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.
15 May 2020
Lockdown relaxed: President Ramaphosa announces level 3 to begin end of May
In an address to the nation on Wednesday night, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that "most of the country" would be placed under alert level 3 at the end of May. However, certain metros - where the vast majority of infections have occurred - will remain at level four. In the coming days he said further announcements and changes to level-four restrictions, to allow more activity in retail, e-commerce and outdoor exercise, would be detailed. Please click here for a transcript of the president's address. In its latest daily update, Business for SA gave its comments on the address. Please click here to peruse.
Ten years of transformation in two months
World renowned agribusiness expert, Prof Marcos Fava Neves, shares 10 major observations on the new normal due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Do click here to watch this eight-minute video.
Upcoming webinar: Seeding the great divide
Daily Maverick's Richard Poplak and Wandile Sihlobo, author of Finding Common Ground and chief economist of Agbiz, will be digging into inflammatory issues of land reform and food security in South Africa in a webinar hosted by Daily Maverick on Friday 15 May at 12:00. Please click here to register for the webinar.
Post Covid 19, agriculture and politics
Theo Venter, political and policy analyst at the North-West University's School of Business and Governance, recently discussed Covid-19 and its effects on agriculture and politics during a Zoom presentation. The slides used during the presentation are available here.
Government opens e-commerce 

Minister of Trade and Industry, Ebrahim Patel, issued new directions on 14 May which allows all goods, except liquor, tobacco products, e-cigarettes, and related products, to be sold through e-commerce platforms across South Africa. Not only is this decision good for business, but it is also good for consumers, who can now safely buy what they want, when they want it. Please follow this link for the new directives.
Positive prospects for the 2020/21 global grains harvest

This week, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) released the World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates data - arguably among the most anticipated data releases in global agricultural markets. The agency reinforced the message painted by the International Grains Council (IGC) last month, that there are large supplies in the global market.  This message also allays the fears of countries that had placed export bans fearing for a global shortage of grain commodities. Agbiz chief economist Wandile Sihlobo discusses this subject in the linked article.
Higher seasonal output will not sustain sales of agricultural machinery

No industry will escape the economic pain of the Covid-19 pandemic. The high-frequency economic data for industries that are classified as non-essential during the lockdown period already shows the negative effect. However, for essential industries such as agriculture and its value chains, the data points to a relatively better performance thus far, though the outlook remains uncertain. This is specifically the case for the agricultural machinery industry. Agbiz chief economist Wandile Sihlobo explores this subject in the linked article.
Update on recent ASF outbreak

Johann KotzĂ©, CEO of the South African Pork Producers' Organisation (SAPPO) was part of a delegation that met with the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) about the recent African swine fever (ASF) outbreak in the Eastern Cape.  KotzĂ© said that the delegation was satisfied that DALRRD and the Eastern Cape Veterinary Services are doing everything in their power to prevent the spread of the disease and that the situation is well-monitored and managed. Read more in the linked SAPPO update.
Covid-19 impact on trade and labour in the fresh fruit and vegetable industry
As countries explore re-opening in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis, it is important to our industry's recovery to look at how challenges across the supply chain may affect our industry. In PMA South Africa's PMA Talks event on 5 May, panelists from ZZ2, African Green Alpha and the Agricultural Produce Agents Council (APAC) came together to share their thoughts on how Covid-19 challenges will impact talent and labour needs and practices in our industry. Please click here  for more information on the discussions.
CGA launches black citrus growers programme 
The Citrus Growers' Association of Southern Africa (CGA) has issued a call for applications for a R307 million economic transformation citrus growers programme that has been launched. The programme is expected to create an additional 1 726 permanent and seasonal jobs in the citrus industry. The programme will be implemented over three years across South Africa, with a specific focus on Limpopo, Mpumalanga, the Eastern Cape, North West and KwaZulu-Natal.   CGA CEO Justin Chadwick says: " We believe the Economic Transformation of Black Citrus Growers Programme will help mitigate the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and make a major contribution to one of CGA's and government's main objectives, which is to grow the volume, value and level of participation of black citrus growers in the industry." More information is available on the CGA's website.
Webinar: Wine tourism beyond lockdown
Destinate, with the participation of UNWTO, South African Tourism, Wesgro and Vinpro, will be hosting "The Future of Wine Tourism" webinar from 19 to 21 May 2020. This interactive virtual event will bring together 26 panellists, tourism businesses and people working within the value chain of wine tourism to explore and reimagine wine tourism in a post-lockdown world. The webinar will be hosted over three days with six interactive themed sessions to allow for flexibility. For more information on the programme and to register, please follow this link. 
Impact of Covid-19 outbreak on supply chains, regional trade, markets and food security in East Africa
While the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in East Africa so far is relatively low compared to other regions, disruption in supply chains is already affecting the trade and flow of commodities. Despite the comfortable stock of cereals in the global market, most countries in East Africa are food deficit and thus likely to face challenges. The pandemic is adding severity to the situation as the region is already facing multiple shocks including severe desert locust infestation and floods since the past few weeks. This subject is discussed in the linked article of the World Food Programme.
Tracking trade during the Covid-19 pandemic
With the current fast-changing developments, policymakers need to know what is happening to the economy in real time, but they often must settle for data telling them what happened many weeks ago. And international trade, which links countries through a complex web of supply chains, is an area where timely information is especially valuable from a global perspective.  Most trade takes place by sea, and for navigational safety purposes-virtually all cargo ships report their position, speed, and other information many times a day. A new IMF methodology using these data can help better inform us how international trade is affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Read more on this subject in the linked IMF blogpost.
How pandemics leave the poor even farther behind
The Covid-19 crisis is now widely seen as the greatest economic calamity since the Great Depression. In January, the IMF expected global income to grow 3%; it is now forecast to fall 3%, much worse than during the Great Recession of 2008-09. Behind this dire statistic is an even grimmer possibility: if past pandemics are any guide, the toll on poorer and vulnerable segments of society will be several times worse. Indeed, a recent poll of top economists found that the vast majority felt the Covid-19 pandemic will worsen inequality, in part through its disproportionate impact on low-skilled workers. Please click here to read the IMF blogpost discussing this topic.
Mitigating the impacts of Covid-19 on the livestock sector

The effects of Covid-19 on the livestock sector are still largely unquantified and yet to be fully  felt. Formal assessments have not yet been possible, but current observations reveal disruptions to livestock value chains. Lessons from past epidemics indicate these disruptions are  likely to grow, along with their dire, socio-economic consequences. Fortunately, actions can be  taken to protect this sector and its activities, services and products upon which the world relies. This policy brief, developed by FAO's Animal Production and Health Division, gives some insights on Covid-19's impact on the slaughter industries abroad and makes some recommendations.
UK plans to cut tariffs on US agricultural imports
The United Kingdom is planning to cut tariffs on US agricultural imports to advance progress on a free trade agreement, the Financial Times reported on Thursday.  The Department for International Trade was considering a "big concession package" to negotiators from the United States over the coming months to cut the cost of certain agricultural imports.  The package has been led by UK trade minister Liz Truss, but is facing internal opposition from Environment Secretary George Eustice who has raised concerns that such a step could undercut UK farmers, the report added. The linked Reuters article investigates this subject further.
China's US barley, blueberry move focused on trade war deal, unrelated to coronavirus backlash against Australia
China on Thursday said it would immediately allow imports of barley and fresh blueberries from the US, according to notices posted on China's customs website, just days after it announced plans to impose a tariff on the grain while also blocking beef exports from Australia. China's moves to permit further agricultural imports from the United States are viewed as being a step towards meeting the nation's phase one trade deal commitments, although their role in the ongoing saga with Australian barley and beef exports remains unclear, analysts said. Please click here to peruse.
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.
The latest news from Potatoes SA

Get the latest news from the potato industry the newsletter of Potatoes SA. 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. 
Watch the latest session in the virtual discussion on the agri value chain

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 @ 16:00.  This platform will continue to be open to anyone who would like to join the virtual discussions in the new revolutionary series and follow these informative sessions with the different role players in the agriculture value chain. Please visit the link to register and to access the platform for more information on the topics and panellists. The first five sessions are ready for you to view . Registered participants will be alerted by SMS when session 6 is available. 
17-19  June 2020 | Cape Town International Convention Centre  | Cape Town

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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