17 November 2017
The need for an inclusive Land Audit
South Africa grapples with many complex and significant problems, with land reform being one of the major challenges. To effectively manage this challenge, clearly a reliable and credible database lies at the heart of the solution - the old adage of "If you measure, you can manage". Land audits have lately again been in the news, and this past week Proff. Ben Cousins and Ruth Hall again decried that the lack of data is a key reason for the lack of progress with land reform - please click on South Africa is still way behind the curve on transforming land ownership to peruse article. Currently neither Government, nor the private sector, have the data for a credible and reliable database. The only way to collect such data would be through a Task Team inclusive of all major stakeholders and role players involved. While such an attempt was launched a couple of years ago through the CEO Forum, functioning under the auspices of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF), it unfortunately never got off the ground due to a total lack of cooperation from the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR). Perhaps the envisaged Land Commission in the Regulation of Agricultural Landholdings Bill may create the right platform for such an approach, but that would again be dependent on how inclusively it is structured. One really wonders why certain elements in Government never bought into the idea of an inclusive land audit, or was it a case of the unknown allowing political populism and rhetoric to flourish?
 - John Purchase, Agbiz CEO

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) Ministerial Conference (MC) is the highest decision-making body of the WTO, and the 11th WTO MC is to be held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, from 8-13 December 2017 . In preparation for the WTO MC, Minister Davies hosted a consultative meeting with the constituencies of NEDLAC. Dr John Purchase, CEO of Agbiz, and the Convenor for Business in the Trade and Industry Chamber of NEDLAC, presented the position of Business - please click on 11th WTO MC Business position to peruse. Generally, there was considerable consensus between the constituencies, viz.  Government, Business and Labour, on most of the major agenda items of the upcoming 11th WTO MC. Dr Purchase will form part of the South Africa delegation to the 11th WTO Ministerial Conference and will provide the necessary feedback.

After experiencing an uptick in sunflower seed production in the 2016/17 season, the world is set to harvest a relatively smaller crop in the 2017/18 production season.
The most recent estimates from SUNSEEDMAN, a Turkish based consulting group, suggests that 2017/18 global sunflower seed production could decline to 49 million tons, down by 2% year-on-year (y/y).  This comes on the back of a decrease in area planted in the Black Sea region (Russia and Ukraine), as well as expectations of relatively lower yields in other key producing countries such as Hungary, USA, Kazakhstan and Spain, amongst others.
From a domestic front - SUNSEEDMAN estimates that South Africa's sunflower seed production could increase by 3% y/y to 900 000 tonnes, boosted by anticipations of an uptick in area plantings and higher yields.  While it is still early days for one to be sure about the next season, the weather forecasters are predicting high chances of above normal rainfall between November 2017 and January 2018, all increasing chances of another good crop in the 2017/18 production season for South Africa. More will unfold over the coming months, but there's surely some level of optimism in the domestic front - Wandile Sihlobo,  Agbiz economist provides more information in the  linked article»

The South African fuel prices could increase further on 06 December 2017. While it is relatively early to be certain about the scale, the current estimates suggest that prices of petrol and diesel might increase by 5% and 3% from the previous month. This is mainly driven by higher Brent crude oil prices, as well as a relatively weaker domestic currency. The increase will add pressure on farmers as it coincides with the planting period, particularly in the western regions for summer crops, where the optimal planting window for grains and oilseeds only closes in early January 2018. As we set out in our previous note, fuel makes up 11% of grain production costs, and a notable share is utilised during planting.  Wandile Sihlobo, Agbiz economist provides more information in the linked update»

Click here to read the daily market view on commodities and the weekly wrap.  

Survey_AGMASS The sector is faced with a wide variety of challenges, ranging from an uncertain political environment, global and local economic volatility and climate change. Therefore, it is important to analyse and determine the confidence levels in the agribusiness sector. The Agbiz / IDC Agribusiness Confidence Index is set up in such a way to ensure it measures the business confidence, which determines business decisions, and to a lesser extend capture the emotions and emotional influences on the sector. This makes it very unique and valuable. Decision-makers from within the agricultural sector, as well as from Stats SA, SARB, SAIRR, National Treasury, etc. are close observers of this Index. It is also very valuable for agribusinesses to benchmark itself against the industry's trends.
Kindly respond to the Agbiz / IDC Agribusiness Confidence Index Survey for the fourth quarter of 2017 and submit your response by Wednesday, 22 November 2017, by clicking on this link.  For more information contact Wandile Sihlobo on email: wandile@agbiz.co.za .  

Policy uncertainties coupled with weaker economic conditions are negatively affecting agribusiness's competitiveness. As a result of this, investments are also declining, subsequently impacting growth in the sector. In 2017, both the competitiveness and investments in the agribusiness sector declined to the lowest level in five years.  Sifiso Ntombela, Agbiz Head: Trade and Investment Intelligence, provides more information in the  linked article. Find also linked the full report: Measuring and analysing competitiveness in the South African agribusiness sector: Factors constraining growth and solutions»

SAIIA hosted a workshop on Monday, 6 November 2017 during which stakeholders explored the challenges and opportunities of growing both domestic and regional agro-processing value chains. SAIIA has undertaken two studies, with one focusing on macadamia nut value chains in Malawi, Mozambique and South Africa and the other focusing on oilseed value chains in Malawi, South Africa and Zambia. According to Sifiso Ntombela of Agbiz this workshop brought together relevant policy makers and stakeholders to discuss the opportunities and challenges for investment in these value chains and to provide sustainable policy recommendations that will help promote economic development in the region - Download PowerPoint presentation»
Marsh makes Cyber Risks Handbook available
Cyber risks have evolved dramatically over a very short period and should feature high on the agenda of CEO's globally. Marsh, one of the members of Agbiz, has kindly made the linked Cyber Risks Handbook available to members to peruse so that they can develop strategies and resilience in order to deal with the very real threats of hacking, and various other persistent and  significant threats. Risk Committees of companies should pay particular attention to the
DEKALB commitment stands strong
14 November 2017 was a big day for DEKALB in South Africa, the brand's new "kernel" logo and the DEKALB SA website were launched. The brand is, and always was synonymous with good quality seed coupled with excellent support and service to farmers. Kobus Steenekamp, Managing Director, Monsanto SA, underlined the fact that the DEKALB brand stands on three pillars namely: Innovation, Customer connection and Performance. He stressed that even though the landscape may change, those pillars will always stand strong in the DEKALB brand - Media release»
GIS and remote sensing in agriculture
Precision Farming is one of the latest developments in managing returns from farm assets. However, is this all-encompassing? Are there ways we can improve our decisions? With the combination of remotely sensed data
(satellite imagery, aerial photography, plus others) and GIS, decisions on farm management can be made to maximise returns and reduce costs -
20% discounted rate applies for Agbiz members
Over 600 key stakeholders are set to attend - from governments, commercial farmers, agri-businesses, financiers, project owners and the agro-processing industry - the upcoming African Agri Investment Indaba (AAII) 2017 which has been developed to connect the entire agri value chain and create a deal-making environment to allow industry stakeholders to seize the opportunity of tapping into the global US$1 trillion food market. Amongst those attending are prominent agri experts who are set to address real market opportunities across the various African regions, Africa's role in global food security, agriculture at the core of the economic diversification agenda and improving the investment environment for African agriculture - Click here for more information»

The Agricultural Business Chamber (Agbiz) is making an annual bursary of R34 000 (THIRTY-FOUR THOUSAND RAND) available to a South African student registered for a Masters or PhD degree in either agricultural economics or agribusiness management related fields, at any recognised South African university.  The c losing date for applications is 8 December 2017.  More information»
African Agri Investment Indaba (AAII) 2017
20-22 November 2017 | CTICC | Cape Town
As an official partner of the AAII, Agbiz has secured a 20% discount for its members. To make use of this offer, contact Lauren Hansen on e-mail lauren.hansen@agricouncil.org
More information

GEAR: International symposium on "Farmers' access to data"
24 November 2017 | Johannesburg
28 - 30 November |  Johannesburg
More information

BFAP ReNAPRI Stakeholder Conference
30 Nov - 1 Dec 2017 | Lagoon Beach Hotel | Cape Town
Information: invitesrenapri@gmail.com

International Conference on Global Food Security 
3-6 December 2017 | Cape Town
More information

VinPro Information Day
18 January 2018 | CTICC | Cape Town

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