14 May 2021
First the state, now the party
Earlier this week political and trend analyst JP Landman discussed the suspension of ANC officials. In the corruption update in August last year, I wrote: ‘One must distinguish between what the state is doing and what the ANC is doing or not doing. President Ramaphosa has clearly put the state on a new trajectory. It is important that the ANC now follows suit.’ Nine months later, in the past week, this is exactly what happened. Ace Magashule was suspended pending the outcome of his corruption court case in the Free State and removed from a National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting. Former minister Bongani Bongo was also expelled from the NEC due to his corruption charges. Magashule dominated the news. He may not have been the most corrupt person around, but he is the highest-ranking ANC official to be charged so far and, sadly for him, he has become the symbol of corruption in the ANC, together with Jacob Zuma. Please click here to peruse.
Minister calls for inclusive growth in agricultural sector
During her budget vote speech yesterday, Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Thoko Didiza acknowledged the low levels of inclusion in the agricultural sector and has called for an intervention to increase the contribution of black commercial-scale farmers. Her proposed interventions will be built around a number of pillars, including the roll-out of infrastructure, increase in local production, employment stimulus to create jobs and livelihoods, and rapid expansion of the country's generation capacity. Please click here for the full budget vote speech.
Growth coalitions that work? We need to talk about citrus
Citrus exports overtook wine as South Africa’s largest agricultural export in 2010 and grew to 2½ times the value of wine exports by 2020 (see graph). The growth in export earnings over the past decade has been driven by higher value “soft citrus” varieties along with lemons and limes, while the growth in the export of oranges was more important in earlier years. South Africa is genuinely a world leader, with improved home-grown varieties and smart agriculture techniques being applied in upgrading production. The stand-out performance of the citrus industry in South Africa is an export-led success story, which has generated hundreds of thousands of jobs along the value chain. Less well appreciated is the collaborative work that has made this success happen. Shingie Chisoro-Dube and Prof Simon Roberts from the Centre for Competition Regulation and Economic Development (CCRED), University of Johannesburg discuss this subject in the linked article, written for and first published on Daily Maverick.
What do major agricultural forecasters say about the 2021/22 global grains and oilseeds season?
The outlook for global agricultural conditions was once again in the spotlight this week as the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) was scheduled to release its projections for the 2021/22 production season on May 12. Another major global agricultural organisation, the International Grains Council (IGC), released its estimates last week and painted a generally optimistic view for key grains and oilseeds production for 2021/22. Starting with maize, the IGC forecasts global production at 1,2 billion tonnes, which is up by 5% from the 2020/21 production season. This optimism is underpinned by expectations of a large crop in the US, Brazil, Argentina, Ukraine, China, EU and Russia. The reaction to the release of this data was generally muted. Agbiz chief economist Wandile Sihlobo discusses this subject in the linked article.
Large agricultural harvest and higher commodity prices continue to boost tractor and harvester sales
South Africa's agricultural machinery sales have remained on a positive footing since May 2020. The figures released by the South African Agricultural Machinery Association last week show that tractor and harvester sales were up by 23% y/y and 115% y/y in April 2021, with 540 and 40 units sold, respectively. Improved farmers' finances have supported the sale. This is on the back of the large harvest in 2019/20, prospects for yet another good agricultural season in 2020/21, and higher commodities prices. The relatively stronger exchange rate has also been a positive buffer for the imported agricultural machinery. Wandile Sihlobo discusses the latest data in the linked article.
Invitation to IP Business Summit
The Global Innovation Policy Centre (GIPC), a division with the US Chamber of Commerce, has launched its ninth IP Index Report for 2021 which illustrates that economies with the most effective IP frameworks are more likely to achieve the socio-economic resilience needed to combat Covid 19, including greater access to venture capital, increased private sectors investment in research and development, and over 10 times more clinical trial activity. Join them online on Monday, 17 May at 14:00 where Tyler Crowe, manager of international policy at the GIPC, will provide an introduction and overview of the 2021 IP Index Report. Sectoral leaders, including Agbiz CEO Dr John Purchase, will analyse what this means for industry in South Africa. To register, kindly send your RSVP to services@amcham.co.za.
Citrus growers welcome world’s largest reefer vessel
Today (14 May) marks a major milestone for the Port of Durban with the arrival of the world’s largest specialised reefer vessel, the Cool Eagle, which will help meet the capacity demands of South Africa’s increasing citrus exports. The Citrus Growers’ Association of South Africa (CGA) will be on hand to welcome the vessel which is a first-time caller at South Africa’s ports. Growers are expected to export a record-breaking 163 million cartons of citrus during the 2021 export season, translating into more job opportunities and foreign exchange revenue and contributing to the national government’s goal of increased agricultural exports over the next few years. Read more in the linked article, first published on freightnews.co.za.
Solar plant installed to lower carbon footprint in Cederberg
The wine farm, Cederberg, has confirmed its commitment to sustainability with the installation of a solar energy plant. Situated in the Cederberg Nature Conservancy, the farm harvests 900 tons of grapes each year in a distinct terroir to make its sought-after signature ranges of wines. This isolated, virus-free farm has water from mountain springs, a unique cold climate without coastal influences and five generations’ understanding of the land. Cederberg was one of the first wine farms in South Africa to be awarded Champion Status by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) in recognition of its commitment to regenerative farming practices. It is also the farm with the most unspoilt land of all WWF Champion-accredited wine farms. Of the 5 500 ha property, only 85 ha is under vine. Please click here to read the full article, first published on AgriOrbit.
BUSA Covid 19 cargo movement update
The latest BUSA Covid 19 Cargo Movement Update - the 37th of its kind - contains a consolidated overview of the South African supply chain and the current state of international trade. In summary, as the yearly comparisons with the hard lockdown months of April and May now become apparent, it is evident that the air cargo industry is leading the charge in terms of economic recovery. The maritime industry has also primarily returned to pre-Covid levels across the board in terms of volumes, despite the ongoing operational constraints reported. Given the conducive environment globally, the security of the South African supply chain will depend largely on the way the favourable conditions can be beneficially leveraged. Therefore, the collective efforts of all role-players within the extended supply chain need to continue. Please click here to peruse.
Seasonal climate watch: La Niña has ended, with ENSO-neutral likely to continue
During April, the tropical Pacific Ocean returned to ENSO-neutral conditions as the coupling between the atmosphere and ocean weakened. Sea surface temperatures were near-to-below average across most of the equatorial Pacific Ocean in the past month. The Niño indices have generally trended toward normal during the last several months, except for the easternmost Niño-1+2 region, which was -0.7°C in the past week. Subsurface temperature anomalies continued to increase due to a downwelling Kelvin wave, which reinforced the positive temperature anomalies along the thermocline. Overall, the ocean and atmosphere system reflected a return to ENSO-neutral. Please click here to peruse.
Cotton trade increases with consumption growth
Global cotton production is estimated at 24.6 million tons for April 2021, 2% up from the previous month. India will lead global production at an estimated 6.3 million tons for 2020/21, with China second with 5.9 million tons. Both countries have also sizable textile industries supported by their domestic supply. The US and Brazil are expected to produce 3.2 and 2.5 million tons, respectively. The West African producing countries together are expected to produce over a million tons this year, with Benin leading. Pakistan and Turkey are amongst the leading textile countries in the world while both are dependent on domestic production to support their textile industries. Both countries have experienced reduced local production this season and will have a greater reliance on imports to fulfill cotton spinning needs. Please click here for the Cotton Market Report for April 2021 compiled by Cotton SA.
What SA agriculture needs from international trade
Agriculture is a pivotal industry. It is not only crucial in providing food security worldwide, but it’s also the main source of jobs and livelihoods on our continent. Yet, despite its potential to feed the growing global population, Africa remains home to more than half of all the people in the world who face food insecurity. How, then, do we unlock the potential of our continent to produce the quantity and quality of food it is capable of? I believe that international trade is a critical part of the answer. The capacity of international trade participation to fuel economic growth is well established. However, in our experience at Syngenta as a multinational company, markets need appropriate and robust regulation to flourish and deliver equal benefits to all participants. Read more in the linked media statement.
With R5.4bn in AB InBev shares, SAB Zenzele Kabili re-enlists for JSE listing
SAB has secured a green light for the JSE listing of Zenzele Kabili share scheme. This is following the very successful virtual AGM which took place on 10 May 2021. It gives us great pleasure to announce that SAB Zenzele Kabili will be listed on the JSE on 28 May 2021. At a special virtual general meeting held for members of our current B-BBEE scheme, SAB Zenzele, a quorum was secured with 8 339 shareholders casting their votes and 95% of the shareholders who voted, voted in favour of the new scheme, satisfying the requirement for listing. This is a big step towards assisting our shareholders to generate a financial legacy for their families. We look forward to welcoming you all to the listing on the JSE on the 28th of May. Once listed the new scheme will trade on the JSE from 28 May 2021 and will own R5.4-billion worth of shares in our global company, AB InBev. The scheme will also be available to the broader qualifying public, we ask for your patience as all trading will open promptly from Monday 28 May 2021. Please click here to peruse.
Proudly SA joins SA Canegrowers’ ‘home sweet home’ buy-local-sugar campaign
SA Canegrowers is thrilled to announce a new partnership with Proudly South African (Proudly SA) to encourage consumers to buy local sugar. This partnership promises to give new impetus to the SA Canegrowers’ 'home sweet home' campaign to promote the buying of locally produced sugar. Over the past decade, the sugar industry has faced critical challenges including droughts and increasing production costs. One of the greatest threats has been the result of weak trade protections against increasing cheap sugar imports from deep-sea countries such as Brazil, and from the Southern African Customs Union (SACU). These cheap imports cost the local industry more than R2.2 billion during 2019 alone. Read more in the linked media statement.
Kaap Agri on normal growth path despite economic impact of pandemic, says CEO
Kaap Agri has managed to pull through the Covid 19 pandemic relatively unscathed. Its 2021 interim performance aligns it with a normal growth path - despite the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, the group said last week. The reduction in debt, effective working capital management and continuous strong cash generation have contributed to strong growth in earnings and improved return on invested capital, according to its CEO, Sean Walsh. Read more in the linked article, first published on News24.
BerriesZA expects a 10 000-tonne increase in blueberry exports
The export estimate for the upcoming blueberry season has just been finalised: BerriesZA, the South African berry organisation, expects to export 25 000 tonnes of blueberries this year, says Elzette Schutte, manager of BerriesZA, while total production will be approximately 36 000 tonnes. In the north of South Africa blueberries are beginning to flower. Late summer rains have much improved the water situation. The earliest South African blueberries will be harvested by the end of this month, with the peak of the season from Limpopo and Mpumalanga by the start of August. Read more in the linked article, first published on FreshPlaza.
Invitation to Nedbank webinar
Agriculture’s positive contribution to the economy was abundantly clear in 2020, and this year is showing great promise. However, with several challenges facing the sector, is it in a position to contribute meaningfully to the South African economy, and do we have what it takes to ensure sustained growth in the medium to long term? Join Nedbank on 3 June 2021 from 9:00 to 10:30 for an agriculture webinar, where speakers - Wandile Sihlobo, chief economist at the Agricultural Business Chamber (Agbiz), and Dr Tracy Davids, commodity markets and foresight manager at the Bureau for Food and Agricultural Policy (BFAP) - will present on the following topics: 
  • The technical market and production trends of key subsectors, addressing whether and where expansion is possible.
  • The policy environment, what is to come in the next few years and how that will influence agriculture (investors, farmers and consumers).
Please click here to register.
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.
IP Business Summit
17 May 2021 | 14:00

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.

Nedbank webinar
Theme: Can agriculture save the South African economy?
3 June 2021 | 9:00-10:30
Register here

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.
The Agbiz Newsletter may contain a few links to websites that belong to third parties unrelated to us. By making these links available, we are not endorsing third-party websites, their content, products, services or their events. Agbiz seeks to protect the integrity of its newsletter and links used in it, and therefore welcomes any feedback.