15 February 2019
Only 13% of SA's land surface is suitable for agriculture, so use it wisely

On February 6, Business Day published a piece by Wandile Sihlobo in which he detailed the growing trend in the communal areas of the Eastern Cape where agricultural land is increasingly being used for settlement purposes.  This article struck a chord as it could easily have been written about any province in South Africa, such is the magnitude of the trend. South Africa may be a rather large country but only 13% of our land surface is suitable for crop production, with only 2% to 3% truly being regarded as high potential. Agbiz head of Legal Intelligence Theo Boshoff provides more insight on how the draft Preservation and Development of Agricultural Land Bill seeks to address just that in the linked article written for and first published in Business Day.
Dutch study on current state of agro-processing in SA

The Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands conducted a study on the current state of  fruit and vegetable agro-processing in South Africa. The study has now been concluded and published. It describes the current challenges and identifies the extent to which the agro-processing industry can add value, with the aim of limiting imports. The study provides recommendations and identifies Dutch technologies and solutions which are applicable to the South African context. A  summary of its findings were presented at the Southern African Business Dialogue in The Netherlands, organised by The Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) in collaboration with some Dutch Embassies in Southern Africa on 11 January 2019. Please click here to peruse.
US Farm Belt bankruptcies are soaring

"A wave of bankruptcies is sweeping the US Farm Belt as trade disputes add pain to the low commodity prices that have been grinding down American farmers for years. Throughout much of the Midwest, US farmers are filing for chapter 12 bankruptcy protection at levels not seen for at least a decade. Bankruptcies in three regions covering major farm states last year rose to the highest level in at least 10 years. The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, which includes Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin, had double the bankruptcies in 2018 compared with 2008. In the Eighth Circuit, which includes states from North Dakota to Arkansas, bankruptcies swelled 96%. The 10th Circuit, which covers Kansas and other states, last year had 59% more bankruptcies than a decade earlier." Please click here to read the full article published in Wall Street Journal.
Agbiz answers questions on revised Expropriation Bill

The revised Expropriation Bill was recently published, and the public was requested to submit comments before 21 February. In an interview on KykNET's programme Grootplaas, Agbiz head of Legal Intelligence Theo Boshoff elaborated on the current state of affairs regarding  the revised Expropriation Bill. Please click here to watch the interview.
Department of Transport announces tariff increases for tolls on national roads

The Department of Transport has published lists outlining the revised toll fees that will be payable for all categories of road users as of 1 March 2019. The fees have been revised and increased for the following areas:
Slight improvement in SA agricultural jobs

South Africa's primary agricultural employment improved marginally to  849 000  jobs in the last quarter of 2018 compared to the previous quarter. Although this data is encouraging in a climate where South Africa is exploring strategies that could unlock job creation in the agricultural sector, the country is still far behind its target of creating a million agricultural jobs by 2030 as envisaged in the National Development Plan. What's more, if the underutilised land in the former homelands and other parts of the country are not brought into full production with a key focus on labour-intensive subsectors, notable job creation in South Africa's agriculture will not materialise. Fortunately, the President in his State of the Nation Address (SONA) signalled a positive message on this.  Agbiz head of Agribusiness Research Wandile Sihlobo provides more insight in the  linked article .
A record year for SA's agricultural exports

Recently released data on South Africa's agricultural trade for December 2018 paint a clear picture that is worth highlighting of the full year's agricultural trade performance. In 2018, South Africa's agricultural exports grew by 7% y/y to US$10.6bn, a record level in a dataset starting from 2001. This was underpinned by increased exports of oranges, grapes, wine, maize, apples, wool, lemons, mandarins and pears, amongst other products. Wandile Sihlobo shares his view in the linked article written for and first published on Fin14.
Corteva Agriscience™ chooses Casablanca as hub for North-West and West Central Africa 

Corteva Agriscience™, Agriculture Division of DowDuPont, launched its official North-West and West Central Africa (NWAF and WCAF) regional headquarters in Casablanca, Morocco. The Casablanca office will act as Corteva Agriscience's business centre for customers, partners and consumers in its main markets of Algeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Mali, Morocco, Nigeria, Niger, Tunisia, Togo and Senegal, bringing farmers the right mix of seeds, crop protection and digital solutions to maximise their yields and improve their profitability in these markets. This development brings the number of Corteva Agriscience offices across the African continent to four, with other offices operational in Cairo, Johannesburg, Nairobi and now Casablanca. Press release
AFGRI Technology Services partners with TuksNovation to  drive agricultural innovation in SA

AFGRI Technology Services (ATS), which focuses on the development and implementation of agricultural technology (AgTech) solutions, will be partnering with the University of Pretoria's (UP) TuksNovation to foster innovation in the agricultural sector. TuksNovation, a non-profit company founded by UP in partnership with the dti and the Department of Small Business, is a technology business incubator and accelerator providing specialised product and business development support to tech start-ups. ATS has partnered with TuksNovation for its annual Activate Competition, which searches for cutting-edge and innovative technologies and start-ups that can be grown into successful businesses. Press release
Get the latest on land reform at VKB's information days

VKB will be hosting two information days on land reform issues - on 18 March in Polokwane and 20 March in Frankfort.  Get first-hand information from Dan Kriek, president of Agri SA, and Dr John Purchase, CEO of Agbiz on the current state of affairs. Please click here for more information on the programme. To register, please complete the linked registration form.
The Ruminant Veterinary Association of South Africa (RuVASA) published a combined report of all the monthly reports of 2018 in order for readers to see what has happened in each province during 2018. This information can now be used to see what the risks are and to update your management programme with the assistance of your veterinarian. RuVASA warns that with the good rains falling in many parts of the country the risk of a Rift Valley fever outbreak is increasing. Please click here to peruse the report. The disease maps for 2018 are linked here.
The February 2019 edition of Potatoes SA's newsletter is jam-packed with the latest news from the potato industry. Please click here to peruse.
The January/February 2019 edition of Agripen - Agricultural Writers SA's newsletter - offers news from across various agricultural sectors. Please  click here to peruse.
First Bi-annual International Soy for Human Health Conference 2019
11-13 March 2019 | St George Hotel | Pretoria

CGA Citrus Summit  
1 2-14 March 2019 | Boardwalk Hotel | Port Elizabeth

SAFA Cattlemen's Conference
14 March 2019 

GTR Africa 2019
14-15 March 2019 | Cape Town International Convention Centre  |  Cape Town

Sustainable Agriculture Summit Africa 2019
11-14 April 2019  | Mövenpick Hotel and Residences | Nairobi | Kenya

Global Cherry Summit 2019
25 April 2019  | Monticello Conference Center | San Francisco de Mostazal, Chile

Ensminger Pig Symposium
22-23 May 2019 | Kopanong Hotel and Conference Centre | Benoni

SA Large Herds Conference
3-5 June 2019  The Boardwalk  Port Elizabeth

13th Agribusiness Africa Conference 
10 July 2019 Premier Hotel | OR Tambo Airport
More information

PMA Fresh Connections: SA Conference and Trade Show 
30-31 July 2019 | Century City | Cape Town
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