11 October 2019
WEF releases 2019 Global Competitiveness Report 

Agbiz places considerable emphasis on the annual Global Competitiveness Reports by the World Economic Forum (WEF) as competitiveness is an absolutely necessary precursor to growth and prosperity, whether at country level or industry level. As a country we need to identify and address our relative weaknesses as a matter of urgency, but also leverage off those strengths to further enhance our competitiveness. The 2017 WEF Global Competitiveness Report (GCR) ranked South Africa in the 61st position out of 137 countries in terms of the World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Index. The 2018 WEF GCR indicated a drop of six positions in South Africa's world competitiveness ranking to number 67th out of 140 countries, a continuation of a slide that had started a couple of  years earlier. As a result of some positive changes in our political environment and economic dynamics, South Africa's overall global competitiveness ranking improved to 60th out of 141 countries in the 2019 WEF Global Competitiveness Report. Please click on 2019 WEF GCR to peruse.   
Series on agribusiness in Africa: Burundi impression

African countries outside of South Africa remain potential agriculture and agribusiness investment destinations, but doing business in Africa holds many and varied risks and challenges. While there are challenges that are common to all countries, such as infrastructure limitations, each country must be viewed and considered separately due to many challenges and risks, but also opportunities and strengths, being characteristic to a particular country.  Agbiz member Valuechainsolutions, operates in many of these countries and has offered to provide readers of the Agbiz newsletter with their impressions of developments and doing business in certain countries. The second country considered in this series is Burundi. Please click on Impressions of a country: Burundi to peruse. The views are those of the authors, and not necessarily of Agbiz.
October 2019 ENSO update

According to the ENSO Diagnostic Discussion released earlier this week, there's about an 85% chance the tropical Pacific will remain ENSO-neutral through the fall, and a 55-60% chance of continued neutral through the spring in the Northern Hemisphere. The report states that the majority of models continue to favour ENSO-neutral through the Northern Hemisphere spring. Consequently, forecasters believe the recent oceanic warmth reflects sub-seasonal variability and is not indicative of an evolution toward El Niño. However, chances for El Niño remain between approximately 25-30% through the winter and spring.
Climate change post 2020: alignment key to success of the system
The Department of Environmental Affairs, Forestry and Fisheries (DEFF) recently released a discussion document outlining the revised proposals for the regulatory regime to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions in line with South Africa's nationally determined contributions. The framework has four essential components, namely the carbon tax, carbon budgets, greenhouse gas reporting requirement and sectoral emission targets. The proposed arrangement starts with larger emitters with an installed capacity above a prescribed threshold to report their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to DEFF. These same companies will be given a carbon budget by DEFF that outlines the GHG emissions which the company is required to stay within over a five-year period. Failure to do so would be penalised using the carbon tax. In addition, entire sectors of the economy (opposed to companies) are to be given broad targets known as sectoral emission targets (SETS). Agbiz head of Legal Intelligence Theo Boshoff elaborates on this subject in the linked article.
SA youth doesn't like farming because it's not sexy. True or false? 
It has become fashionable in conferences to say "let's make agriculture sexy in order to attract the youth". I get where the sentiment comes from - after all, Africa's farmers are ageing ... the average age is 60. Here in South Africa, that figure is estimated at 62. " But I have two difficulties with supporting this statement," writes Wandile Sihlobo in the linked article, written for and first published on Daily Maverick.
Some winter crop growing areas of the Western Cape are not in good shape
We continue to observe developments in the winter crop growing areas of the Western Cape. There hasn't been any notable rainfall thus far to improve crop growing conditions. The current weather forecasts show that the next two weeks could present more of the same - dryness.  This means that regions such as Overberg, which are already experiencing crop damage might not find a reprieve any time soon. Moreover, regions such as Swartland where the winter crops were still in relatively good shape could also experience losses within the next two weeks if dryness persists.  The Western Cape is a major producer of winter crops, accounting for 61% of area plantings in winter wheat and nearly all canola, which means that prolonged dryness and heat there could have an impact on the national crop size. Wandile Sihlobo discusses the current conditions in the winter crop growing areas in the linked article.
Large global grains supplies will help cushion Southern and East Africa
Although the past few months have been a struggle to secure grain supplies for Southern and East Africa, other parts of the world are in better shape and could help offset the shortfall. No indicator spells this out as clearly as the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations' (FAO) Global Grains Price Index which averaged 158 points in September 2019, down by 4% year-on-year because of large global supplies. The International Grains Council (IGC) forecasts 2019/20 global grains production at 2.2 billion tonnes, which is 1% higher than the previous season. This is boosted by increased wheat and rice production, which have overshadowed the decline in the maize and soybean harvest. Wandile Sihlobo elaborates in the linked article, written for and first published on Daily Maverick.
Applications for Agbiz Centenary Bursary 2020 are now open

In celebration of a number of Agbiz members who celebrated their 100 years existence, an annual Agbiz Centenary Bursary Fund was established. The primary objective of the bursary is to promote master's, or PhD level research in agribusiness related fields and Agbiz certainly is proud to be associated with and supporting the set research of Agbiz Centenary Bursary holders.  The annual bursary of R36 000.00 is available to a South African student registered for a master's or PhD degree in either agricultural economics or agribusiness management related fields, at any recognised South African university. Terms and conditions apply. More information is available here.
New wheat grading regulations implemented

In 2014, the role players of the wheat value chain launched an initiative to revive the wheat industry. It was a collective decision of the grain industry to come together and discuss action plans to revive the wheat industry. The result was a proposal containing numerous suggestions to reinvigorate the industry. Suggestions to revive the wheat industry, including proposed changes to the wheat grading regulations, were discussed for the first time at a meeting of the Wheat Forum working group for trading on 15 October, 2014. Mariana Purnell, general manager of Agbiz Grain discusses the subject in the linked article.
How to reignite growth in emerging markets and developing economies 

Emerging markets and developing economies have enjoyed good growth over the past two decades. But many countries are still not catching up with the living standards of advanced economies. At current growth rates, it would take more than 50 years for a typical emerging market economy to close half of its current income gap in living standards, and 90 years for a typical developing economy. Please click IMFBlog  to peruse.
AFMA's De Wet Boshoff re-elected to IFIF board of directors

The International Feed Industry Federation (IFIF) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) held their 18th annual meeting at FAO headquarters on 3 and 4 October 2019 to further strengthen their collaboration on critical issues to ensure safe, nutritious and sustainable feed and food.  IFIF delegates representing over 80% of global compound feed production attended the meeting in Rome, Italy.  During the IFIF 32nd Annual General Assembly delegates unanimously re-elected De Wet Boshoff, executive director of the Animal Feed Manufacturers Association (AFMA) in South Africa, to the IFIF board of directors for the 2020-2021 term.  Please click  IFIF media release for more information.
CGT launches updated What's Fresh career app

The Center for Growing Talent by the Produce Marketing Association (PMA) (CGT) launched a career app called What's Fresh. It is designed to attract learners, students and young graduates to the fresh produce industry, by giving them access to contact details of all the PMA members in South Africa as potential employers. "Once students enter the job market, they could find themselves lost in an unknown territory, as they often have very little knowledge of who are the potential employers in the industry - especially in such a diverse industry that includes various product categories, value chains, services and end users. The What's Fresh app provides an overview of the industry through descriptions of a range of employers, along with contact details for students to follow through on," said Lindie Stroebel, general manager of PMA in Southern Africa. A fun feature on this app is a reflex game where players can compete against themselves and others in catching fruits falling from the sky, earning points for all the fruits they caught. Media release
Farmers should approach the season with caution

Weather ex_2
Drought conditions persist in some parts of the country; and water restrictions remain in place in several provinces, according to the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development's climate advisory for the 2019/20 season. The majority of the country reported reasonable to poor veld and livestock conditions. The average level of major dams has increased in the Western Cape but decreased in other provinces. 
2019 AFMA Symposium focuses on how to choose the right animal feed additives

Feed additives play an increasingly important role in animal nutrition as farmers search for new ways to improve the performance and health of their animals. Globally there are hundreds of feed additives to choose from. Yet, it is critical to make informed decisions about what to add in your feed formulation for specific outcomes. The 2019 AFMA Symposium taking place on 29 October 2019 at the CSIR International Convention Centre in Pretoria will bring together nutritionists, veterinarians, feed formulators and feed manufacturers to examine key considerations in choosing the right animal feed additives based on scientific principles. Media release
Report from the IEA Secretariat

The International Energy Agency (IEA) Secretariat report provides an overview of recent developments within the network and the IEA Secretariat that are of interest to all Technology Collaboration Programmes (TCPs). This report is designed to complement the information provided related to IEA analysis and projects (current and planned) of relevance to individual TCPs. Please click here  to peruse.
The latest news from Vinpro

In this month's newsletter, Vinpro shares news about new initiatives and opportunities in the wine industry. One of Vinpro's major partners in technology transfer, Winetech, coincidentally celebrated their 20th anniversary this month and presented a successful Winetech Pitching Den with the SA Innovation Summit to give innovation in the industry further momentum. Please click here  to peruse.
Agbiz Information Days - register before 31 October!

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.
Vehicle Telematics and Intelligent Mobility Conference
17-18 October 2019 | Emperors Palace Convention Centre | Kempton Park

2019 AFMA Symposium
29 October 2019  | CSIR International Convention Centre | Pretoria

4.0 Industrial Revolution Agri Tech Conference 2019
28-29 November 2019  | The Lanzerac | Stellenbosch
More information
Africa Agri Tech South Africa
18-20 February 2020  | Time Square | Menlyn Maine | Pretoria

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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