13 July 2018

We typically use the Agbiz/IDC Agribusiness Confidence Index to gauge the health of the South African agricultural sector, as well as the potential investment path. Of late, a number of commentaries have surfaced arguing that the discussions about the proposed expropriation without compensation have not negatively affected investment in the agricultural sectors, suggesting that investment has actually increased over time. Agbiz CEO Dr John Purchase and Agbiz Head: Agribusiness Research Wandile Sihlobo provide more insight in the linked article.
So recently I'm having lunch at the International Food and Agribusiness Management Association's (IFAMA) Conference in Buenos Aires and I'm joined by the Director of Agricultural Business Administration at the Peru University of Applied Sciences, Dr Raul Injoque. We start talking about the 'big issues' in our respective countries, and the conversation quickly leads to expropriation without compensation (EWC). "Ah", he says, "Peru has learnt a lot of hard lessons on land reform that we can share with you!", and he promises to send me a mail with the information. So that evening I receive the mail. Please click to peruse.

Nedlac hosted a colloquium on 9 and 10 July as part of the preparation for the jobs summit planned for September this year. As per last week's article, the social partners at Nedlac have been requested to participate in working groups that will formulate proposals to stimulate growth and job creation in the economy as well as identify the key constraints hampering the economy. The rationale behind the colloquium was to afford academics, NGOs and other stakeholders who don't have representation at Nedlac, the opportunity to provide inputs and make presentations for consideration. Theo Boshoff, Agbiz Head: Legal Intelligence provides more information in the linked article.

Theo Boshoff discussed the Draft Carbon Tax Bill in an interview with RSG Landbou. Boshoff says there are a few mechanisms that the government is looking at to reduce emissions in the country as a whole. He elaborates on how the business sectors feel about this tax. Click here to listen to the Afrikaans interview.

Since the passing of the parliamentary motion to review section 25 of the Constitution there has been an explosion of views on land reform, land tenure regimes and state ownership of land. From these debates it has become clear that there are diverse views on the value of land and its role as an instrument of financial security and leverage. Wandile Sihlobo, Agbiz Head: Agribusiness Research, and Prof Johann Kirsten  provide more insight  in an article written for and first published on  Business Day  on 9 July 2018.

South Africans are a very inquisitive nation. Each time I tweet about South Africa's agricultural fortunes, someone asks about proportions of that particular product in racial terms. This past week, I posted a chart about liquor consumption - 76% of it is accounted for by beer. Almost immediately, the question popped up - what proportion of the barley and sorghum used to make the beer was grown by black farmers? Read Wandile Sihlobo's column which first appeared in the Business Times on 08 July 2018.

The South African tractor sales increased by 19% y/y in June, with 569 units sold, which is the highest sales figure for the corresponding month in a dataset starting from 2014. This far exceeds our expectations of modest sales of 471 units, which is a surprise given that June is a fairly quiet month in terms of planting for both summer and winter crop areas. Click for Wandile Sihlobo's insights in the linked article.

Agbiz welcomes Karen Grobler who joined us at the beginning of July as the new marketing and communications manager, in the place of Jennifer Roets. She was previously employed at the Milk Producers' Organisation (MPO) as editorial and public relations manager where she was responsible for coordinating and implementing the editorial policy and workflow processes in the editorial department of Agri Connect, and for coordinating and implementing a public relations strategy for the MPO. She joined the MPO in 2013 as an editor at Agri Connect responsible for various bilingual magazines and other publications on behalf of clients in the agricultural sector, such as the Red Meat Producers' Organisation (RPO), the National Wool Growers' Association (NWGA), Afrivet and the Western Cape Department of Agriculture. She holds an honours degree in Journalism from Stellenbosch University and has more than 10 years of experience in the communications environment, mainly in the agricultural sector. Contact her at karen@agbiz.co.za.
The only solution for land reform is the establishment of black commercial farmers and not to plunge black subsistence farmers in poverty and hunger, says independent agricultural economist Fanie Brink. Brink responded to the view of Prof Ben Cousins of the Institute for Poverty, Land and Rural Studies (Farm) that "commercial farming is not the only land reform solution" and suggested that "unproductive and marginal farms" should be given to market-oriented small farmers. Prof Cousins was a speaker on land reform at the 2018 Agbiz Congress. Press release

Click here for the latest El Niño/southern oscillation (ENSO) diagnostic discussion issued by Climate Prediction Center/NCEP/NWS and the International Research Institute for Climate and Society.
WCDoA launches SmartAgri newsletter

Click to read the first edition of SmartAgri Barometer of 2018/19, published by the Western Cape Department of Agriculture.

Absa has overhauled its look, changing its logo and colour scheme to one that has been inspired by Africa, marking the shift from a European-owned financial group to a proudly African firm.  P art of the process involves a logo change, with the bank now adopting a circular logo, as well as moving to a different shade of red.  However, it's not just one shade of red that will be linked to the bank, with an African theme running through the new branding and a whole host of warm colours being included. Click here for the full report.
NWK accepts CBH's offer to acquire Opti Agri

NWK Limited (NWK) has received an offer for the sale of its chicken and animal feed businesses, Opti Agri Proprietary Limited (Opti Agri), as a going concern. NWK has accepted the offer after careful consideration and a sale of shares agreement has been signed for the sale of Opti Agri as a going concern to Country Bird Holdings Proprietary Limited (CBH) for the purchase price of R296.4 million (excluding VAT). This agreement (subject to the latest suspensive conditions and regulatory approvals) is in line with the revised business strategy of NWK, with its emphasis on greater customer centricity around their core business. Press release 

The fifth Agbiz Grain Symposium will take place on Tuesday, 21 August at the CSIR in Pretoria. This year's theme is "Value chain impacts".

All the relevant role players in the grain industry, those involved in storage and handling of grain, as well as others involved in the grain value chain, will be attending. About 120 delegates are expected at the symposium.

The symposium will be an all-day event. The programme will be interactive to provide a platform for exchange of information, to engage in discussions, to share opinions and to ask open questions. Confirmed speakers who will present at the symposium are from Department of Transport, the University of Pretoria and the CSIR, plus a few surprises.

In line with the theme "Value chain impacts", sessions are dedicated to "On the move"; "On the farm"; "On the net"; "In the science"; and "In the future". The topics will comprise several issues affecting the entire grain value chain. The first session will cover road and rail transport in the grain industry. The second session is devoted to matters pertaining to the accessibility of information on the internet for the primary agricultural sector as well as the vitally important aspect of on-line security for a business and its employees. One session will be dedicated to scientific matters such as essential information regarding mycotoxins and endocrine disrupters which can affect the grain industry negatively. The symposium will close with presentations about the future of agriculture, focusing on visionary, but useful technologies.

We will end the day with time to network and exchange information with the exhibitors. Click for more information and to register.
Fourth Annual Competition and Economic Regulation (ACER) week
16-20 July 2018 | Johannesburg
More information
More information»
FW Agribusiness Africa Conference
18-19 July 2018 | Emperors Palace
Theme: Partnerships for equitable trade 
Enquiries: Marianna du Plessis, africa@caxton.co.za

To view speakers,  click here

International Soy for Human Health Conference
1-3 August 2018 | St George Hotel and Conference Centre | Pretoria
More information

PMA Fresh Connections Southern Africa
Conference and Trade show
15-16 August, 2018 |  CSIR | Pretoria
Registration now open
Enquiries: Petrie Vogel, petrie@abevents.co.za

PMA Women's Fresh Perspectives:
Register now for the Women's Fresh Perspectives event which includes a luncheon with keynote 
speaker  Adv. Thuli Madonsela   @ThuliMadonsela3
This is a limited seating event! 

AGRI 5 Commodities Workshop and Expo
20-21 September 2018  East London Show Grounds
Contact info: 011 056 6856

Agbiz Grain Symposium
21 August 2018 | Pretoria
Enquiries: Mariana Purnell, mariana.purnell@agbizgrain.co.za

FERTASA Soil Fertility and Plant Nutrition Symposium
21 August 2018 | CSIR | Pretoria
Enquiries:  candice@fertasa.co.za

56th Annual Conference of the Agricultural Economics Association of South Africa (AEASA)
25-27 September 2018 | Lord Charles Hotel | Somerset West
Media release

Science Forum 2018
Theme: Win more, lose less: Capturing synergies between SDGs through agricultural research
10-12 October 2018| Stellenbosch

First Bi-annual International Soy for Human Health Conference 2019
11-13 March 2019 | St George Hotel | Pretoria
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