15 November 2019
BRICS Summit and Business Forum held in Brazil this week

The leaders of the five BRICS countries, including President Ramaphosa of South Africa,  met in Brasilia for the 11th BRICS Summit and Business Forum this week. The five leaders all addressed the BRICS Business Forum, committing to far greater trade between the respective countries, as well as cooperation in the fields of technology, especially the digital economy, skills development, infrastructure and investment. Please peruse the Brasilia Declaration released that provides considerable detail.The CEO of Agbiz, Dr John Purchase, led the Agribusiness Working Group (WG) of the BRICS Business Council (SA Chapter) in deliberations with counterpart countries, focusing primarily on market access issues. Good progress has been made as there was also close cooperation with Minister Ebrahim Patel and the trade team from DTIC on the issues the South African Agribusiness WG raised.
New plan needed for SA agriculture success

SA's political leaders often mention agriculture as one of the sectors that will boost our economic fortunes and create jobs in rural areas. For a long time, this has been stated without a clear practical execution plan.
The National Development Plan (NDP) is one of the few documents that comes close to providing a framework for achieving this ambition. This is through its identification, in chapter six, of agricultural subsectors that should be a key focus for development - mainly horticulture - and the processes to be followed to unlock the value of agricultural production. There is a need for irrigation systems, market linkages and increased investment. Agbiz chief economist Wandile Sihlobo explores this subject in the linked article , written for and first published in Business Day .
Lots of food for thought shared at Agbiz Information Days

Agbiz hosted t wo very successful half-day information sessions for members and other role players on 7 November 2019 in Pretoria and 8 November 2019 in Paarl. The sessions focused on current challenges in the policy and legislation environment, as well as developments and opportunities in the agribusiness sector.  Theo Venter of North-West University and Ferdi Meyer and Gerhard van der Burgh of BFAP were the guest speakers.  The programme and presentations are available on the Agbiz website.
Ad Hoc Committee on section 25 meets to discuss draft wording
The Ad Hoc Committee on amending section 25 of the Constitution hosted a dialogue facilitated by former Judge Johann van der Westhuizen on 6 and 7 November. The dialogue appeared to kick off on a difficult note as there was a great deal of debate regarding the scope and mandate of the committee. The debate mostly ranged about whether or not the committee had the mandate to deliberate on the merits of amending the Constitution or whether the committee merely had the task of formulating draft wording for an amendment. In the end, the committee affirmed that its limited mandate was to deliberate on wording which would "make explicit what is implicit" in the Constitution. Agbiz head of Legal Intelligence Theo Boshoff discusses this topic in the linked article. 
SA agriculture's déjà vu moment, starring drought and animal disease
The South African agricultural sector is experiencing a déjà vu moment. The 2018/19 production season was grim, marred by drought for summer crops and foot-and-mouth disease. This time, it's again the livestock's turn as we recently learnt of another biosecurity case. To mitigate the adverse economic impact, the government and private sector must join forces to stimulate the sector, rather than let it tumble downwards.  The Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development recently reported clinical signs of foot and mouth disease in a herd of cattle on a farm in the Molemole District of Limpopo. Events like this can trigger an import ban of South African livestock products - crippling the market in a way that affects much more than the Molemole district. Agbiz chief economist Wandile Sihlobo discusses this topic in the linked article, written for and first published on Daily Maverick.
Progress: foot-and-mouth disease outbreak 

Following the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) in a herd of cattle on a farm in the Molemole Local Municipality of Capricorn District in Limpopo, the farm was quarantined. This farm is located in the previous FMD-free zone of South Africa.  Currently, production facilities, feedlots and abattoirs are being monitored in the Molemole district and adjacent areas.  The Molemole outb reak is adjacent to the Vhembe outbreak of January 2019 and thus close monitoring and vigilance in Limpopo enabled rapid detection of the incident. All control measures for Limpopo are still in place.  A number of agreements were reached with trade partners to trade in safe commodities following the January outbreak; the department has sought assurances that these agreements still hold. Press release
FAO Food Outlook

Food Outlook is a biannual publication of the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations focusing on developments affecting global food and feed markets. It provides a global market analysis that focuses on developments in international markets, with comprehensive assessments and forecasts on a commodity by commodity basis.  According to Food Outlook for the second half of 2019 (November/December), worldwide wheat and maize production is expected to increase in 2019 while per capita food use of these cereals is expected to keep pace and even exceed population growth. Global oilseed production is expected to contract for the first time in three years, largely due to expectations of a reduction in soybean plantings and lower yields in the US as well as weaker prospects for rapeseed in Canada and the EU.  Global fish production is foreseen to remain unchanged from 2018, with a 3.4% decline in capture fisheries offset by a 3.9% increase in aquaculture harvests. Trade in fish is predicted to drop, although imports to China are expected to increase substantially. While fish production is expected to remain steady, worldwide meat production is foreseen to decline, due to the African swine fever (ASF) outbreak in China. Production of bovine, ovine, poultry and pig meats are forecast to total 335 million tonnes in carcass weight equivalent, 1% lower than the previous year. The drop is driven by an anticipated contraction of at least 20% for pig meat output in China, which usually accounts for close to half the world's production. Poultry output in China, by contrast, had been rapidly ramped up and is expected to grow by 17% year on year, containing the country's total meat output decline to 8%.
ENSO-neutral is favoured during the Northern Hemisphere winter 2019-20

The tropical Pacific Ocean remains neutral with respect to the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO), while the strong positive Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) continues. Despite some weakening over the past fortnight due to a transient Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) event, IOD values remain strongly positive. Significantly warmer than average waters remain near the Horn of Africa, and cooler than average waters persist in the eastern Indian Ocean, south of Indonesia. International climate models surveyed by the Bureau indicate the positive IOD is so strong that it is likely to be slow to decline and could persist into mid-summer.Typically, a positive IOD brings below average spring rainfall to southern and central Australia with warmer days for the southern two-thirds of the country. Positive IOD events are often associated with a more severe fire season for southeast Australia.In the tropical Pacific Ocean, the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) remains neutral. While surface waters of the tropical Pacific Ocean are slightly warmer than average, atmospheric indicators are generally neutral. Most climate models forecast ENSO-neutral conditions for the rest of 2019 and into the first quarter of 2020. Please click here to peruse.
Tiger Brands considers disposing of value-added meat business

South Africa's largest food producer, Tiger Brands, is considering disposing of its value-added meat products business (Vamp), saying it had determined it was not an ideal fit in the business. The company had already received a number of offers for the business, the owner of the Enterprise, Bokkie and Oros brands said. A listeriosis outbreak in 2018 had left about 200 people dead, leading the company to recall its processed meats and close four meat processing facilities. Its share price had also plunged 40% in 2018, falling a further 11.7% in 2019. For more information, please click on the linked article first published in Business Day.
The 2019 lemon seasonal review

The curtain is down on the 2019 lemon season and it has been a record in terms of the volumes packed for export. The 22.1 million 15 kg cartons packed (331 500 tonnes) surpasses the 2018 volume of 19.9 million cartons. The initial estimate was for 22 million cartons and the final tally being 22.1 million. The biggest region (Sundays River Valley) at 10.2 million cartons was 2 % over the estimate; Senwes at 3.8 m cartons was 18% under the estimate; while Boland at 1.5 m was 79% over the estimate. Patensie with 1.3 m cartons was 36% over the estimate whereas Hoedspruit (1.3 m) was 14% less than the estimate. Please click on From the desk of the CEO to peruse.
Is economic winter coming?

What could trigger a recession in the United States? In the past, a tightening labour market after a period of expansion served as an early warning sign. Workers would become more difficult to find, wages would start climbing, corporate profit margins would tend to shrink, and firms would start raising prices. Fearing inflation, the central bank would then raise interest rates, which in turn would depress corporate investment and spur layoffs. At this point, aggregate demand would fall as consumers, fearing for their jobs, reduced their spending. Corporate inventories would then rise, and production would be cut further. Growth would slow significantly, signaling the beginning of a recession. This cycle would then be followed by a recovery. After firms worked down their inventories, they would start producing more goods again; and once inflation had abated, the central bank would cut interest rates to boost demand. To read more, click on the linked article, first published in Project Syndicate.
IFPRI Monthly Maize Market Report 

The Monthly Maize Market Report was developed by researchers at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) Malawi with the goal of providing clear and accurate information on the variation of daily maize prices in selected markets throughout Malawi. The reports are intended as a resource for those interested in maize markets in Malawi, namely producers, traders, consumers, or other agricultural stakeholders. Please click IFPRI Monthly Maize Market Report to peruse.
Get the latest news from SAPPO

For the latest news from the South African Pork Producers' Organisation, please click SAPPO Weekly Update to peruse.
Register and book your accommodation to avoid disappointment

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.
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4.0 Industrial Revolution Agri Tech Conference 2019
28-29 November 2019  | The Lanzerac | Stellenbosch
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Nedbank Vinpro Information Day
Theme: "Touch and change"
23 January 2020 | KIKS | Cape Town

Africa Agri Tech South Africa
18-20 February 2020  | Time Square | Menlyn Maine | Pretoria
More information

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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