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.
12 June 2020
Covid-19 to plunge global economy into worst recession since World War II

The swift and massive shock of the coronavirus pandemic and shutdown measures to contain it have plunged the global economy into a severe contraction. According to World Bank forecasts, the global economy will shrink by 5.2% this year. That would represent the deepest recession since the Second World War, with the largest fraction of economies experiencing declines in per capita output since 1870, the World Bank says in its June 2020 Global Economic Prospects. Read more in the linked  World Bank media statement.
The world economy on a tightrope 

The Covid-19 pandemic is a global health crisis without precedent in living memory. It has triggered the most severe economic recession in nearly a century and is causing enormous damage to people's health, jobs and wellbeing. The June 2020 OECD Economic Outlook  focuses on two equally probable scenarios - one in which a second wave of infections, with renewed lockdowns, hits before the end of 2020, and one in which another major outbreak is avoided.
Eskom says there is progress in the five key elements of its turnaround plan

Eskom has provided details of the company's operational performance and the system outlook for the winter period during the status of the power system briefing on 21 May 2020. Eskom group chief executive, AndrĂ© de Ruyter revealed that despite facing major challenges in the past four months, Eskom has seen good progress in the five key elements of the organisation's turnaround plan. These are achieving operational stability, improving income statements, strengthening the balance sheet, embarking on organisational restructuring, and inculcating a high performance culture. Please click here to access De Ruyter's presentation on Eskom's key strategic priorities. Eskom chief operating officer, Jan Oberholzer indicated that by the second week of April 2020, maintenance increased by about 63% from 3 600MW, prior to the national lockdown, to 9 800MW. Meanwhile, 6 776MW capacity is currently being maintained against a pre-lockdown plan of 4 200MW. Please click here for the presentation on the status of the system.
The impact of Covid-19 on agriculture

Nedbank hosted a live agriculture webinar on 4 June with the theme "Analysing the impact of Covid-19 on agriculture." Prof. Ferdi Meyer, managing director of BFAP, talked about the impact of Covid-19 on agriculture and Agbiz CEO Dr John Purchase's talk covered observations and learnings from Covid-19 and the way forward for South African agriculture. Please click here to register in order to view the webinar.
Seminar shares insights into new competition regulations

Early in 2020, the new regulations promulgated under the Competition Act came into operation to prohibit dominant players in a listed industry from discriminating towards SMMEs and HDI owned companies by imposing unfair prices or trading conditions. At a recent e-seminar hosted by the University of Johannesburg, industry experts and the regulator shared some insights into the new regulations and associated enforcement guidelines. In the linked article, Agbiz head of Legal Intelligence Theo Boshoff shares the takeaway messages from the seminar.
SA and Zambia able to replace global producers' maize exports to neighbours

Some countries in the Southern and East Africa regions will again need large imports of maize in the 2020/2021 marketing year, which ends in April 2021. However, their saviours won't be your typical major global producers such as Ukraine, the US or Brazil. Rather it is most likely to be South Africa and Zambia waiting in the wings. Agbiz chief economist Wandile Sihlobo explores this subject in the linked article, written for and first published in Business Day.
SA agricultural machinery sales up notably in May 2020

South Africa's agriculture and allied industries have thus far not been as hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic as other sectors of the economy. The case in point is the tractor and combine harvester sales, which were up 19% and 15%, respectively, year on year in May 2020, with 432 units and 31 units sold. Primarily, the classification of the agricultural sector and its value chains to operate during the lockdown period as part of essential services was a key catalyst to sustaining the sales last month. By comparison, the automobile industry, which has been affected by lockdown regulations amid the pandemic saw new vehicle sales decline by 68% y/y in May 2020 (which was under level-4 lockdown regulations) following a sharp 98% y/y contraction in April when there were strict level-5 lockdown regulations. Wandile Sihlobo discusses the latest data in the linked article.
Strengthening economic institutions for a resilient recovery 
Exceptional times call for exceptional action. In response to Covid-19, the IMF has moved with unprecedented speed and magnitude of financial assistance to help countries protect lives and livelihoods. Economic stabilisation and a sustainable recovery, however, will require more than financial assistance. For recovery to be sustainable, policymakers will need to strengthen economic institutions that enable resilient, inclusive policies. The linked IMF blog explores the measures to achieve long-term effects on the economic and social well-being of people.
Keep ships moving, ports open and trade flowing, urge UN entities
The world's reliance on maritime transport makes it more important than ever to keep ships moving, ports open and cross-border trade flowing, and to support ship crew changeovers, the United Nations maritime and trade bodies said in a joint statement published on 9 June. The United Nations Conference on Trade and  Development ( UNCTAD) and the International Maritime Organization (IMO) reiterated calls for governments to promote crew well-being by allowing crew changes and ensuring seafarers and other maritime personnel have access to documentation and travel options so they can return home safely. Read more in the linked UNCTAD article.
Coronavirus spreads among fruit and vegetable packers, worrying US officials

From apple packing houses in Washington state to farmworkers in Florida and a California county known as "the world's salad bowl," outbreaks of the novel coronavirus are emerging at US fruit and vegetable farms and packing plants. According to the linked Reuters article, a  rising number of sick farm and packing house workers comes after thousands of meat plant employees contracted the virus and could lead to more labour shortages and a fresh wave of disruption to US food production.  The Trump administration said last month it may extend an executive order to keep meat plants operating to fruit and vegetable producers as well, a sign it is concerned fresh produce could be the next sector hit.
Who will save the fruit market in the post-pandemic era?
After months of decisive measures enacted by authorities, the Covid-19 epidemic in China has finally been brought under control. Although production is more or less returning to its normal pace, overall market demand is still taking some time to recover. Starting at the end of last year, China's fruit market went through a four-month "static period" during which market demand plummeted. After several golden years for fruit importers and distributors, this came as an unexpected shock. Read more in the linked article, published by Freshfel, the European Fresh Produce Association.
South Africans encouraged to use Covid-19 digital health assessment tool
The National Department of Health (NDoH) recently launched HealthCheck, an innovative digital health assessment tool which allows for early detection, mapping and management of Covid-19 cases using USSD and the official Covid-19 WhatsApp service. The innovation comes at a crucial moment in the South African government's Covid-19 response, when certain aspects of the country's lockdown are being relaxed and more responsibility is being placed on individuals to ensure their own health when engaging in outdoor activities and other areas of public life.   Members of the public are able to use HealthCheck to self-assess their Covid-19 risk by completing a few simple questions.   Based on their answers and their symptoms or exposure history, they would be classified as low, moderate or high risk and suggested actions or guidelines will then be recommended based on this classification. To access HealthCheck, dial *134*832#. Follow the menu instructions and answer a series of short questions.
South Africa needs a new future vision with a strong focus on economic growth
" We must look beyond the underlying economic problems faced by South Africa for the opportunities generated by a growing urbanised population."  Prof. Philippe Burger, pro-vice-chancellor for poverty, inequality and economic development at the University of the Free States calls this vision, the 'future South Africa vision'; a vision where economic growth is high, inclusive, green, investment-driven and urban-focused.  Participating in PMA Southern Africa's fourth PMA Talks this week, Prof. Burger said South Africa was already in an economic recession before the Covid-19 pandemic. Read more in the linked PMA media statement.
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.
Get the latest news from the FPEF

Keeping it Fresh, the newsletter of the Fresh Produce Exporters' Forum, contains all the recent relevant news and developments. 
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. 
Virtual discussion focuses on goodwill

Session 8 of the Agri Value Chain Virtual Discussion Series takes a closer look at various projects in the country that strive to curb the surge of hunger and desperation experienced in poor communities where the devastating effects of the lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic is increasingly evident.  Senwes, in collaboration with the Agricultural Business Chamber (Agbiz), hosted a virtual discussion series on the agricultural value chain.  The virtual discussion series 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. Eight sessions are ready to view . Registered participants will be alerted by SMS when a new session becomes available. 
17-19  June 2020 | Cape Town International Convention Centre  | Cape Town

MPO webinar on the sensory evaluation of cheeses
24 June @ 10:00-12:00.
More information: Julie on 083 740 2720 or julie@mpo.co.za.

Climate Smart Agriculture & International Trade Opportunities for South Africa
1-2 July 2020 | Zoom workshop
More information: francois.fouche@tradeadvisory.co.za

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
19-20 August 2020  Sun Arena, Time Square, Menlyn Maine, Pretoria

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

Soya Bean for Human Consumption Symposium
17 September 2020  | Pretoria

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.

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