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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.
e-Newsletter
27/2020
17 July 2020
Proudly SA presents to Nedlac TIC
 
Given the immense damage done to the economy over the past decade, and exacerbated by the Covid-19 crisis, we need to re-look trade and industrial policy. It has become clear that we need to stop the de-industrialization of our economy, and that a partial, but focused localisation policy will be necessary to rebuild our industrial capacity and economy. Amongst others, this can be done through the designation of certain products. Another way would be to create awareness of buying locally produced goods to support our own industries and jobs. At the Nedlac Trade and Industry Chamber (TIC) meeting of 16 July, Proudly South Africa (PSA) presented on the campaign to create just such an awareness. Please click on PSA Presentation to peruse and identify the various opportunities for your business in this campaign.
Rising uncertainties from Covid-19 cloud medium-term agricultural prospects
 
The fight against the global Covid-19 pandemic is causing unprecedented uncertainties in global food supply chains, with potential bottlenecks in labour markets, input industries, agriculture production, food processing, transport and logistics, as well as shifts in demand for food and food services. In the short term, the economic and social impacts of the pandemic interrupt the generally positive medium-term outlook for global agricultural production and food consumption. Governments face the challenge to create balanced policies that address immediate needs, such as labour shortages and create durable conditions for the agricultural sector to 'build back better,' according to a new report presented earlier this week by OECD secretary general Angel GurrĂ­a and UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) director general QU Dongyu. The joint OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook 2020-2029 report finds that over the next 10 years supply growth is going to outpace demand growth, causing real prices of most commodities to remain at or below their current levels. Fluctuations in the driving factors of supply and demand could lead to strong price variations around this general path. At the same time, a decrease in disposable incomes in low-income countries and households caused by Covid-19 is expected to depress demand in the early years of this outlook and could further undermine food security.
Tito Mboweni: Structural reforms - not spending - are the best way to achieve growth

The supplementary budget puts forward a path to restore the sustainability of the fiscus, without compromising on important social programmes. The belief that we can spend our way out of low growth is misguided, writes Finance Minister Tito Mboweni in the the linked Business Day article. "In considering our economic future beyond Covid-19 most economists agree that the best way to reduce SA's debt burden is to grow the economy. Higher, more inclusive growth will be accompanied by higher investment and job growth that will place the economy on a sustainable path."
TIPS Tracker: The economy and the pandemic

The linked TIPS Tracker highlights important trends in the Covid-19 pandemic in South Africa, and how they affect the economy. It analyses publicly available data, research and media reports to identify current developments and reflect on the prognosis for the contagion, the economy, and policy responses. The report  raised the question of how to understand the factors driving infection rates in the light of the divergent regional trends. "The much-heralded 'peak' is, after all, only visible when the number of new cases starts to fall. In contrast to seasonal flu or diseases like measles, for which preventative measures exist, the only way to bring down the number of cases is behavioural change on a mass scale. Yet the government reimposed limited restrictions on especially risky activities only on 12 July, six weeks after the growth in new cases began to escalate."
POLICY AND LEGISLATION
International Bar Association hosts webinar on the impact of Covid-19 lockdowns on global trade

On 14 July, the Agricultural Law Section of the International Bar Association (IBA) hosted a webinar which focused on the global impact of Covid-19 lockdowns on the international trade in agricultural goods. The vast majority of countries in Europe, Asia, North and South America as well as some of the larger African producers such as Egypt, South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya all imposed some form of lockdown to flatten the curve of Covid-19. The situation is now improving for most countries but it is remarkable to note how similar the challenges were that was faced by export-oriented countries around the globe. Agbiz head of Legal Intelligence Theo Boshoff provides feedback in the linked article.
AGRIBUSINESS RESEARCH
What does the ANC and B4SA say about agriculture post-Covid-19? 

In the second week of July 2020, the Economic Transformation Committee of the African National Congress (ANC) and Business for South Africa (B4SA), released their respective strategy documents for the post-Covid-19 inclusive economy recovery for South Africa. Both the ANC and B4SA prioritized the agriculture sector, for its transformative potential and aligned their strategies with chapter six of the National Development Plan (NDP)4, which reflects the commitment of both the government and private sector to the larger development agenda of South Africa. Agbiz chief economist Wandile Sihlobo compares the ANC and B4SA agricultural development plans in the linked article.
Recent uptick in SA food price inflation could be temporary

South Africa's food price inflation accelerated to 4.8% y/y in May 2020, from 4.6% y/y in the previous month. This uptick was mainly underpinned by relative price rises of milk, eggs and cheese; oils and fats, and fruit. Meanwhile, other products' price inflation slowed and some remained roughly unchanged. In the case of eggs, the sharp demand at the start of the lockdown period was, in part, a key driver of the uptick in prices in May and also the previous month. In terms of oil and fats, South Africa imports a notable share, therefore the weaker ZAR/USD partially supported the prices. We were surprised by a notable uptick in fruit prices as the country has large supplies this year. And we think this could be a temporary blip. Wandile Sihlobo discusses the latest data in the linked article.
The global grains market is well supplied despite the USDA's downward revision of some crop production forecasts

This past week the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) released an update of its World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report for July 2020. Our interest in it is primarily maize, wheat, rice and soybeans, specifically the 2020/21 production season estimate. There were broadly minor adjustments in production estimates of many countries, aside from the US, whose maize and wheat production estimates were revised down, notably. In the case of wheat, the EU's 2020/21 production prospects were also revised down from June 2020. This was, in part, on the back of expected lower yields due to drier weather conditions over the past couple of weeks. Meanwhile, rice and soybean production estimates were left roughly unchanged from June. Wandile Sihlobo discusses the global grains market in the linked article.
OTHER NEWS
NBI and DI lead on sustainability in agro-processing    
 
In a world turned upside down due to climate change, the Covid-19 crisis, water constraints, biodiversity loss and an ever burgeoning population, amongst others, the question of  economic, environmental and social sustainability becomes very real. The National Business Initiative (NBI), supported by Danish Industry (DI), last year launched a programme with Agbiz and a number of companies/members to explore utilising the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations (UN) and internalising these in their business strategy. Please click on NBI SDG Agro-processing project to receive an update of the progress being made, and an invitation for other companies to join. Sustainability management has become an imperative for any business in the current environment. Think about it!
Freshfel Europe welcomes the EU's plans to revise its Trade Strategy 
 
Freshfel Europe supports the EU's plans to revise its Trade Strategy, an essential move to ensure the EU is ready to tackle the growing challenges impacting fresh fruit and vegetables trade , particularly in the aftermath of the Covid-19 crisis. In particular, the sector urges the European Commission to enhance the assertiveness of its approach to trade policy, especially regarding tackling sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) barriers, which are deeply impacting the ability of the sector to exploit its full potential to trade. Read more in the linked Freshfel statement.
Southern Africa: Regional maize supply and market outlook
 
The onset of the Covid-19 pandemic coincided with the start of regional harvests in Southern Africa. Moving into the 2020/21 marketing year, opening stocks were 20 percent below average. Below average opening stocks were offset by the region's above average 2020 maize harvest despite dryness experienced in many areas earlier in the year. The Regional Supply and Market Outlook report provides a summary of regional staple food availability, surpluses and deficits during the current marketing year, projected price behavior, implications for local and regional commodity procurement, and essential market monitoring indicators. 
What opportunities might Kenya provide US agriculture? 
 
On July 8, the US and Kenya kicked off a two-week first round of trade talks and agreed on a framework for US technical assistance and capacity-building efforts in Kenya on July 8, according to the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR).  This is the fifth trade action for which the USTR has notified Congress of negotiation under Trade Promotion Authority. The agreement with Kenya follows notifications on USMCA, the United States-European Union Trade Agreement, United States-Japan Trade Agreement and the United States-United Kingdom Trade Agreement. Read more in the linked article published by Farm Bureau.
Six agtech companies pitch products at PMA Southern Africa Virtual Agtech Roadshow 2020
 
The Produce Marketing Association (PMA) in Southern Africa partnered with the Israel Trade Office to South Africa in hosting a virtual Agritech Roadshow. On 30 June 2020, six cutting edge agtech companies from Israel introduced their solutions across the entire supply chain to almost 100 stakeholders. The presentations varied between six to 10 minutes and focused on supply chain logistics, agri-fintech, quality control solutions, precision farming, and cold-chain monitoring. Read more in the linked PMA media statement.
 Weekly newsletter from CGA

Justin Chadwick, CEO of the Citrus Growers' Association of Southern African, shares the latest news in the citrus industry in his weekly update - From the desk of the CEO. Please  click here to peruse.
The latest 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.
UPCOMING EVENTS

Constraints to growing agriculture

Session 11 of the Agricultural Value Chain Virtual Discussion Series is available. This two part session looks at the constraints to growing agriculture and broadening the inclusion of youth and women in the sector. Part one addresses structural constraints to South Africa's agricultural growth and transformation.   The virtual discussion se ries platform went live on 24 April 2020.  This platform will continue to be open to anyone who would like to join the virtual discussions.  Please follow  the link to register and to access the platform for more information on the topics and panelists. Eleven sessions are ready to view . Registered participants will be alerted by SMS when a new session becomes available. 
2020 AgriAllAfrica Agribusiness Conference
Theme: "Imagined responses to Covid-19: Progress with the development of solutions"
29 October 2020 | CSIR | Pretoria (live event tbc)
Enquiries: Marianna.duplessis@gmail.com | +27 063 076 9135

PMA Fresh Connections: Southern Africa Conference
18-20 August 2020  | Virtual event
More information

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

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
AGBIZ MEMBERSHIP
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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