16 April 2021
Political rhetoric to speed up land reform is not matched by action 
Much political, legislative and administrative time has been consumed by debate over expropriation without compensation, but it is worth recalling that in 1997 the ANC’s land reform policy was formulated along three pillars: restitution, redistribution and land reform. To judge whether land reform has failed or not we should therefore focus on these elements. In the linked article, first published in Business Day, Adv. Tembeka Ngcukaitobi states that "we cannot afford decline and regression in redistributing land, yet this seems to be where we are heading." He is the author of the recently published Land Matters: SA’s Failed Land Reforms And The Road Ahead.
Expropriation Bill is not as bad as portrayed, but the crux lies in implementation
For a country desperate for higher rates of investment to ignite sustainable economic growth, the Expropriation Bill, and the headlines that have accompanied its passage through Parliament’s consultation processes, could not have been more poorly timed. Coverage of the bill has cast it as the legalisation of what is presumed soon to become a vast wave of theft and looting as officials across the land use their powers of expropriation to denude property owners of all kinds of assets, not just land. No investor will commit resources to an investment with a long payoff period when there is a real risk that an official will arrive at their door with an expropriation order. The bill therefore risks further collapsing South Africa’s already low level of investment. This was, therefore, the worst possible time for the country to revisit its expropriation regime. These consequences are compounded by the fact that, when examined closely, it appears the hysteria is (mostly) unwarranted. Ann Bernstein, head of the Centre for Development and Enterprise, discusses this subject in the linked article, first published in Business Day. The article is based on the centre’s submission to Parliament on the Expropriation Bill.
B4SA update on Covid-19 vaccine roll-out in SA

In a circular distributed earlier this week, Stavros Nicolaou of Business for South Africa (B4SA) stated that B4SA has mobilised all of business’s capabilities and resources, including those of the private healthcare and employer sectors to assist in the efficient roll-out of the national vaccination programme. "We are working in close collaboration with government, which leads the national vaccination programme, to deliver the country’s goal of vaccinating 40 million people by February 2022. We believe that together, we are stronger. We will move faster, further and more equitably if we move together as a nation to reach herd immunity." Late last week, government announced the rollout of phase 2 of the national vaccination programme, to deliver and administer vaccines to 16.6 million people, which will commence on 17 May 2021, and continue until October this year. Please click here to read more on B4SA's involvement in the vaccine roll-out programme.
Ad Hoc Committee mulls changes to the section 25 Amendment Bill
At the end of March 2021, the Ad Hoc Committee tasked with amending section 25 of the Constitution hosted the national public hearings on the 18th Constitutional Amendment Bill. Various interested parties made oral submissions to accompany their written inputs which the committee was tasked to consider. Following the public hearings, the Parliamentary Legal Services briefed the committee on the impact of the proposed changes. Several organisations, including Agbiz, queried why improvements would be treated in the same manner as the actual land itself. Our overall opposition to the bill notwithstanding, Agbiz argued that it would be illogical to include improvements in the social justice premise on which the bill is based. Agbiz head of Legal Intelligence Theo Boshoff discusses this subject in the linked article.
Will the positive trend of South Africa’s agricultural machinery sales persist? 
The “fruits” of South Africa’s good harvest in 2020 and the prospects of another good season in 2021 continue to benefit the allied industries. One such industry which has continued to record good sales as farmer finances improved is the agricultural machinery industry – tractors and harvesters. The figures released by the South African Agricultural Machinery Association last week show that tractor and harvester sales were up by 30% y/y and 4% y/y in March 2021, with 601 and 27 units sold, respectively. Agbiz chief economist Wandile Sihlobo discussed the latest data in the linked blog post.
The global grain and oilseeds market is well supplied
The global grains market is well supplied in the 2020/21 season, albeit commodities prices have risen substantially in the recent past. The primary driver of grain and oilseeds prices has primarily been the rising demand in China and unfavourable weather conditions at various stages of the production season in Europe and parts of South America, which caused minimal damage to the global harvest. This message came out sharply at the end of last week when the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) released an update of its World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report for April 2021. Wandile Sihlobo discussed this subject in the linked article.
Logistical challenges at Durban harbour could hamper exports
Two million tonnes of maize must find its way abroad through the port of Durban this year, the most in years. Along with that, a giant load of citrus must also be exported. However, a number of factors threaten to put a stop to it, or at least make these exports very challenging. Agbiz Grain general manager Wessel Lemmer talked to Lise Robert of FarmTV about the logistical challenges. Please click here to watch the interview..
Ignore your workplace Covid-19 health and safety rules at your own peril
One year on from South Africa’s initial lockdown due to the global Covid-19 pandemic, it is safe to say that workplace health and safety measures have never been more important, visible and accessible. While most employers and employees know and understand the risks involved with not being serious about workplace safety in respect of Covid-19, there are still situations where employees take unnecessary chances. An example of such conduct was heard in the Labour Court recently. In this case, an employee in a meat processing facility went to work, despite being diagnosed with Covid-19 and while at work, disregarded the employer’s rules regarding social distancing and mask-wearing. The employee eventually left work to self-isolate, and upon his return, he was charged with a number of disciplinary offences relating to his conduct after being diagnosed with Covid-19. Jahni de Villiers of Labour Amplified discussed this case in the linked article. The judgment of the Labour Court can be viewed here.
SARB’s Monetary Policy Review 
 The Monetary Policy Review (MPR) is published twice a year by the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) and is aimed at broadening the public’s understanding of the objectives and conduct of monetary policy. The MPR covers domestic and international developments that affect the monetary policy stance. In normal circumstances, the MPR is presented by senior officials of the SARB in major centres across South Africa. However, due to Covid-19, the latest edition of the MPR was launched virtually. Please click here to peruse.
Feedback from AgriTrop 2021
During the International Week of Tropical Agriculture - AgriTrop, more than 20 experts from various countries met virtually, between March 22 and 26, to dialogue about the importance of tropical agriculture for the development of countries and their contribution to agri-food systems. The event, organised by Embrapa and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) and supported by several partners, had as its main objective to share the experiences of scientists, environmentalists and entrepreneurs in the sustainable use of technologies to adapt agricultural and animal cultures to the climatic and environmental conditions of the tropical belt. The executive summary of the International Tropical Agriculture Week is linked here. It contains information on the components, as well as the presentations given and a full communicational report.
BUSA Covid-19 update on cargo movement
The BUSA Covid-19 Cargo Movement Update - the 33rd of its kind - contains a consolidated overview of the South African supply chain and the current state of international trade. Economically speaking, the IMF has this week published their projections for global growth for the year, with South Africa expected to grow at 3.1% this year and 2.0% in 202217. The growth forecast bodes well for the extended supply chain. However, now is the time to capitalise on the overall environment being more conducive for trade. Nevertheless, some pitfalls - notably operationally in nature - remain, which will ensure that successful navigation of these projected waters will continue to be cumbersome. Please click here to peruse.
March 2021 and year to date were among Earth’s top-10 warmest
Continuing the balmy trend to 2021, the month of March ended as the world’s eighth-warmest March in 142 years of record-keeping. Moreover, the year to date tied for the ninth-warmest YTD on record for the planet, according to NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information. In the linked article the highlights from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) latest monthly global climate report are discussed. Please click here to access the NOAA's latest report.
Corn prices rally to highest since 2013 on cold blast slowing US seeding
Chicago corn futures rallied to 2013 levels Wednesday as concerns about cold weather slowing US seeding caught traders' attention, according to Reuters. Temperatures across the Corn Belt, mainly in the midwestern US, roughly covering western Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, eastern Nebraska, and east Kansas, will experience well below average temperatures through this weekend. On a separate note, we covered how the cold spell has led to another Texas power crisis. Please click here to read the full article, first published on ZeroHedge.
Outbreak of avian influenza on a commercial chicken-layer farm in Gauteng
The Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) would like to report on an outbreak of avian influenza (AI) on a commercial farm in Ekurhuleni, Gauteng. Approximately 300 birds died of AI influenza on this commercial chicken-layer farm. The samples from this farm that were sent to the laboratory tested positive for the H5 strain of AI. It must be said that this farm was also part of the H5N8 highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) outbreak in 2017. Upon confirmation that it was H5, the birds in the affected house were immediately destroyed. Arrangements were made for samples to be urgently tested at Onderstepoort Veterinary Research (OVR), to determine the pathotype (whether it is high (HPAI) or low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI)) as well as to determine the N-type of the virus. The results have not yet come back. Read more in the linked media statement.
Launch of stimulus package to farmers in the Eastern Cape
Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Mcebisi Skwatsha will lead the roll-out of the stimulus package to farmers in the Joe Gqabi District, Eastern Cape on 19 April 2021. Through the Land Development Support Programme of the department, the stimulus package has resulted in four farms where the programme has been piloted. These farms are located in the Joe Gqabi District. The support that is provided to the farmers mainly focuses on livestock, mechanization and on-the-farm infrastructure. To date, all livestock and mechanisation have been delivered to all four farms. The stimulus packages form an integral role in ensuring rural and agrarian transformation, as these farms are part of the PLAS farms and have got 30-year leases from the department. Read more in the linked DALRRD media statement.
SA wine grape harvest nearing its end
After a long and drawn-out harvest time, many wine grape producers can finally take a breather, while others still wait patiently for their last grapes to reach optimal ripeness. “It’s safe to say that in a normal year, most producers have finished harvesting by the beginning of April, although there is always great variation between the regions,” says Conrad Schutte, manager of Vinpro’s viticultural consultation service. “A number of cellars have announced on social media over the past few weeks that they have finally finished harvesting, but there are a few producers, especially in the Breedekloof, who will probably have to hold out for another week or so.” Read more in the linked Vinpro article.
Cova Advisory webinar on blended finance models for supplier development
Blended finance is growing in popularity and may well be the perfect source of funding for enterprise and supplier development initiatives. Join the Cova Advisory team on 21 April 2021 as they engage with blended finance and supplier development specialists on this extremely relevant topic. Please click here for more information and to register.
Get the latest news from the CropLife
In the latest issue of the Crop Circular, topics such as the role of biotech crops to address food security, the threat of unregistered plant protection products and the basics of managing fungicide resistance are discussed. Please click here to peruse.
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 | Virtual

Food Safety Summit 2021
8-9 June 2021

Agbiz Congress 2021
22-24 June 2022 | Sun City
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