17 FEBRUARY 2017

This week Rural Development and Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti told Parliament during the debate on the State of the Nation (SONA) address that a pre-colonial audit of land ownership, use and occupation is needed to speed up socio-economic reform.  The minister said, once the audit has been completed, a single law should be developed to address the issue of land restitution without compensation.
Dr John Purchase, Agbiz CEO responded that even if flagged as political rhetoric, the minister's push for restitution without compensation is unacceptable and irresponsible.  "Such a government programme would be totally outside of the spirit and letter of the current and negotiated Constitution of South Africa," he said - Media release»

Job opp Recent employment data shows that the agricultural sector created 4% more jobs in the fourth quarter of 2016 from the previous one - which is 38 000 additional jobs, putting the sector's total labour force at 919 000 jobs. In a database starting from 2008, this is a record number of jobs in agricultural sector.  Wandile Sihlobo, Head Economic and Agribusiness Intelligence at Agbiz, provides more information in the linked document»

SA's annual food inflation decelerates

The recent food and non-alcoholic beverages inflation data suggest that the peak in food inflation might have already reached and the coming months could show sideways to a downward trend. Data released this week showed that South Africa's food and non-alcoholic beverages inflation eased at 11.4% year-on-year (y/y) in January 2017 from 11.7% in December 2016. With non-alcoholic beverages aside, food inflation eased at 11.8% y/y in January 2017 from 12% y/y in December 2016.  Wandile Sihlobo reveals more in the linked update»

*This column first appeared in Business Day on 16 February 2017
Agriculture plays a crucial role in the broader economy, constituting about 6% of South Africa's total labour force. This is double that of the noisiest industry, mining, and almost at par with the transport industry, w rites Wandile Sihlobo in his column for Business Day.  The recent Quarterly Labour Force Survey by Statistics South Africa revealed that employment in the agricultural sector grew by 4%, or 38,000 jobs, in the fourth quarter of 2016, from the previous quarter, putting the sector's total labour force at 919,000 - Read more»
Daily view on commodity markets

Daily commentaries on agricultural commodity markets and macro-economic trends are available on the Agbiz website  www.agbiz.co.za
South Africa's potatoes exports expected to fall in 2016

As we wait for December 2016 export figures, we expect South Africa's potatoes export volumes to drop in 2016 by as much as 18% year-on-year. By November 2016, South Africa had exported 102 090 tons of potatoes, which is 28% lower compared to the same time in 2015. An optimistic view places December 2016 exports at between 12 000 tons and 16 000 tons, and we expect total 2016 annual exports at somewhere close to 120 000 tons.  Agbiz economists, Tinashe Kapuya and Wandile Sihlobo, provide more information in the   linked document» 

South Africa's sugar tariff declines from R319/ton to null

The Ministry of Finance has finally gazetted the tariff adjustment for sugar, which became be zero percent effective 10 February 2017 - down from R319/ton. This trigger was the 10th tariff adjustment over a 35-month period. The last adjustment occurred on 16 September 2016 when the tariff was adjusted from R1 444 per ton to the R319 per ton.  Agbiz economists, Tinashe Kapuya and Wandile Sihlobo, provides more information in the  linked article»

Rain for Africa - Integrated weather and agriculture information 

Rain for Africa (R4A) is a project that envisaged to make integrated weather and agriculture information available to a wide variety of users. It aims to make a significant contribution to empowering farmers by providing the correct information to help improve the quality and quantity of food production. Mariana Purnell of Agbiz Grain attended the technical workshop which focused on bringing together various role players who can contribute to the awareness of the project and also advise on improving participation - Read more»
2017 IRMSA Risk Report 

The Institute of Risk Management South Africa (IRMSA) has announced the launch of its third South African Risk Report. This report is the product of an extensive period of interaction with IRMSA members, other professional bodies and subject matter experts, through online surveys and other engagements as well as evaluating events throughout 2016.  General Manager of Agbiz Grain, Mariana Purnell, has indicated to the Risk Intelligence Committee that agriculture does not feature at all in their survey. The committee has undertaken to rectify it in the 2017 survey - Read more»
PwC named one of world's most powerful brands

PwC has retained its position as the number one professional services brand, and one of the world's top ten most powerful brands in the Brand Finance Index 2017. The Brand Finance index is an annual assessment of the brand value of over 500 of the world's best known businesses - Read more»
Monsanto again named as one of the world's most admired companies

Monsanto Company was named one of the 2017 World's most admired companies by Fortune Magazine, attaining the rank of No. 2 within the company's industry sector.  Hugh Grant, Monsanto Chairman and CEO said, this ranking not only celebrates Monsanto's pledge to operating with transparency and reporting progress, but also underscores our global commitment to develop innovations and digital tools to help farmers address global issues such as climate change and food security -  Media release»
Fresh Produce Exporters Forum participates in Fruit Logistica: Berlin

The Fresh Produce Exporters Forum (FPEF) in conjunction with the South African Department of Trade and Industry (the dti), participated in Fruit Logistica: Berlin from 8 to 10 February 2017.  Anton Kruger, CEO of FPEF, says i t was confirmed that the dti will fund South Africa's participation in Asia Fruit Logistica in Hong Kong in September this year, as well as Fruit Logistica: Berlin 2018 - Read more»

Reminder to administer Rift Valley Fever vaccination to livestock

Rift Valley Fever (RVF) is a serious viral disease that is spread by mosquitoes and can cause abortions and death in cattle, sheep and goats. People can also become infected with RVF, which can be a serious disease in humans. Good rainfall, as we have recently experienced, will result in an increase in the number of mosquitoes which may transmit this disease - Media release»
Contagious Equine Metritis outbreak

Contagious Equine Metritis (CEM) is a highly contagious venereal disease of equines and zebra caused by the bacterium Taylorella equigenitalis. It is associated with economic losses due to its detrimental effects on equine reproductive efficiency and the costs related to the treatment and testing for the disease. CEM is mainly transmitted by both natural and artificial breeding but can also be transmitted by direct or indirect contact e.g. through shared grooming equipment, halters and even clothes and people - Media release»
Wheat Indaba
21 February 2017 | Elsenburg (Fully booked)
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Seminar - From Trade Rules to Trade Deals: Whither US Trade Policy in the Trump Administration?
28 February 2017 | BUSA Offices, Rivonia
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7th Undercover Farming Expo & Conference
7 - 8 March 2017 |CSIR Convention Centre | Pretoria
For more information contact Suzanne Oosthuizen on e-mail: CGA Citrus Summit
8 - 9 March 2017 | Port Elizabeth
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GOSA Symposium and Annual General Meeting
22 - 23 March 2017 | Mosselbay
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Water & Climate Congress
22 - 24 March 2017
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Annual Road Transport Legislation Workshop
23 May 2017 - Stellenbosch
25 May 2017 - Durban 
8 June 2017 - Pretoria 
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Fertasa Annual Congress
3 - 4 May 2017 | Durban
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Agri-finance for non-financial managers
30 May - 3 June 2016
Presented by Purdue University in Africa
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Workshop on Bioinformatics and Wheat Genomics
28 June 2017 | Worcester, Western Cape
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International Conference on Global Food Security
8 - 11 October 2017 | Cape Town  International Convention Centre 
Conference Theme: Food Security: Global challenges, local solutions
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