30 April 2021
Structural reform: slow but steady
South Africa has now been in a ‘demographic recession’ for six years because the population grew faster than the economy. Our population growth is 1,6% pa (allowing for one immigrant every 2,5 minutes). Since 2015, economic growth has not kept pace with that number. The latest figures from the South African Reserve Bank show that by the end of 2020, per capita incomes were 11% lower in constant terms than at the end of 2014 – a six-year lag. At this stage economists expect growth of around 3,5% for 2021, more than double population growth of 1,6%. (This is provided there is no Covid-19 or other catastrophic development.) But, say the sceptics, the growth is merely a bounce back from Covid-19. It will take until deep into the 2020s to get back to where we were. That is, of course, correct. But in life you start where you are, not where you wish you were. To say that the bounce back does not matter is a bit like saying after a six-year drought that the rain does not matter – it will only matter once all the rain that did not fall in six years has first fallen! Where the sceptics are right is what will happen after 2021. Please click Structural reform: slow but steady by JP Landman, political and trend analyst, to peruse.
Localisation: what is realistic?
The study on localisation undertaken by Intellidex for Business Unity SA (BUSA) and Business Leadership SA (BLSA) is very opportune and serves as a touch point in the ongoing engagements on promoting local manufacturing in South Africa. BUSA has been engaging the Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition on this issue and we have identified localisation as a critical deliverable in the Economic Recovery Action Plan (ERAP). We have identified CEOs as “champions” who will promote localisation in specific product categories and we have also agreed to an indicative target of 20% import substitution of non-petroleum goods in the next five years. We are committed to working with government and other social partners to enable localisation but are cognisant of the environment that is essential for progress. To read more, please click Localisation: what is realistic?.
Land reform status update 
In order to give our members and stakeholders in the agricultural industry an overview of the broader direction in which land reform is moving and to place the latest developments on expropriation in context, Agbiz publishes a status update on land reform. Please click here to view a PDF of the latest publication, dated April 2021. To read a reader-friendly flipbook of the publication, please follow this link.
SA consumer food price inflation lifted marginally in March 2021 
Food prices
Consumer food price inflation accelerated to 5,9% y/y in March 2021 from 5,4% y/y in the previous month. The product prices underpinning the uptick were mainly bread and cereals; fish; milk, eggs and cheese; and oils and fats. The increase in prices of these products is unsurprising and reflects the elevated farm-level prices we observed at the end of 2020 and into 2021. Typically, the passthrough from the farm level to the retail level for products such as grains is three months. While South Africa's consumer food price inflation was generally elevated in the first quarter of the year, we expect softening from the second quarter. Agbiz chief economist Wandile Sihlobo discusses the latest data in the linked article.
GM wheat would be welcome in SA
In a letter to the Business Day in response to an article on the potential for global food shortages ("The world is dry and hungry but GM crops could change all that”, 26 April 2021), Agbiz chief economist Wandile Sihlobo wrote as follows: "South Africa’s maize industry has enjoyed an astonishing improvement in yields since the adoption of genetically modified (GM) seeds in the 2000/2001 production season. Yields improved from an average of 2.8 tonnes per hectare in 2000/2001 to about 5.9 tonnes per hectare in the 2019/2020 production season." Please click here to read the full letter.
CNN investigates untapped potential of agriculture in Africa
CNN International investigated the untapped potential of agriculture in Africa in its regular series Connecting Africa. This series profiles the people, projects and companies revolutionising African business. It also highlights those who are bringing the continent together by championing trade and expansion, reflecting the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement. CNN correspondent Eleni Giokos asked Agbiz chief economist Wandile Sihlobo to share his views on this subject in the linked interview.
Why Ghana doesn’t get the full value of its cocoa beans – and how this could change
The global chocolate industry is worth over US$150 billion. West Africa supplies 70% of the cocoa beans, but most of the value in a chocolate bar is generated in Europe and North America. West African economies receive less than US$6 billion. This is despite a growing demand for consumer chocolate in West Africa, some of which is satisfied through imports. The pattern is typical in economies that mostly rely on exporting raw materials. They have to choose between generating revenue from these commodity exports and adding value to products locally. Please click here to read the full article, first published on The Conversation.
We need to do more to combat climate change - President Ramaphosa
Climate Change Summit_1
In President Ramaphosa's weekly newsletter - From the desk of the President - published earlier this week, he said that unless we act on climate change with urgency, we could find our developmental gains reversed, and our ability to overcome poverty, joblessness and inequality severely constraint. He gave feedback on the climate summit convened by US President Joe Biden where he joined more than 40 world leaders to discuss the global climate change effort in the run-up to the next international climate conference, taking place in Glasgow, Scotland in November. "There was a common appreciation that, as the international community, we need to dramatically scale-up our efforts, raise our level of ambition, and support developing countries with the means to implement climate actions." Please click here to peruse. 
Wetter conditions return to the summer rainfall region
Following a mostly dry April, conditions are expected to return to a wetter pattern into early May. Upper-air troughs in the westerlies will be positioned more favorably for the South African interior to receive showers and thundershowers. A significant system later this week will be responsible for most of the rain over the central to eastern areas, with a possibility of snow over parts of the Drakensberg (northern parts of the Eastern Cape and Lesotho) by Friday (30th). With the more summer-like circulation pattern ahead, temperatures are on average expected to remain near normal to slightly above normal over most parts, with no indication of a widespread severe frost event during the next week. Moreover, the lack of strong frontal systems over the southwestern parts will result in a continuation of dry conditions over especially the western parts of the winter rainfall region for now. Please click here to read to the latest edition of Cumulus, published by AgriSeker.
BUSA cargo movement update
This BUSA Cargo Movement Update - the 35th of its kind - contains a consolidated overview of the South African supply chain and the current state of international trade. The global container industry continues to be affected by the three-pronged onslaught of container imbalances, port congestion, and low port productivity, all of which continue to affect trade. As has been widely reported, these constraints have meant that global freight rates have increased substantially. Therefore, the recent narrative in the ocean-going economy has centred on the availability of space on shipping lines, which is becoming increasingly scarce, with booking backlogs reaching four weeks in some instances. Even when space is available, the freight rates quoted are likely to give pause to even the most ardent trader. Please click here for the full report.
Join the PMA EU Green Deal series to learn how it will affect the global fresh produce industry
The European Green Deal, announced by the European Commission in 2019, commits the European Union (EU) to become the world’s first climate-neutral continent by 2050. With bold plans to cut the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions to 55% by 2030, compared with 1990 levels, the produce industry supplying Europe needs to understand and work within a set of policies and regulations to remain compliant and profitable. Playing its part in the drive for green recovery, the Produce Marketing Association (PMA) will be hosting a series of three episodes where EU Green Deal experts will help role players understand the impact of the policy on the fresh produce industry. Each episode will topic-specific. Please click here to read the PMA media statement.
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.
Produce Marketing Association’s (PMA’s) EU Green Deal Series
4 May 2021 | Session 1: An Introduction to the EU Green Deal
This session provides an introduction into the body of policies and legislation, background, and analysis of the implications on the full fresh produce and floral supply chain.
The speakers in this session are Frédéric Rosseneu, corporate business development manager at Greenyard, a global market leader of fresh, frozen and prepared fruit & vegetables, flowers and plants; and David Farrell, founding partner and CEO of Blue North Sustainability, a specialist sustainability consulting practice based in Stellenbosch.
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

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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