1 November 2019
Goverrnment's plans to reform Eskom

Earlier this week, Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan released a special paper on Eskom setting out in detail a comprehensive roadmap for Eskom in a reformed electricity supply industry. The release of the paper has been eagerly awaited by investors and ratings agencies who have cited the financial and operational crisis at the power utility as one the biggest threats to South Africa's economy. Roadmap for Eskom in a reformed electricity supply industry sets out government's plans to reform the struggling state-owned entity. Please click special paper on Eskom and Minister Gordhan's presentation to peruse.
Agbiz comments on the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement  

This year's Medium Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) sees a marked deterioration in the budget deficit which is now at 6.2% of GDP from 4.7% in the February budget speech, which is far worse than expected. The key problem has largely been the lack of economic growth as well as mismanagement of Eskom finances. South Africa's economy is now projected to grow by sub-1% this year and improve marginally to 1.2% in 2020. The efficient collection of tax remains a challenge but we trust this will change with the appointment of a new SARS Commissioner who is focused on rebuilding the institution.  This gloomy picture reminds us of the urgent need to implement economic reforms in South Africa, underpinned by policy reforms that will attract investment and cap fruitless state expenditure. Failure to do so presents the risk of falling into a "debt trap" which requires the bulk of our income to be spent on debt repayments, thereby crippling our ability to invest in social infrastructure and growth enablers. "The key question now is how the rating agencies will receive this budget and the implications thereafter on the review of South Africa's sovereign rating. We might know soon about Moody's review which is due on Friday, 01 November 2019", noted Agbiz CEO Dr John Purchase. Please click Agbiz press release to peruse.
Russia-Africa Summit brings positive news for South Africa's agriculture

The first Russia-Africa summit held last week concluded with an announcement that urged all participants to increase co-operation in security, science, environmental protection, trade and economic matters.  On the last point, the declaration highlights that participants should "make efforts to substantially expand the trade between the Russian Federation and the African states and diversify it, including by increasing the share of agricultural products in import and export operations". Please click on the linked article, written for and first published on Daily Maverick, for Wandile Sihlobo's insights
Forecasts give drought cloud a silver lining
When you fly over South Africa at this time of year it is noticeable how brown the cultivated fields are, especially in the central and eastern regions of the country. This typically reflects planting before the new summer crop season, but this year it is not because of farmers tilling the land but due to persistent dryness. Most farmers have not started planting for the 2019/2020 production season due to the lack of rain. In provinces such as the Eastern Cape, Northern Cape and Limpopo, drought is not solely a challenge for agriculture but also for households, many of which are struggling for water supplies. Agbiz chief economist Wandile Sihlobo discusses this subject in the linked article, written for and first published in Business Day.
SA agriculture jobs up marginally in Q3, 2019
Youth Unemployment
The Quarterly Labour Force Survey data for the third quarter of 2019 show that South Africa's primary agricultural employment jumped by 4.5% y/y from the corresponding period last year to 880 000. This came as a surprise as the third quarter of each year is usually a quiet period on farms in most parts of the country. These jobs gains were mainly in the livestock, horticulture, field crops, as well as aquaculture subsector. We suspect that this could have largely been underpinned by the replanting in parts of the horticulture fields following a drought season that caused damage in the fields in provinces such as the Western and Eastern Cape. Other provinces that showed job gains are KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng and Mpumalanga. Meanwhile, the Northern Cape, Free State, North West and Limpopo saw a reduction in agricultural employment. Wandile Sihlobo provides insights in the linked article.
Progress with occupational qualification for the grain storage industry

Back: Rowen Paul (QCTO), Erick Duvenhage (AFGRI), Johan van Rensburg (VKB), Leon Putter (TWK) and Mzamo Myataza (QCTO).
Front: Minah Matloa (AgriSeta), Lizelle Jacobs (Dot Competent), Diane Kemp (QCTO) and Lucas Mahlangu (AFGRI).

Agbiz Grain, in conjunction with AgriSeta and the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO) held a workshop from the 23 to the 25 October 2019 during which the External Integrated Summative Assessment (EISA) for the Grain Depot Manager Occupational Qualification was developed.  The session was facilitated by Diane Kemp, QCTO: Director for Assessment, and was attended by members of the Community of Expert Practitioners (CEP) and AgriSeta. The CEP was appointed by the grain-handling industry (facilitated by Agbiz Grain) and consists of subject matter experts in grain handling and storage. The EISA is a single national assessment leading to the awarding of an occupational certificate. The EISA ensures that the assessment of the Grain Depot Manager Occupational Qualification is standardised, consistent and credible.  This is a first for the grain industry and all stakeholders are excited about the standardisation of training and the resulting impact on quality of knowledge and skills for the industry. As Ms Kemp rightly said during her introductory speech:  "Welcome to this momentous occasion. You are part of history in the making."  The CEP compiled a Blueprint External Assessment and is currently in the process of designing an Exemplar as well as an item bank from which sample assessments can be used by the examiner for the EISA. They will also formulate the criteria for the registration of Assessment Centres and Workplaces.
New home for Chemuniqué

On 28 October, Chemuniqué officially opened their new facilities in the Lanseria Corporate Estate. The media was invited to an exclusive pre-event where they had some one-on-one time with the team leads, followed by a tour of the new laboratory facilities. The professional teams of architects and subcontractors worked together to produce a building representative of and inspired by Chemuniqué's culture and ethos, and a strong relationship was formed between these teams and the Chemuniqué team throughout the building process, says Terry Wiggill, managing director of Chemuniqué. The formal proceedings included presentations and wishes from congratulations from across the world. Agbiz chief economist Wandile Sihlobo had the honour to officially open the building. Press release
Leading maggot farmer to expand from Cape Town to California

The company behind the world's first industrial-scale maggot farm based on organic waste plans to kick off its international expansion with a plant in California next year, taking advantage of two global problems: a shortage of protein and an abundance of trash. The plant in Jurupa Valley will be followed by operations in the Netherlands and Belgium, and is part of a drive by AgriProtein and a handful of competitors worldwide to tap into the demand for high-grade protein for fish and poultry feed and offer a solution for the unwanted organic waste that cities and farms produce. Please click here to read more in a Bloomberg article.
Bayer says it remains committed to Roundup

Liam Condon, president of the Crop Science Division of Bayer, told participants at its 2019 Future of Farming Dialogue the company is committed to marketing Roundup. At the same time, he says, Bayer plans to reduce the environmental impact of crop protection products globally by 30% by developing new technologies for farmers' use."It's the safest product (herbicide) out there, and so we've got to make sure that it remains available. And I would say, thankfully, every regulator in the world sees it similarly," he adds.  Read more in the linked article, first published on Farm Journal's Agpro.
Flour can now be celebrated officially on 20 March

The National Day Calendar has officially appointed and certified 20 March as World Flour Day. The day falls in the middle of the solstice, which varies between 19 and 21 March. In the northern hemisphere it marks the beginning of spring and planting while in the southern hemisphere, it represents autumn and harvesting.
"At last we have one day in the year that reminds us to appreciate our daily flour - the white gold of life," said Carsten Blum of FlourWorld Museum, which initiated the creation of the day. Millers, bakers, confectioners and pasta manufacturers will use this day to draw attention to the significance and diversity of flour products with their creative activities. With the new World Flour Day, the FlourWorld Museum draws attention to the civilizing power flour has always had. Products made from flour are the daily food of billions of people. All over the world, flour is made into foods like bread, biscuits, cake, pasta and many other goods. It is one of mankind's most important staple foods and has been for thousands of years. "Flour has secured man's survival for thousands of years," said Volkmar Wywiol, founder of the FlourWorld Museum. Established in Wittenburg, Germany, in 2008, the museum houses the world's biggest collection of flour sacks. The motifs on the 3 500 or more sacks from 140 countries testify to the pride of the millers. They tell surprising, moving and sometimes incredible stories of what corn, flour and bread mean to people all over the world. Moreover, flour is a historical power factor of the highest order. In a cultural and historical tour, the FlourWorld Museum illuminates the effects flour had on mankind between the Neolithic and the Industrial Revolution and will continue to have in future.
News from FPEF

The latest edition of the Fresh Produce Exporters' Forum's (FPEF) newsletter, Keeping it Fresh, shares some of the recent relevant news and developments in a summarised format. Please click here to peruse.
Get the latest news from SAPPO

For the latest news from the South African Pork Producers' Organisation, please click SAPPO Weekly Update to peruse.
Last day to register for Agbiz information days

Agbiz will once again be hosting information days in Pretoria and Paarl during  November to inform role players and stakeholders of the current challenges in  the policy and legislative environment, as well as highlight developments and opportunities in the  agribusiness sector.  Prof. Ferdi Meyer, director of the Bureau for Agricultural Policy (BFAP), and  Theo Venter, political and policy specialist and lecturer at the NWU Business School, will be guest speakers. 

PLEASE NOTE - The Agbiz Information Day, scheduled to be hosted in Klerksdorp on 1 November, has been postponed to early 2020. 

Agbiz Congress 2020 registration now open

It is our pleasure to inform you that the Agbiz Congress 2020 will be held at Sun City in North West from 15 to 17 July 2020.  Held every second year, the Agbiz Congress 2020 is one of the major events on the food, feed, fibre and wine sectors' agenda in South Africa. We anticipate attracting more than 400 delegates to the 2020 congress, which will feature presentations and discussion panels from local and international speakers, as well as a student case competition and various networking opportunities.

Themed "Building resilient and sustainable agri-food ecosystems", the congress will provide the key forum for identifying the critical developments needed over the coming decades to ensure agri-food value chains are managed sustainably for the benefit of current and future generations. New practices, methods and technologies are required to build robust and inclusive value chains, and thus sustainable agri-food networks and food security.

Don't miss out on this exciting opportunity to engage in these critical discussions, and showcase and promote your business on the agribusiness stage. We are looking forward to seeing you at the Agbiz Congress 2020 from 15 to 17 July 2020 at Sun City!

Please click here for more information and to register.
Workshops on AARTO legislation

The AARTO legislation has remained in the news over the last few weeks, and everyone is awaiting the implementation of the legislation. The  Road Traffic Infringement Authority (RTIA)  indicated that the Regulations, in terms of the AARTO  Act, as it is amended by Act 4 of 2019, will be published by the end of September 2019. AARTO w orkshops are scheduled for middle October 2019 onwards.
Landbouweekblad and PALS' land symposium
14-15 November 2019 | Kaleo Guest Farm | Koue Bokkeveld
Enquiries: jacolette.kloppers@landbou.com

6th Annual ReNAPRI Stakeholder Conference
20-21 November 2019  | Protea Hotel by Marriot Kampala Skyz | Kampala, Uganda

4.0 Industrial Revolution Agri Tech Conference 2019
28-29 November 2019  | The Lanzerac | Stellenbosch
More information

Nedbank Vinpro Information Day
Theme: "Touch and change"
23 January 2020 | KIKS | Cape Town

Africa Agri Tech South Africa
18-20 February 2020  | Time Square | Menlyn Maine | Pretoria
More information

AFMA Forum 2020
Theme: "Explore today for a better tomorrow"
3-5 March 2020 | Sun City | South Africa

Skills Development Summit & Achiever Awards 
4-5 March 2020 | CSIR Convention Centre | Pretoria
Contact  Gordon Campbell: gordon.campbell@skillssummit.co.za

Agritech Africa
17-19  June 2020 | Cape Town International Convention Centre  | Cape Town

Agbiz Congress 2020
Theme: "Building resilient and sustainable agri-food ecosystems".
15 - 17 July 2020 | Sun City Convention Centre | South Africa
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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