Read more in the linked Grain SA media statement.
Foot-and-mouth disease outbreak in Mtubatuba
Last week, the Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Thoko Didiza announced an outbreak of foot-and–mouth disease (FMD) in cattle in Mtubatuba under UMkhanyakude District Municipality in KwaZulu- Natal. The department collected samples on 26 May during routine disease surveillance, after local veterinary officials noticed cattle showing suspicious lesions at one communal location. The location is in an area that was part of the FMD-free zone prior to the suspension of this internationally recognised status by the OIE in 2019. Read more in the linked media statement.
South African pome fruit sector set for record exports in 2021
South Africa's apple and pear production is set for a record export crop this season. Apple exports are expected to rise by five percent year-on-year to 38,4 million 12.5kg equivalent cartons. Pears are due to grow by six percent year-on-year to 17.9 million 12.5kg equivalent cartons. This is according to Hortgro's trade and markets manager, Jacques du Preez, who presented at PMA South Africa's live broadcast in partnership with Beanstalk.Global on 20 May 2021. Other experts who joined the conversation were Awie de Jager and Gert Marais at Delecta Fruit, Tracy Davids at Bureau for Food and Agricultural Policy (BFAP) and Xavier Murray at Cape Five Export. Read more in the linked PMA media statement.
Global cotton production to grow by 5%
Cotton production in 2021/22 is expected to increase by 5% to 25.5 million tons with increases in planted areas in the USA and West Africa. Higher prices have been announced to farmers in Mali and Burkina Faso and production is expected to rebound for the region following the contraction this season. Moreover, global consumption is expected to increase moderately by 2% to 25.3 million tons as the global economy continues to recover. Trade is expected to increase to 10 million tons with import increases expected in all major consuming countries. Read more in the linked Cotton Market Report published by Cotton SA.
MEMBERS' NEWS
Afrivet dip tank project summary
Afrivet has piloted the concept of improving the production of small-scale farmers to contribute to food security in an initial project in KwaZulu-Natal at the Siyaphambili co-operative and a far bigger project, the Emthonjeni dip-tank management project. The Emthonjeni dip-tank management project is centred around 66 dip-tanks with approximately 50 000 cattle and 40 shearing sheds servicing 450 000 sheep in the Engcobo district in the Eastern Cape. This is in conjunction with Eastern Cape Veterinary Services, the Onderstepoort Faculty of Veterinary Services, and Onderstepoort Biological Products. This project aims at improving animal health and production, the health and wealth of the community, and facilitating access for these stock owners to the beef, mutton and wool value chains. Please click here to peruse a summary of the project.
Get the latest news from the FPEF
.Keeping it Fresh, the newsletter of the Fresh Produce Exporters' Forum (FPEF), contains all the recent relevant news and developments. Please click here for the latest edition
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.
UPCOMING EVENTS
Produce Marketing Association’s (PMA’s) EU Green Deal Series
6 July 2021  | Session 3: Impact on Business and Commercial Ventures
In this session, you will learn how the EU Green Deal could impact your business and how to de-risk your business. Speakers will be announced.

Food Safety Summit 2021
8-9 June 2021

NSTF Discussion Forum
Theme: ‘Plant health in South Africa – threats to biosecurity, biodiversity and food security’
10 to 11 June 2021 | Zoom

Sustainability Summit 2021
21-23 September 2021 | Virtual

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

Agbiz Congress 2021
22-24 June 2022 | Sun City
AGBIZ MEMBERSHIP
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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