e-Newsletter
44/2020
20 November 2020
President Ramaphosa kicks off SA Investment Conference
President Cyril Ramaphosa on Wednesday said over fifty companies would be announcing their plans to invest in the South African economy at the SA Investment Conference. President Ramaphosa was opening the third gathering of this nature, where companies make investment pledges with the hopes of breaking ground on projects in years to come. The Investment Conference's goal is to attract over R1 trillion in investments in the next five years to help revive and rebuild the struggling economy. The conference, attended by over 700 people locally and internationally is meant to attract investors to the country, with Ramaphosa saying government was addressing long-standing reform concerns. Please click here to read a transcript of the president's opening address. The recordings of the discussions at the conference is available at this link.
WTO report shows slowdown in G20 trade restrictions as Covid-19 impacts world economy
The WTO’s latest Trade Monitoring Report on G20 trade measures shows a slowdown in the number and coverage of trade-restrictive and trade-facilitating measures on goods implemented by G20 countries between mid-May and mid-October 2020, primarily as a result of the sharp decline in overall global trade since the Covid-19 outbreak. The report also documents numerous trade-facilitating and support measures introduced by G20 economies in response to the economic downturn in order to prepare the ground for a strong economic recovery. Please click WTO Trade Monitoring Report to peruse.
Business links emerge stronger from BRICS Council Summit
Strong multilateral relations between business communities in the BRICS alliance are growing in importance in a rapidly changing global economy. Awareness about the alliance should be increased in a period of increased economic and trade volatility. Busi Mabuza, the chairperson of the South African Chapter of the BRICS Business Council, said it is quite clear that global cooperation and stability is critical to the recovery of global, regional, and national economies. This was underscored at the recent virtual meeting of the BRICS Business Council hosted virtually by the city of St Petersburg in Russia. Representatives from the five countries in the alliance – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – attended sessions on wide-ranging issues, including digital technology, sustainable development, global healthcare challenges, female entrepreneurship and the prospects for economic recovery post the Covid-19 pandemic. Read more in the linked media statement.
Presentations at Agbiz Information Day share glimmer of hope
Agbiz hosted a very successful face-to-face half-day information session for members and other role players on 13 November 2020 in Pretoria. Delegates had the opportunity to join the event in-person or follow the live streaming. The sessions focused on current challenges in the policy and legislation environment, as well as developments and opportunities in the agribusiness sector. Theo Venter of North-West University and Prof. Ferdi Meyer of BFAP were the guest speakers. The programme and presentations are available on the Agbiz website.
AGRIBUSINESS RESEARCH
East Africa and South America 2020/21 maize and soybeans crops at risk in a La Niña year
On 10 November 2020, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology reaffirmed its forecast of a La Niña occurrence from this year until at least February 2021. While this weather phenomenon presents prospects of higher rainfall and a potentially good agricultural season in South Africa, other regions of the world could experience the opposite. Within the African continent, one such region is East Africa, where the La Niña weather event typically correlates with below-average rainfall in the months from December to February. This is a period just before the start of the summer grains planting, which is typically in February of each year. Therefore, the current La Niña event has raised the risk of yet another poor agricultural harvest for countries in this region, such as Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia. This means that these countries will likely still depend on maize imports in the 2021/22 marketing year. Agbiz chief economist Wandile Sihlobo discusses this subject in the linked article.
LABOUR RELATIONS
NMW 2021: What’s next?
Employers who employ workers earning the national minimum wage (NMW) are currently biting their nails in anticipation of a possible increase in 2021. The National Minimum Wage Commission (NMWC) has just completed a recommendation that will be gazetted within the next week or two, and then subjected to public scrutiny and comment. This public commentary opportunity is an important part of the democratic process in our country, and in this case it is important for employers to take note and participate in the public comments process. Jahni de Villiers of Labour Amplified discusses this subject in the linked article.
AGBIZ GRAIN
South Africa should change direction now
Outlook
In addition to state capture, Covid-19 landed the South Africa economy in an irreversible spiral from which we are not going to recover easily. Fiscal policy over the past decade has been relatively indulgent, but efforts to reduce the budget deficit have been thwarted by low global economic growth, a sharp decline in South Africa's economic growth and poor governance. Read more in the linked article by Agbiz Grain general manager Wessel Lemmer, written for and first published in Landbouweekblad.
Economic growth in South Africa post-Covid
On 15 November 2020, Agbiz Grain general manager Wessel Lemmer spoke to Lise Roberts of PlaasTV about South Africa's economic recovery post-Covid-19. To view the interview, please follow this link.
Message from Grain SA's chairperson
Grain SA convened a special executive board meeting earlier this week to discuss the issues regarding an audit of the entire grain industry. In the linked video, Grain SA chairperson Derek Mathews shares more information on the outcome of the meeting. Please click here to view the video.
OTHER NEWS
A new model shows where desert locusts will breed next in East Africa 
Several countries in East Africa – namely Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda and South Sudan – are still trying to contain the worst desert locust invasion the region has experienced in over 70 years. The locusts have destroyed vegetation – especially staple cereal crops, legumes and pastures – resulting in huge economic losses. The World Bank estimates that these losses could reach US$8.5 billion by the end of the year. Currently, the countries are battling the second generation (or wave) of locusts, as they’ve already reproduced and hatched once within the region. And re-infestation could continue if the environment is conducive to it. The best option, proved by scientists, is to manage them at their breeding sites. For this to happen, targeted ground and aerial surveillance efforts to identify potential breeding sites is critical. Read more in the linked article, written for and first published on The Conversation.
Agricultural Writers SA pays tribute to the heroes of agriculture 
Banding together to love thy neighbour. This is how Liza Bohlmann, chairperson of the Agricultural Writers SA, described the way in which the agricultural community came together during 2020 to overcome challenges posed by Covid-19 and the consequent lockdown. The Agricultural Writers SA traditionally hosts the Farmer, New Entrant to Farming and Agriculturalist of the Year awards during November, but due to restrictions on public events the event took on another format this year, instead paying tribute to what we can only describe as our heroes of agriculture. “The event was on the brink of being cancelled altogether but we realised that in a year such as this that was so difficult, yet so many rallied together to help where it was needed, we couldn’t but use our platform to pay tribute to the industry. There were so many farmers, agricultural companies and associations that contributed to helping communities in need, near and far, assisting fellow farmers and wherever there was help needed. They not only clothed and fed the nation but kept the economy afloat,” said Bohlmann. Please click here to view the tribute to agribusinesses, which includes the Agri Value Chain Project initiated by Agbiz in collaboration with Grain SA. To view the tribute to farmers, please follow this link. Read more about the virtual event, in the linked media statement.
Covid-19: Cargo movement update
Baltic Freight Index
The BUSA Covid-19: Cargo movement update – the 15th of its kind – contains a combined overview of the flow of air, sea, and road freight to and from South Africa in the past week. The report provides a consolidated view of the different modalities published earlier by the Business for South Africa supply chain team. The overall rhetoric remains the same. As South Africa, and indeed the global economy continues to recover from the impact of Covid-19, the speed of recovery remains slow. The holistic supply chain indicators continually show that the effects will remain for long into 2021, and probably even 2022. Despite the seeming pessimism frequently expressed, the trading community remains as robust as is possible given the extent of the greater externalities created by Covid-19. But it must be understood that the severe drop in purchasing power and, therefore, economic activity will not be repaired overnight. Recovery will be slow and drawn out. Please click here to peruse.
SA Canegrowers welcomes signing of landmark Sugar Industry Masterplan
SA Canegrowers welcomes the signing of phase one of the Sugar Industry Masterplan by sugar industry stakeholders, retailers, social partners and government during a virtual session earlier this week. This means all role players can proceed with implementing the seven commitments in the masterplan that all focus on ensuring the long-term sustainability and profitability of the sector over the next three years, and most especially, the 1 million livelihoods the industry supports. The sustainability of the industry has been under threat over recent years due to a confluence of simultaneous factors including the weak protection against cheap imports, unprecedented droughts, plunging world sugar prices and a major drop in local demand for sugar due to the introduction of the Health Promotion Levy (HPL or sugar tax). Read more in the linked SA Canegrowers media statement.
Confluence of the pandemic, economic slowdown and trade tensions to have enduring impact on cotton industry
Slow economic growth, slow consumer demand, ongoing trade tensions, high ending stock levels and the pandemic have contributed to lower cotton prices. However, some factors that may be influencing international cotton prices higher include lower global production, surge in commodity index fund investments and speculative buying as well as an increase in Chinese cotton prices from state purchases. Nevertheless, it is expected that the current level of ending stocks will continue to put pressure on how high cotton prices may rise. Read more in the October 2020 Cotton Market Report published by Cotton SA.
2020: South Africa sends far more fruit to EU and Russia; far less to China
This year, South Africa exported 10% more fruit than in 2019. That's despite, or thanks to, the Covid-19 crisis. Bad weather like storms also failed to prevent the country from exporting high volumes of fruit. Based on figures up to September, fresh fruit exports for the whole of 2020 are estimated at 3.6 million tons. Last year, the January to September figures accounted for 92% of the annual total. These statistics exclude Zambia. In 2019, exports to that country showed a strange deviation. Read more in the linked article, first published on Fresh Plaza.
Consumer assurance update in CRI 's newsletter
The latest issue of Citrus Research International's newsletter - CRI Cutting Edge - features its consumer assurance update. Citrus Research International is a research and technical services organisation based in South Africa that focuses primarily on citrus. CRI coordinates and funds research conducted by the CRI Group which includes close collaboration between CRI and a wide range of partners. There is a strong focus on the southern African citrus industry’s needs as they relate to the industry’s heavy reliance on export of fresh fruit to global markets. Please click here to peruse.
The latest issue of Harvest SA
Harvest SA is a South African magazine, for all farmers and those involved in the agricultural sector. Informative articles, written with a personal touch, that cover issues of the day. The publication is distributed on a bi-monthly basis and is now a fully interactive digital publication offering farmers completely free access to the magazine. The interactive digital version of the magazine has the same distribution as the print version but with our digital platforms, we can now reach a much larger audience in the agricultural sector. Please click here to read the November/December 2020 issue.
MEMBERS' NEWS
Cova's commentary on the MTBPS
Agbiz member Cova Advisory and Associates has put together some commentary around the Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement, and its implications. 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.
UPCOMING EVENTS
For more information, please visit the congress web page. 
Internet of Things (IoT) technologies and 5G roll-out
23 November 2020 | 13:30-15:30 | on Zoom

Agbiz Congress 2021
Theme: "Building resilient and sustainable agri-food ecosystems".
7-9 April 2021 | Sun City Convention Centre | South Africa

Second International Congress of Biological Control (ICBC2) 
26-30 April 2021 | Davos, Switzerland

 2020 AgriAllAfrica Agribusiness Conference - POSTPONED TO 2021
Theme: "Imagined responses to Covid-19: Progress with the development of solutions"
6 May 2021 | CSIR | Pretoria 
Enquiries: Marianna.duplessis@gmail.com | +27 063 076 9135
AGBIZ MEMBERSHIP
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.
THIRD-PARTY WEBSITE LINKS TO THIS NEWSLETTER
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.