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.
17 April 2020
Agriculture after the pandemic 
After suffering severe labour shortages due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it seems unlikely that advanced-economy farmers will return to business as usual. Instead, many will probably attempt to mitigate the risks stemming from dependence on foreign seasonal workers by automating more of their operations. Agbiz chief economist Wandile Sihlobo discusses this subject in the linked article, first published on Project Syndicate - the World's Opinion Page.
14 new Covid-19 deaths in SA, with 99 more cases confirmed
Fourteen more people have died from Covid-19 in South Africa, the health ministry confirmed on Thursday. In what is the single biggest jump in the number of deaths since the outbreak in South Africa, Dr Zweli Mkhize confirmed that the country's death toll was now up to 48. There were also now 2 605 cases of the respiratory illness, an increase of 99 from the day before. "As at today (Thursday), the total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in SA is 2 605. We also note that the number of tests being conducted continues to rise, with the total number of tests conducted to date being 95 060. It is with regret that we inform the public that the Covid-19 related deaths is now 48. We note that two provinces, Limpopo and the Eastern Cape, have also recorded their first deaths," said Mkhize. Please click health ministry's media statement for the latest update.
CIPC certification process for essential service businesses during extended lockdown
In a media release the dtic stated that companies, who are registered through the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission's (CIPC) BizPortal to perform essential services during the lockdown period, will be required to have a new certificate from the BizPortal website for the extended period, which starts 17 April 2020. The certificate will be sent via email using the details provided at the time of registration, and was also available for download. Companies will receive the certificates and the full list of registered companies will have received their certificates by the weekend. The new certificate will clearly state that it is for the extended lockdown period, starting 17 April 2020, and South African Police Service officials will be told which certificates to look for. Please click dtic media statement to peruse.
Government again reiterated that the CIPC registration certificate is not a permit. The self-issue permits issued by employers is the only document with legal force that can permit employees performing essential services to be exempted from certain restrictions. So whilst the CIPC may be issuing new registration certificates, the legal document remains the essential service permit and this does not expire. Hence there is no need for employers to issue new permits to essential employees.
Prof. Salim Abdool Karim unpacks Covid-19 in South Africa
Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize and a panel of experts gave a detailed presentation on the trajectory and Government's response to South Africa's Covid-19 outbreak to the public earlier this week.  The online public engagement was led by chairperson of the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Covid-19 Prof. Salim Abdool Karim, a world-renowned HIV scientist and infectious diseases epidemiologist. Prof.  Karim said that since the implementation of the national lockdown on March 26, South Africa has managed to slow the number of Covid-19 infections.  Before the lockdown, Prof. Karim said the number of infections were increasing in line with global trajectories but this changed dramatically once the lockdown was implemented. He  said that when comparing South Africa's Covid-19 "line" with other countries like China and the United Kingdom, the data showed the epidemic trajectory of this country was unique. Watch the presentation at this link
Webinar on law, climate change and agriculture 

The Agricultural Law Section of the International Bar Association invites all interested parties to take part in an hour-long webinar on the 22nd of April 2020. The discussion will be centred around law, climate change and agriculture and will feature short presentations from Nusrat Hassan of Link Legal India Law Services, Valerie Johnston of the FAO, Chris van Winden of the International Licencing Platform for Plant Breeder's Rights in the Netherlands and Theo Boshoff from Agbiz. Participants can follow this link for online registration where all details will be provided.
Coronavirus-induced export controls could spell higher rice prices for SA

Although global agriculture has not been hit by the Covid-19 pandemic as hard as other sectors of the economy, the fears and uncertainty about how long the world will grapple with the virus have led to several countries introducing restrictive measures on exports. Wheat and rice have been the casualties of these new measures. Kazakhstan, Cambodia and Vietnam have introduced export bans on wheat and rice. Leaving the Covid-19 pandemic aside for a moment; the world has sufficient wheat and rice supplies. Read more in the linked article by Wandile Sihlobo, written for and first published in Business Day.
Lower export demand will be among agriculture's Covid-19 challenges

The potential rise in oil prices and weak demand for South Africa's agricultural exports from most regions are two additional challenges for the agricultural sector that are spinning off the Covid-19 pandemic. Global oil prices came under pressure at the beginning of March after a dispute between Saudi Arabia and Russia, which led to both countries increasing their oil production. Brent crude prices fell 60% before staging a 29% recovery to end at $24 per barrel last week. The collapse in oil prices was beneficial to oil and petroleum product importing countries such as South Africa, as it offsets the effect of a drastic weakening of their domestic currencies over the same period. Wandile Sihlobo explores this subject in the linked article, written for and first published in Business Day.
The Great Lockdown: worst economic downturn since the Great Depression

The world has changed dramatically in the three months. A rare disaster, a coronavirus pandemic, has resulted in a tragically large number of human lives being lost. As countries implement necessary quarantines and social-distancing practices to contain the pandemic, the world has been put in a Great Lockdown. The magnitude and speed of collapse in activity that has followed is unlike anything experienced in our lifetimes. This is a crisis like no other, and there is substantial uncertainty about its impact on people's lives and livelihoods. Read more in the linked IMF Blog by Gita Gopinath.
Covid-19: channels of transmission to food and agriculture

The FAO is analysing and providing updates on the emerging Covid-19 pandemic's effects on agricultural markets-effects that are still largely unknown. Most current assessments generally foresee a contraction in both supply of and demand for agricultural products, and point to possible disruptions in trade and logistics. A new paper, published by the FAO, aims to identify the channels of transmissions into the food and agriculture sectors and, based on this, to delineate the degrees of exposure to the Covid-19- induced shock by geographic region. The initial aim was to examine all elements of the food system. However, data availability limited the empirical analysis largely to primary production, trade and final consumption. These elements are analysed in detail and, where possible, quantified. Based on results of the analysis, a country taxonomy of the exposure is developed and presented. Please click here to peruse.
Green transport - a step towards a green environment

O ne of the many lessons the Covid-19 pandemic is so forcibly teaching us is that sustainability is a critical requirement in everything we do. We need to give significantly greater attention to green transport and its impact on climate change. In South Africa, the transport sector is the most rapidly growing source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and its continued growth is expected to have an increasing impact on biodiversity, air quality, land resources and water quality. It accounts for 10.8% of emissions in the country, with road transport responsible for 91.2% of that.  South Africa's Green Transport Strategy (GTS) was developed to promote a transport system that is environmentally friendly and helps boost economic growth and create jobs.  The GTS aims to minimise the adverse impact of transport on the environment, while addressing current and future transport demands, and encourages electric vehicle use and public transport enhancement. 
Wandile Sihlobo, SA's hip-hop-loving economist

F ood for Msanzi spoke to Agbiz chief economist  and  author of Finding Common Ground: Land, Equity & Agriculture Wandile Sihlobo about land reform, Covid-19 and the future of agriculture. In the interview Sihlobo spoke about his new book and also revealed a bit of his daily routine and his favourite music genre. Please click here to listen to the interview.
An urgent call for support from food producers 

The Business for Empowerment Foundation has committed a total of
60 750  individual meals to date to assist with the current Covid-19 food crisis. This is to support the most vulnerable amongst us who simply cannot sustain themselves right now. Together with the approximately R1 million in cash, this food supply has been offered as an immediate responsible action to assist the identified NPOs that are currently heavily strained. As we as South African's respond to dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, the need for food support increases daily and we will need more businesses to get involved. We are reaching out with an urgent call for support from food producers to help us feed more people. The request is for a donation and delivery of raw materials in Silverton, Pretoria, which are needed to produce the daily meals packs.
The following raw food products are needed:
  • Maize (extruded)
  • Soya (extruded)
  • Sugar
  • Dehydrated vegetables
  • Rice
We urge any able and willing food producers to please get in touch with us. The community needs our assistance to feed more people. We are stronger together. For more information about the B4EF Food Project or the Foundation and the beneficiaries, please contact Roxanne Mancini on info@b4ef.org.za or 0129401900 / 0827795751.
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 AFMA

The latest edition of  AFMA e-News  has links to the 2020 AFMA Forum edition of the  AFMA Matrix . Please click here  to peruse. 
News from the citrus industry

Justin Chadwick, CEO of the Citrus Growers' Association of Southern Africa, shares the latest news from the citrus industry in his weekly newsletter.  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. 
NSTF Plant Health discussion forum - IYPH 2020
6-7 May 2020 | Future Africa  | University of Pretoria | South St  | Koedoespoort

17-19  June 2020 | Cape Town International Convention Centre  | Cape Town

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
1-2 September 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?
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  • 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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