18 January 2019
Industry role players tackle FMD situation

In the Agbiz Newsletter of 11 January 2019, it was reported that South Africa's Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) had announced earlier in that week that there were positive laboratory results for foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) in cattle in the Vhembe district of Limpopo, bordering Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique. Therefore, South Africa has temporarily lost its FMD-free status, which would disrupt export markets for beef especially. On Sunday 13 January 2019, key role players from the private sector, including Agbiz, gathered under the auspices of the National Animal Health Forum (NAHF) to prepare for a meeting , with the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Mr Senzeni Zokwana, on Monday 14 January. The meeting was most successful and all key role players and representative organisations agreed to collaborate, also with government (DAFF) in order to regain South Africa's FMD-free status, communicate accurately and effectively to all parties concerned, and especially to consumers, and to pro-actively engage with trading partners to maintain hard-earned markets. The meeting with Minister Zokwana was similarly constructive and it was agreed to set up three Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Task Teams, viz. (i) Technical Task Team, (ii) Communications Task Team and a (iii) Trade Task Team, to address the various challenges that now face the respective industries. Agbiz will serve in the Trade Task Team as a number of its members have strong and direct interest in the beef and cloven-hoofed products trade environment. While DAFF released its own DAFF press statement with regard to the FMD situation, a joint Private Sector/DAFF statement was also released. Please click on respective links to peruse the indicated statements. DAFF also released two maps to indicate the disease management zone, which is subject to very strict regulations on movement and marketing of livestock, amongst other measures. Please click on map of disease management zone (DMZ) boundaries, as well as map of DMZ in greater Limpopo area. More detailed info will also be made available to members as the remedial actions get rolled out. 
Labour committee begins process to correct error in minimum wage law

Parliament's labour committee on Wednesday resolved to introduce an amendment bill to correct an error in the national Minimum Wage Act  that possibly leaves workers vulnerable to employers who intend to circumvent regulations. The committee, however, emphasised that the pending amendment does not mean the new law is suspended. Read more in the  linked article published by  Business Day.
Brief agricultural outlook for 2019 

Agbiz head of Agribusiness Research Wandile Sihlobo has compiled a brief
agricultural outlook for 2019. He highlighted the following take-home messages. Please  click here for the full report.
  • The South African beef sector will be under pressure in 2019 due to rising feed costs, as well as potentially slowing exports on the back of a foot-and-mouth disease outbreak.
  • From a consumer perspective, the beef industry challenges will, however, have positive short-to-medium term benefits as slowing exports would translate into an increase in domestic supply and, in turn, slow meat price inflation.
  • Our initial maize production estimate of 12.2 million tonnes will not materialise, the crop will most likely be lower due to a potential decline in area planting, as well as prospects of lower yields in late-planted areas.
  • Soybean harvest will most likely be lower than the 2017/18 production season due to similar factors as maize, which is a decline in area plantings and expectations of poor yields in some areas.
  • Sunflower seed typically surprises by doing well in seasons that are characterised by prolonged dry spells, as farmers tend to shift from maize to sunflower seed plantings in late-rain seasons. Therefore, sunflower production projections remain uncertain, at least until planting data is received.
  • The weather will continue to play a key role in the South African agricultural markets in the next three months. Thereafter, the focus will shift to winter crop producing areas. The near-term precipitation prospects are constructive (see page 6).
  • South Africa's rice imports will increase in 2019 driven by an uptick in consumption.
  • The tough production conditions in the grains and oilseeds subsectors will most likely add upward pressure on consumer prices, but we do not expect a notable uptick in headline food price inflation, as lower meat prices will somewhat overshadow the potential upswings.
SA agricultural machinery sales increased in 2018, but 2019 might show a decline

South Africa's tractor sales were up by 4% y/y in December 2018, with 434 units sold. This came as a surprise for two reasons. First, a large part of the summer grain and oilseed-growing areas experienced dryness in the months leading to December which led to a delay in planting in the western areas of South Africa. Second, December 2018 had the highest sales figure for this particular month in a dataset starting from 2014, despite the fact that there were already robust sales in the preceding months, totalling 6 246 units, 4% higher than the first 11 months of 2017. Wandile Sihlobo provides more insight in the linked article.
2019 will have beef with SA cattle farmers

The year 2019 will be challenging for South Africa's beef producers.  By the end of 2018, grain and oilseed-producing areas of the country experienced dryness, which led to delays in plantings, sparking an increase in agricultural commodity prices, particularly maize.  Maize and soybeans are key inputs in the livestock sector, with an increase in prices therefore a possible upside risk in the industry. The drier conditions also negatively affected the grazing veld in the western parts of the country, particularly the western Free State and North West. Wandile Sihlobo elaborates on these challenges in the linked article written for and first published on Fin24.
Agri industries convene at service delivery forum

Minister Senzeni Zokwana hosted sector stakeholders through his service delivery forum on 16 January 2019. The primary purpose of the Minister's Service Delivery Forum was to bring together the public and private sectors and civil society to engage on how the sector can contribute to the delivery agreement of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. The industries reported on their contribution to job creation, food security and economic empowerment. Government reported on progress on policy legislative framework, economic opportunities created and what has been done to create a conducive environment for trade. Please click here  to peruse Minister Zokwana's presentation.
Free State Agriculture ( FSA) is looking for its 24th winner of the prestigious Young Farmer of the Year competition. It was held in 1996 for the first time. The organisation appeals to all young farmers, their friends and family to make sure the best candidates are finalists this year. Entries close on 31 January 2019.  The winner walks away with a cash prize from FSA, as well as other sponsored prizes, and will automatically participate in the Toyota Agri SA National Young Farmer of the Year competition. Press release
Get the latest news from FPEF

Get all the latest news from the Fresh Produce Exporters Forum (FPEF) in the first edition of Keeping it Fresh for 2019! Please click here to peruse.
The latest news from Potatoes SA

Get all the latest news from the potato industry in the latest newsletter of Potatoes SA. Please click here  to peruse.
De Kalb Create Conference 2019
5 February 2019 | Graceland Hotel | Secunda
Contact Yolandi Stoltz: yolandi.stoltz@monsanto.com

De Kalb Create Conference 2019
7 February 2019 | Nampo Park | Bothaville
Contact Yolandi Stoltz:  yolandi.stoltz@monsanto.com

First Bi-annual International Soy for Human Health Conference 2019
11-13 March 2019 | St George Hotel | Pretoria

CGA Citrus Summit  
1 2-14 March 2019 | Boardwalk Hotel | Port Elizabeth

Global Cherry Summit 2019
25 April 2019  | Monticello Conference Center | San Francisco de Mostazal, Chile

Ensminger Pig Symposium
22-23 May 2019 | Kopanong Hotel and Conference Centre | Benoni

SA Large Herds Conference
3-5 June 2019  The Boardwalk  Port Elizabeth

13th Agribusiness Africa Conference 
10 July 2019 Premier Hotel | OR Tambo Airport
Concept programme

PMA Fresh Connections: SA Conference and Trade Show 
30-31 July 2019 | Century City | Cape Town
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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