7 May 2021
Agbiz leadership re-elected unanimously
Last week at the Agbiz annual general meeting that was hosted virtually, the Agbiz leadership team was re-elected unanimously. The position of chairperson was uncontested and Francois Strydom of Senwes, will lead the leadership corps for another term. Sean Walsh of Kaap Agri, was re-elected as first deputy chairperson and Dr Langa Simela of Absa as second deputy chairperson. Please click here for the full Agbiz media statement. The Agbiz biennial report for the period 2018 to 2021, which includes the chairman's report, was also presented to members at the AGM. Please click here to peruse.
How companies can establish vaccination sites on their business premises for employees and others
In order to curb the Covid-19 pandemic, two critical elements need to be in place: the first is the availability of sufficient, efficacious vaccines, and the second is to ensure we have a large number of vaccination sites in place to deliver against the objective of vaccinating the entire adult population by March 2022. Many companies have asked how they can participate in the vaccination programme, so Business for South Africa (B4SA) has drafted a fact sheet that will answer many of your questions and provide guidance on your participation. If anything is unclear, please reach out to them for clarification. "We hope we vaccinate as many employees who can be vaccinated in the workplace as is possible." Please click here to peruse.
Biotechnologies: EU Commission seeks open debate on new genomic techniques 
Last week, the European Commission published a study on new genomic techniques (NGTs). The study shows that NGTs, which are techniques to alter the genome of an organism, have the potential to contribute to a more sustainable food system as part of the objectives of the European Green Deal and the Farm to Fork Strategy. At the same time, the study finds that the current GMO legislation, adopted in 2001, is not fit for purpose for these innovative technologies. The commission will now start a wide and open consultation process to discuss the design of a new legal framework for these biotechnologies. Please click here to read the full report.
South Africa to take on innovative funding through the Blended Finance Scheme
Farmer development has always been a priority in South Africa, the interest in development formed a relationship between the government and private sector to work together to bring about transformation and change within the agricultural industry. The Blended Finance Scheme (BFS) intends to leverage public and private sector resources to support investments that will unlock and enhance agricultural production, agro-processing infrastructure and comprehensive land acquisition by black producers through deliberate, targeted and well-defined financial and non-financial interventions. This scheme aims at developing previously disadvantaged black producers. The grant-loan initiative will not only empower black producers but it paves a way for the industry players to work together through a collaboration between the financial institutions, organised agriculture (i.e producer organisations), growers and the government. Agbiz policy and advocacy intern Thapelo Machaba discusses this subject in the linked article.
Sub-Saharan Africa’s food security has turned out better than feared - but risks remain
When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, concern immediately arose that sub-Saharan Africa faced a potential worsening in food insecurity. The concerns were due to the anticipated slowdown in economic activity, job losses accompanied by loss of income, and a ban on grain exports by major exporting countries, including India, Russia, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Sub-Saharan Africa is a net importer of food. The bans, along with other pandemic-related disruptions to food supply chains, were expected to add to food security challenges in the region. The World Bank was among the first multilateral institutions to sound the alarm. The bank estimated that an additional 26 million people would fall into extreme poverty, defined as those living under US$1.90 per day, in 2020. Agbiz chief economist Wandile Sihlobo discusses this subject in the linked article, written for and first published on The Conversation.
SA’s large maize harvest might not lead to a notable decline in prices in the near term
Last week, the South African Crop Estimates Committee (CEC) mildly lifted its forecast for 2020/21 maize, soybeans and sorghum from the March 2021 estimate to 16,1 million tonnes (up 5% y/y – the second-largest harvest on record), 1,8 million tonnes (up 44% y/y, a record harvest), and 189 885 tonnes (up 20% y/y), respectively. Meanwhile, sunflower seed and groundnut production estimates were left unchanged from March 2021, at 696 290 tonnes (down 12% y/y) and 57 900 tonnes (up 16% y/y), respectively. The dry beans were the only crop whose estimates were slashed by 9% from March 2021 to 56 577 tonnes (down 13% y/y). We generally share the CEC’s assessment in these estimates, except for maize, where we have long held a more optimistic view. The feedback we continue to receive from farmers as harvesting picks up momentum is that maize yields are generally good in a number of areas across the country. Hence, we are inclined to believe that the CEC could still adjust its maize production estimate upwards in the coming months. Wandile Sihlobo discusses the latest data in the linked article.
Industry levy assists soybean farmers to be more competitive
South African soybean producers are lagging behind in terms of yields compared to countries such as America and Brazil because they do not have access to the latest cultivars and biotechnology. A statutory levy for the industry now makes a big difference. Agbiz Grain general manager Wessel Lemmer discusses this subject in the linked article, written for and first published in Landbouweekblad.
Invitation to B4SA information briefing on vaccination programme
On Friday 7 May from 11:15 to 13:00 please join Business for South Africa (B4SA) and the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) for a briefing on:
•The current status of Phase 2 of the vaccination programme
•Critical practical aspects related to the roll-out
•A call to action and appeal for business to support the registration of over-60s on the EVDS
•Tools, information, and free resources available for immediate use by business to inform and mobilise their staff, customers, and communities to register and get vaccinated.

To register and attend the briefing please follow the link.
Seasonal climate watch
The El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is currently in a weak La Niña state and the forecast indicates that it will most likely weaken and return to a neutral state for the whole of the winter season. The influence of ENSO on South Africa is however very limited during the winter season and is not expected to have a major impact on southern African weather systems on a seasonal timescale. The multi-model rainfall forecast indicates mostly above-normal rainfall during early-, mid and late-winter seasons (May-Jun-Jul, Jun-Jul-Aug, Jul-Aug-Sep). Above-normal rainfall is indicated in early-winter for the important winter rainfall region of the southwestern part of Western Cape, although the outlook for rainfall remains uncertain for the remainder of the winter season. Please click here to peruse.
Zimbabwe's horticultural sector blooms
There is an overall increase in area and production under horticultural crops this season, with the area under emerging crops such as blueberries increasing across the provinces. This comes as government, through the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1) is set to revive horticultural production with a focus on exports, as well as improved household nutrition. Horticulture used to be a major export earner, with regular cargo flights to Europe. The strategy will be implemented under the Zimbabwe Horticulture Recovery and Growth Plan, which is targeted at reconfiguring the horticulture industry driven by the private sector, but paired with a transformative rural subsector under the Presidential Horticulture Scheme to benefit 1,8 million households. Read more in the linked article, first published in The Herald.
Hollard Insure's wine survey sponsorship helps create better futures
Hollard’s business purpose is called #BetterFutures: it binds every employee to create and secure better futures for more people. Such as the tens of thousands of people dependent on South Africa’s wine industry. This is why Hollard Insure, the Hollard Insurance Group’s short-term insurance arm, has partnered with the TOPS at SPAR Wine Show, South Africa’s largest “try-and-buy” wine event, on a project. When the national Covid-19 lockdown led to the show’s cancellation last year, the TOPS at SPAR’s organisers instead decided to find out exactly what lay over the horizon and channelled their energies into conducting a comprehensive survey of South Africa’s domestic wine market. That was the first-ever Great Big Wine Survey, which recorded the views of no fewer than 21 000 people. Read more in the linked Holland Insure media statement.
Leading South African macadamia processor aligns with the Marquis Group to ensure industry stability
The global macadamia industry has seen unprecedented growth in the last 10 years with demand continuously exceeding limited supply. This has made the farming of macadamias very rewarding as much of this annual increase of demand has occurred organically. However, the industry is currently experiencing a shift with hectares of macadamia nuts planted set to double in supply within the next four to five years, increasing global macadamia supply from roughly 200 000 tonnes to 400 000 tonnes, followed by a further predicted increase to 600 000 tonnes shortly thereafter. To ensure demand for macadamias continues to grow with the increased supply, key steps must be taken to stabilise the industry, including a collective effort across international borders. Read more in the linked media statement.
Get the latest news from the FPEF
Keeping it Fresh, the newsletter of the Fresh Produce Exporters' Forum, 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.
Latest issue of AFMA Matrix  
Read about the latest developments in the animal feed manufacturing sector in the April/June issue of the AFMA Matrix. Please click here to peruse.
Produce Marketing Association’s (PMA’s) EU Green Deal Series
1 June 2021 | Session 2: Retail and Demand Perspectives
This session will focus on the effects of the EU Green Deal on retail businesses and consumer demand - including how retailers can prepare their businesses to successfully navigate and operate within the EU Green Deal. Speakers will be announced.
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

2021 AFMA Symposium
18-19 October 2021

Agbiz Congress 2021
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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