During the lockdown the Agbiz office will be closed,  but all staff members are operating remotely and will be conducting their roles as normal from home offices.
10 July 2020
Business for South Africa (B4SA) releases Economic Recovery Strategy 

B4SA, an initiative by BUSA, BBC and PPGI to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown measures, has developed a comprehensive and cohesive Economic Recovery Strategy (ERS) for South Africa. The strategy not only addresses the fundamental structural reforms that are necessary to rebuild the economy, but also provides deep dives into the key sectors of the economy, including the agriculture, agro-processing and retail value chain. The overarching strategy and sector plans will be critical both for input into the Mid Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) of National Treasury (Government) due in October 2020, and for the development of sectoral Master Plans where applicable. Please  click here to download and peruse these most interesting and applicable documents. 
Agbiz meets with SAPIA on diesel availability
The lack of diesel availability has been a major constraint to the broader agriculture and agribusiness sector over the past couple of weeks, especially as the country moved from alert level 5 to alert levels 4 and 3 during the lockdown period and economic activity returned. This has delayed the maize-harvesting process, the delivery of maize to silos and mills, and distribution of maize meal to retail stores. The trucking of especially export citrus and other fruit to the various ports has also been hampered by insufficient diesel supply. Over the past month, Agbiz together with other partners, has been meeting every Wednesday with the South African Petroleum Industry Association (SAPIA) to monitor the situation and to prioritise the supply of the limited diesel supplies to the agriculture/agribusiness industry.
A number of factors have led to the diesel supply problem, ranging from the closing down of practically all the refineries during the initial lockdown period, to theft and vandalism on the major and subsidiary fuel pipelines causing shutdowns, and congestion (3-5 day delays) in Durban Port in trying to truck the limited diesel supplies to the interior of South Africa, amongst others. According to reports from our members, as well as SAPIA feedback this past Wednesday, diesel supplies and availability are now improving considerably, especially at wholesale level. Shortages will however still be experienced primarily at retail level as companies battle to catch up on the backlog created. The truck driver strike of this week has further exacerbated the distribution problem of diesel to many retail points. SAPIA is doing its best to address the situation, but it may still be a few weeks before we have a totally normalised situation. Agbiz will continue to monitor the situation, engage SAPIA, and keep our members informed.
SA has to reduce the deficit - and that is what the budget does
A group of economists has written an open letter to the president and MPs asking them to reject the supplementary budget tabled by the finance minister on June 24. Yet failure to support the budget will make our fight against Covid-19 harder, prolong the recession and delay SA's economic recovery. The economists' open letter argues for two main changes in the budget. The first is a call for even more spending (and more borrowing) and the second is for the outer years of the budget to be changed because the proposed path of deficit reduction is too steep. Read more in the linked article by Kuben Naidoo, first published on
La Niña expected through Southern Hemisphere spring and summer 

In the  El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) Diagnostic Discussion released by the Climate Prediction Centre/NCEP/NWS and the International Research Institute for Climate and Society on 9 July 2020, the ENSO Alert System Status has been updated to La Niña Watch. ENSO-neutral is favoured to continue through the Southern Hemisphere winter, with a 50-55% chance of La Niña development during Southern Hemisphere spring of 2020 and continuing through summer of 2020-21 (~50% chance). Please click on ENSO Discussion July 2020 to peruse full statement.
Fair weather makes agriculture a hive of activity

Despite ongoing challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic, South Africa's recent agricultural economic data have reaffirmed our view that this will be a recovery year for the sector after two consecutive years of declining fortunes. Data released last week showed that gross value added (GVA) in agriculture expanded 27.8% quarter on quarter on a seasonally adjusted and annualised basis. Primary agricultural employment rose 3% from the corresponding period last year to 
865 000  (albeit down, marginally, 2% quarter on quarter). Agbiz chief economist Wandile Sihlobo discusses the data in the linked article , written for and first published in Business Day.
East Africa is battling another plague: its worst locust invasion in 70 years

The locusts which emerged in East Africa towards the end of last year remain a serious challenge for the agricultural sector.  This is specifically the case in Kenya, Ethiopia, Sudan, South Sudan, Eritrea, Djibouti and Somalia, according to reports from the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Over half a million hectares across these countries have been affected by locusts, and thus destroying crops and pastures. Hence, it is unsurprising that there are rising fears of potential food shortage if the spread of the locusts is not controlled. Wandile Sihlobo discusses East Africa's battle with the spread of locusts in the linked article, written for and first published on Fin 24.
Here's how global supply chains will change after Covid-19
The Covid-19 pandemic has hit global trade and investment at an unprecedented speed and scale. Multinational companies faced an initial supply shock, then a demand shock as more and more countries ordered people to stay at home. Governments, businesses and individual consumers suddenly struggled to procure basic products and materials, and were forced to confront the fragility of the modern supply chain. The urgent need to design smarter, stronger and more diverse supply chains has been one of the main lessons of this crisis. In the linked World Economic Forum (WEF) article, the authors explore how diverse sourcing and digitisation will be the key to building stronger, smarter supply chains and ensuring a lasting recovery.
Distance, dose, dispersion: Experts' guide on Covid-19 risks in South Africa and how to manage them
Our lives have been turned upside down by the coronavirus pandemic and by the lockdown, and further confused by shifting information. You might be wondering about the role of masks, whether to wipe down your groceries, and if the lifting of lockdown means we can all relax now. You might have concerns about how you can safely travel to work, what steps to take as you reopen your business, whether to attend a religious gathering, or what to tell your grandmother about how to stay safe. An article, produced by an interdisciplinary group of academics working on Covid-19 and responses to it, discusses the three things that can make the most difference to easing the lockdown and reopening South Africa with the least risk. Please click here to peruse.
Finding transformative pathways in turbulent times
This year marks the start of the Decade of Action to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. It is a critical period to advance a shared vision and accelerate responses to the world's gravest challenges - from eliminating poverty and hunger to reversing climate change. Yet, in only a brief period of time, the precipitous spread of the novel coronavirus turned a public health emergency into one of the worst international crises of our lifetimes, changing the world as we know it. The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2020 presents an overview of progress towards the SDGs before the pandemic started, but it also looks at some of the devastating initial impacts of Covid-19 on specific goals and targets. The report was prepared by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs in collaboration with over 200 experts from more than 40 international agencies, using the latest available data and estimates.
Facing the jobs crisis

The Covid-19 pandemic has triggered one of the worst jobs crises since the Great Depression. There is a real danger that the crisis will increase poverty and widen inequalities, with the impact felt for years to come. Countries now need to do everything they can to stop this jobs crisis from turning into a social crisis. Reconstructing a better and more resilient labour market is an essential investment in the future and in future generations. Please click OECD Employment Outlook 2020 to peruse.
Teleworking is not working for the poor, the young, and the women

The Covid-19 pandemic is devastating labor markets across the world. Tens of millions of workers lost their jobs, millions more out of the labor force altogether, and many occupations face an uncertain future. Social distancing measures threaten jobs requiring physical presence at the workplace or face-to-face interactions. Those unable to work remotely, unless deemed essential, face a significantly higher risk of reductions in hours or pay, temporary furloughs, or permanent layoffs. What types of jobs and workers are most at risk? Not surprisingly, the costs have fallen most heavily on those who are least able to bear them: the poor and the young in the lowest-paid jobs.  An IMF paper investigates the feasibility to work from home in a large sample of advanced and emerging market economies. Please click on the linked IMF blogpost to peruse.
Zimbabwe's evicted white farmers offered $3.5 billion payout

Zimbabwe's white commercial farmers, who were violently evicted from their land in a series of invasions that began two decades ago, said they have been offered $3.5 billion to settle their dispute with the government.  The offer is for improvements and assets on the more than 4 000 farms that were seized and doesn't pertain to the land itself, said Ben Gilpin, director of the Commercial Farmers Union. An agreement is yet to be reached. The CFU represented most large-scale farmers in the southern African nation. Please click here to read more.
Kenya uses app in battle against desert locusts

In Kenya, a team of locust scouts trained by local aid group ACTED, with the help of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and Turkana County regional government, spot and report locust sightings using a new application, E-Locust.  The information the team collects is sent in real-time to a database in Lodwar, Turkana's main town, which is then used by another team deployed to spray the insects with pesticides to prevent swarm formation. Read more in the linked Reuters article.
Adapting to change: South Africa's fresh produce markets
This week's PMA Talks: South Africa explored how fresh produce markets and associated businesses are adjusting its strategies to adapt to the changing market dynamics across the country. Jaco Oosthuizen CEO of RSA Group and Hendrik Eksteen CEO of Grow Fresh Produce Agents shared their experiences and insights.
Covid-19 did not come with a manual, nor with references on how to run a business during the pandemic. The announcement of the national lockdown urged players along the entire fresh produce supply chain to rethink the way they conduct business in order to ensure ongoing access to fresh fruit and vegetables. Please click the PMA media statement to peruse.
Tune in to RSG Landbou 

The Western Cape Department of Agriculture produces two weekly radio programmes for RSG 100 - 104fm. Tune in to listen to RSG Landbou on Friday mornings at 04:45 and Saturday mornings at 11:45. In Saturday's programme, Agbiz CEO Dr John Purchase explains how the Agbiz initiative, the Agri Value Chain Relief Project with organised agriculture and other role players in the agricultural value chain, provides food relief to vulnerable communities. If you've missed the live broadcasts, be sure to listen to it here.
 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.

Agricultural Law Section of the International Bar Association Webinar

The Agricultural Law Section of the International Bar Association, of which Agbiz is a part, will be hosting a free webinar on 14 July on the impact of Covid-19 lockdowns on agricultural trade. The webinar draws together international legal experts who will share their views as panellists. It provides a unique opportunity to discuss current legal issues in agriculture, find solutions to current problems, form the ability to defend rights in the agricultural business, and, of course, share experiences.  We will look at various research and analysis of the impact of the Covid-19 blockade on international agricultural trade all over the world.  Register now for free.
Constraints to growing agriculture

Session 11 of the Agricultural Value Chain Virtual Discussion Series is available. This two part session looks at the constraints to growing agriculture and broadening the inclusion of youth and women in the sector. Part one addresses structural constraints to South Africa's agricultural growth and transformation.   The virtual discussion se ries platform went live on 24 April 2020.  This platform will continue to be open to anyone who would like to join the virtual discussions.  Please follow  the link to register and to access the platform for more information on the topics and panelists. Eleven sessions are ready to view . Registered participants will be alerted by SMS when a new session becomes available. 
2020 AgriAllAfrica Agribusiness Conference and Exhibition
Theme: "Pioneering new agri horizons"
5 - 6 August 2020 | Diamond Hall, CSIR | Pretoria
Enquiries: Marianna.duplessis@gmail.com | +27 063 076 9135

PMA Fresh Connections: Southern Africa Conference and Trade Show
18-20 August 2020  | Virtual event

MPO Annual National Congress, cheese-making course and AGMs
4 November  2020 | Lythwood Lodge | Lidgetton | KZN Midlands
Contact Julie McLachlan: julie@mpo.co.za or 083 740 2720

3rd African Symposium on Mycotoxicology joint MYTOXSOUTH conference 
6-9 September 2020 | Stellenbosch

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
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.

                                      Like us on Facebook            Follow us on Twitter            View our profile on LinkedIn                                    
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.
In this newsletter