11 June 2021
Agbiz welcomes the move towards 100 MW exemption for energy generation
The government has taken the decision to considerably free up South Africa’s electricity generation market in an effort to resolve the country’s recovery-dampening energy crisis.
Addressing the nation on Thursday, 10 June, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the decision to amend the Electricity Regulation Act to lift the threshold for companies to produce their own electricity without a licence to 100 MW. The announcement follows draft regulations published in April for public comment that merely proposed raising the exemption from the 1 MW to 10 MW. Agbiz submitted written inputs in May proposing a more substantial change akin to that announced by the president. According to Agbiz CEO, Dr John Purchase, the announcement comes at a timely hour when improvements in the policy environment are desperately needed for agribusinesses: "Agbiz wholeheartedly welcomes the pronouncements by the President. Aside from the load-shedding being experienced countrywide, we recently saw prominent agribusinesses voice concerns about their ability to do business in rural municipalities due to poor service delivery. The announcement is a timely boost for business confidence as it will unlock large investments into renewable energy and allow businesses to secure their energy needs." Please click here to read the full media statement.
SA’s agriculture in good shape despite quarterly blip
Tuesday’s GDP data for the first quarter which shows that South Africa’s agricultural output unexpectedly contracted by 3.2% quarter on quarter on a seasonally adjusted and annualised basis should not be of lasting concern. Stats SA attributes the underperformance to “lower production of field crops and animal products”. But this is a temporary blip and shouldn’t be regarded as a worse season than the robust 2020. The sector is set for one of the best years on record, and such improvements should be reflected in the data in the coming quarters. Agbiz chief economist Wandile Sihlobo discusses the latest data in the linked article, written for and first published in Business Day.
Sub-Saharan Africa’s agriculture and Covid-19: how the pandemic will (re)shape food markets
Food processing
The Covid-19 pandemic has put the global food system under sustained pressure and
has triggered various policy responses to manage both supply and demand. While the
policy responses of key global food producers have been publicised and their implications
well documented, there has been a dearth of information on sub-Saharan Africa. Yet
food insecurity is relatively high in the region, and there is considerable reliance on the
world market for food. This policy insight, by Wandile Sihlobo, Tinashe Kapuya and Gracelin Baskaran, looks at how sub-Saharan African countries have responded to the Covid-19 pandemic to mitigate its impacts, and explores the effects of policy responses on the continent’s food system. Please click here to peruse.
South Africa’s food price inflation could soften in the coming months
It sometimes feels like there is little more to discuss regarding South Africa's consumer food price inflation. The local crop data continue to show that there are ample domestic supplies on the back of large harvests in field crops and horticulture, which would have ordinarily led to a decline in prices. Still, the question that repeatedly comes out in discussions with various stakeholders in the food industry is the impact of higher global prices on the domestic food market and whether this is the reason local prices have remained elevated in the face of a large harvest. This is an important consideration because the price developments we have witnessed in South Africa's soft commodities prices, specifically grains, in recent months reflect spillovers from the global market. This begs the question of where global grain prices are likely to go from here and how this could affect South Africa. Read more in Wandile Sihlobo's article, written for and first published on Fin24.
Podcast: investing in agri
The Finance Ghost and Mohammed Nalla (Moe-Knows) discussed the investment opportunity in South Africa's agricultural sector in with Agbiz chief economist Wandile Sihlobo and unpacked important topics like the strength of the rand and the levels in the value chain that are most attractive to investors. Please click here to listen to episode 28 of Magic Markets.
BUSA Covid-19: cargo movement update
This BUSA Covid-19: Cargo Movement Update – the 41st of its kind – contains a consolidated overview of the South African supply chain and the current state of international trade. The week ended with reports of very low container numbers for the local maritime industry, as another significant decline in import numbers was observed. In addition to the low numbers reported, the central area of concern at commercial ports revolved around possible industrial action by Transnet workers. Some positive news includes the arrival of ten additional diesel-electric straddle carriers in DCT Pier 2 this week and some positive developments around natural gas in Ngqura. Other welcome news includes DCT introducing a crime prevention initiative by implementing new technology. In conclusion, it appears that trade volumes are trending upwards, but several operational constraints have accompanied this. Indeed, the few green shoots are being overshadowed by some rather gloomy dark clouds. Please click here to peruse.
ENSO-neutral conditions continue
ENSO-neutral conditions continued during May, with near-average sea surface temperatures observed across most of the equatorial Pacific Ocean. In the last week, the Niño indices were all at -0.2°C, except for the Niño-1+2 index, which was -0.4°C. Subsurface temperature anomalies remained positive but decreased slightly due to the weakening of above-average subsurface temperatures around the thermocline in the central Pacific Ocean. Low-level easterly and upper-level westerly wind anomalies extended across most of the equatorial Pacific Ocean. At the Date Line, tropical convection was mostly near average, and enhanced rainfall was evident over the western Pacific Ocean. Overall, the ocean and atmosphere system reflected ENSO-neutral conditions. Please click here to peruse.
Seasonal climate watch for South Africa
The influence of ENSO on South Africa very limited during the winter season and is not expected to have a major impact on southern African weather systems on a seasonal timescale at this time. The multi-model rainfall forecast indicates mostly above-normal rainfall during the mid- and late-winter seasons (Jun-Jul-Aug, Jul-Aug-Sep). For early spring however, below-normal rainfall is expected over the north-eastern parts of the country, with specific emphasis on the east coast which usually starts receiving significant rainfall during spring. Of specific concern during early spring as well is the below-normal rainfall expected over the Eastern Cape areas. Above-normal minimum and maximum temperatures are expected across the country. Please click here to peruse.
Black sugarcane farmers boosted by R128 million transformation spend but still stifled by sugar tax 
Over the past year, South African cane growers contributed R128 million to the sugar industry’s annual transformation projects, which received R200 million overall. This funding provided much-needed relief to small-scale and largely black growers. Devastatingly, this group of growers’ revenue was 15% less than the previous year due to the continued imposition of the Health Promotion Levy (the HPL or ‘sugar tax’). These figures were presented at the SA Canegrowers 94rd Annual General Meeting that took place yesterday, 9 June, which also saw the election of the new chairpersons and board for the upcoming year. Read more in the linked media statement.
Invitation to attend a series of webinars on digitisation of trade and export
Trade Forward Southern Africa, a partner of Business Unity South Africa (BUSA), is hosting a series of webinars entitled: Navigating Digital Tools for Export Trade.
BUSA has kindly agreed to open the webinars up to Agbiz members. Interested members may register for the webinar series by following the link and instructions contained in the linked document.
Citrus industry sends off first shipment of South African citrus to the Philippines
Earlier this week, a delegation from the Citrus Growers’ Association of South Africa (CGA) visited the Durban Port to see off the first South African shipment of citrus to the Philippines. This historic occasion follows twelve years of negotiations between the two countries with a landmark workplan finally being signed between the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) and the Philippines Bureau of Plant and Industry (BPI) at the end of last year. This new market presents an export potential of 20 000 tons of citrus fruit, with export earnings of close to R205 million annually. Read more in the linked CGA 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.
Trade Forward Southern Africa Webinar
Leveraging ITC Trademaps and tools for export trade
23 June 2021

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.

Sustainability Summit 2021
21-23 September 2021 | Virtual

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

Agbiz Congress 2022
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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