1 March 2019
We must defeat corruption and state capture, says Pityana

Pre sident of Business Unity SA (BUSA) Sipho Pityana has attacked the president of the Black Business Council (BBC), Sandile Zungu, saying he has brought shame on honest black professionals and has been complicit in state capture.  Pityana, who has written an open letter to Zungu in his personal capacity, published the letter on Wednesday, a day before the start of the BBC's annual summit. Please click here to peruse.
Workshop paves the way to appoint manager for predation

The Predation Management Forum (PMF) held a workshop on 21 February at the Nelson Mandela University (NMU) to develop a framework that will give direction to research and training / extension, which will be practical for all to support and actively engage and participate in.  Agbiz  CEO Dr John Purchase facilitated the meeting that was attended by tertiary institutions, predation specialists, national departments of government (DEA and DAFF) as well as provincial conservation authorities. The steering committee of the PMF met the following day, where the recommendations and outcomes of the workshop were deliberated. A new constitution was adopted, paving the way for the forum to be registered as a legal entity. Please click here for the PMF media statement.
Actions to control FMD outbreak showing results

In a media statement, Minister Senzeni Zokwana, commended the speedy action taken by the joint operations committee ─ traffic department, District Disaster Management Unit, police service, industry, national veterinary officials and provincial veterinary officials following the foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) outbreak. At the FMD task teams' meetings of 25 February 2019, it was reported that the 16 strategically placed roadblocks are functioning effectively and no cloven-hoofed animals are allowed to move out of the disease management area.
Furthermore, the veterinary operations committee in the quarantined area has reported no clinical signs of FMD or serologically positive test results in the epidemiological groups surveyed over the recent three weeks. Vaccination of cattle in the disease management area commenced on 14 January 2019 and to date an estimated 10 000 animals have been vaccinated and marked to identify them as vaccinated. Media release.
Future outlook woolly for key SA commodity

One of our less discussed and yet more important commodities is wool. But it has now surfaced as a key concern following the suspension of South Africa's greasy wool imports by the Chinese authorities due to the foot-and-mouth disease outbreak earlier in the year. What makes the Chinese decision to suspend South African wool imports particularly concerning is its large share contribution to the domestic exports. Agbiz head of Agribusiness Research Wandile Sihlobo provides more insight in the linked article, written for and first published on Fin 24.
Is South African agriculture really dominated by big commercial farms? 

Behind some of the policy proposals and discussions on land redistribution in South Africa is a persistent notion that the country should establish 'small-scale farms' so that there could be more participants, and increase in productivity. This view was further shared by some participants at a conference organised by the Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (Plaas) at the University of the Western Cape on 4-5 February 2019. In the linked article written for and first published on Fin 24, Prof Johann Kirsten, director of the Bureau for Economic Research at Stellenbosch University, and Wandile Sihlobo, state that the argument that South Africa is dominated by large commercial farms simply ignores the data or evidence, and is therefore misplaced. 
Better rainfall and late planting boost harvest forecast

The numbers released on February 27 by South Africa's Crop Estimates Committee underscores the message of optimism about agricultural conditions carried in my column on February 20.  The data shows that SA farmers planted 3.7-million hectares of summer grains and oilseeds. This is up 3% from the preliminary estimates released in January, but still 3% lower than the 2017/2018 production season. This encompasses white maize, yellow maize, sunflower seed, soya beans, ground nuts, sorghum, and dry beans. About 61% of it is maize (white and yellow). Wandile Sihlobo elaborates in the linked article that was written for and first published in Business Day.
SA farmers increased summer crop area planting

The recently released first estimate for South Africa's 2018/19 summer grains and oilseeds area plantings and production proved just how difficult it is to make predictions in a drier season. Fortunately, the numbers leaned more to the positive than the reduction that market analysts, ourselves included, previously feared. South African farmers planted 3.7 million hectares of all summer grains and oilseeds, up by 3% from the previous estimate, but still down by 3% from the 2017/18 season. From a yield perspective, the numbers are somewhat disappointing but not gloomier. For example, South Africa's maize production is estimated at 10.5 million tonnes, slightly below the lower end of market expectations of 10.7 million tonnes. Given that South Africa consumes roughly 10.8 million tonnes a year, if the aforementioned harvest materialises, the country would have sufficient supplies in 2019/20 marketing year, accounting for an opening stock of 3.5 million tonnes which will add into the supplies. Please click here for Wandile Sihlobo's report.
Bayer stands behind the safety of glyphosate

News reports about the trial regarding glyphosate in the US District Court for the Northern District of California in San Francisco that began on Monday, 25 February, have surfaced over the past few days. The second trial for 2019 is expected in mid-March in the Superior Court of the State of California. In a statement Bayer said: "We would like to reiterate that Bayer stands behind the safety of glyphosate and will continue to vigorously defend our glyphosate-based products." Bayer encourages you to leverage the following resources:
Bayer.com/glyphosate: This is Bayer's Glyphosate Hub where you can find general information about glyphosate.
GlyphosateLitigationFacts.com: On this site you will be able to find information about the litigation and it will be updated regularly.
Levy to encourage new cultivars with advanced technology 

From  today (1 March 2019), producers will be charged a statutory levy of R65 for every tonne of soybeans sold. This statutory levy was introduced by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries following a request from role players in the industry, represented by the Sunflower and Soybean Forum.
The purpose of the levy is explained in the linked document. An informative video can be downloaded at this  link.
Request for information regarding support for smallholder farmers

The DAFF Producer/Farmer Register (PFR) for South Africa is being developed with assistance from Statistics SA. It aims to address the following areas for the sector and the country:
  • To improve the inaccurate and misrepresented statistics of famers in the non-commercial sector in particular the smallholder farmers across the country.
  • To have a basis from which the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (AFF) sector performance can be measured in the non-commercial sector.
  • To enable development of indicators in line with the Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) and National Development Plan (NDP). These indicators will help in identifying progress in achieving government outcomes.
  • To accurately identify smallholder farmers in terms of their geographic distribution and agricultural activities.To establish an up-to-date frame of reference for conducting agricultural sector surveys in the country.
  • To track the impact of agricultural support amongst beneficiaries in agriculture and development of strategies to help producers overcome the challenges related to natural and unnatural disasters. 
  • To account for beneficiaries in agriculture who are entitled to support services. 
Your company now has the opportunity to make available any database(s) on smallholder producers/farmers that have been supported by your organisation for inclusion in the Producer/Farmer Register. DAFF ensures all contributors that it will comply with the Protection of Personal Information. Please click here for a letter signed by the Director General of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) on the protection of personal information during database submissions and data collection. 
Submissions can be made directly to Rona Beukes of the DAFF Directorate: Statistics and Economic Analysis at RonaB@daff.gov.za  before 15 March 2019.
Senwes extends 'For the Farmers' campaign

On 1 February 2019 Senwes answered AgriSA's call to "braai the farmers' problems away" by initiating a social media call to action which saw Senwes staff hosting braais on company premises. Senwes Group CE, Francois Strydom issued a challenge to all South African companies to follow suit. The campaign was extremely successful with a reach of over 200 000 on social media and various media interviews, and lots of positive feedback from the industry. The success of the campaign has led to Senwes extending the action to focus on all locally produced commodities in an effort to galvanise support for farmers by all South Africans. Media release
First Bi-annual International Soy for Human Health Conference 2019
11-13 March 2019 | St George Hotel | Pretoria

CGA Citrus Summit   
1 2-14 March 2019 | Boardwalk Hotel | Port Elizabeth

SAFA Cattlemen's Conference
14 March 2019 

GTR Africa 2019
14-15 March 2019 | Cape Town International Convention Centre  |  Cape Town

Landbouweekblad conferences on regenerative agriculture
Theme: Let nature earn you money
11-12 March 2019  | VKB Showgrounds  | Reitz  | Free State
13-14 March 2019  Ottosdal Showgrounds  | Ottosdal  | North West
19 March 2019 | Morgensrust | 60 Owl Street, Joostenbergvlakte

NWU Precision Conference
4 April 2019 | North-West University  | Potchefstroom Campus

Sustainable Agriculture Summit Africa 2019
11-14 April 2019  | Mövenpick Hotel and Residences | Nairobi | Kenya

Global Cherry Summit 2019
25 April 2019  | Monticello Conference Center | San Francisco de Mostazal, Chile

Ensminger Pig Symposium
22-23 May 2019 | Kopanong Hotel and Conference Centre | Benoni

SA Large Herds Conference
3-5 June 2019  The Boardwalk  Port Elizabeth

2019 Cannabis Conference
Theme: The big business of cannabis
27-28 June 2019 | Emperors Palace Convention Centre Johannesburg
More information

13th Agribusiness Africa Conference 
10 July 2019 Premier Hotel | OR Tambo Airport
More information

PMA Fresh Connections: SA Conference and Trade Show  
30-31 July 2019 | Century City | Cape Town

Agbiz Grain 2019 Symposium 
14 August 2019  |  CSIR International Convention Centre | Pretoria

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