18 October 2019
The world economy: synchronized slowdown, precarious outlook

The global economy is in a synchronized slowdown and we are, once again, downgrading growth for 2019 to 3%, its slowest pace since the global financial crisis, according to IMF chief economist Gita Gopinath in the linked IMF blogpost. Growth continues to be weakened by rising trade barriers and increasing geopolitical tensions. We estimate that the US-China trade tensions will cumulatively reduce the level of global GDP by 0.8% by 2020. Growth is also being weighed down by country-specific factors in several emerging market economies, and by structural forces, such as low productivity growth and aging demographics in advanced economies.  
Agbiz participates in briefing on Eskom

Prof. Anton Eberhard, chairman of the Presidential Eskom Sustainability Task Team and energy guru from Cape Town University, this week provided BUSA and its members, including Agbiz, a high-level feedback report on the current status of Eskom and the challenges it faces. Please click on Eskom Presentation to peruse. Given that the situation is dire and that hard and difficult decisions need to be made by cabinet, BUSA released a press statement highlighting the challenges and the need to act proactively so that businesses, including agribusinesses, have the opportunity to ensure their own energy security. Please click on BUSA Press Statement on Eskom to peruse. The situation has already deteriorated markedly from 2018 and it is imperative that agribusiness leaders are aware of the potential risks they face. BUSA is engaging continuously with government to address this critical situation. This week has already also marked the return of load shedding, and this will probably and intermittently be with us now for the next three years at least (see graph on Eskom Medium Term System Adequacy Outlook indicating 4 000 MW to 5 000 MW shortage). 
UK and EU agree draft Brexit deal 

Britain and the European Union agreed to new terms for the UK's exit from the bloc on Thursday this week, paving the way for a high-stakes vote in the British Parliament to ratify the agreement. The accord was endorsed by the leaders of the 27 EU countries at a summit in Brussels. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson now faces the formidable challenge of winning backing for the deal from the UK Parliament. In a setback for the deal's prospects, a political party (Democratic Unionist Party) allied to his government has indicated that it wouldn't support the deal. The most important terms deal firstly with the Northern Ireland conundrum. On customs, both sides agreed to a remarkable balancing act: Northern Ireland will officially be part of the UK's customs territory, meaning that it applies UK tariffs and can participate in future British trade deals, but at the same time the EU-UK customs border is placed in the Irish Sea, meaning that de facto Northern Ireland follows the EU's customs rules. The new trading arrangements will take effect immediately after the Brexit transition period ends in December 2020, and without any vote of consent in Northern Ireland. But after four years, Northern Ireland will have a say. Devising a mechanism of democratic consent underpins the deal and has been one of the major sticking points in negotiations. The UK will furthermore pay the EU a divorce settlement of €36,3 billion. Exactly how the proposed deal will impact on South Africa's agricultural exports to the UK still has to be determined, but given the pro-active negotiations between the governments of South Africa and the UK on the Brexit issue, no major fallout is expected at all.
2019 International Property Rights Index (IPRI) released
Property rights are a key ingredient for economic and social prosperity. "Poor property rights ecosystems," writes economist Hernando de Soto, keep "six billion people and their $9.3 billion in capital locked out of the formal economy." Lorenzo Montanari, the executive director of Property Rights Alliance, said "property rights are human rights, without them people are restrained in how they act, how they speak, and how they participate in the economy." Secure property rights have robust correlations with other indicators of economic freedom and social well-being. If people are confident their property is safe: that they can purchase, sell, and value their properties in a free marketplace - it invites entrepreneurship, reduces corruption, increases civic participation, and raises long term investment in research and development. 

Key findings
Among the key findings: United States experienced increases in all categories and moves past Denmark and the United Kingdom on the way from 14th to 12th in property rights protections overall. The United States leads the world in copyright and patent intellectual property protections. South Africa continues its steep decline from 26th in 2017 to 48th in 2019. Last year South Africa saw the steepest drop (-.65 points); this year it experienced the second largest drop (-.27 points), behind Rwanda (-.29) and before Qatar (-.25), for continued land expropriation without compensation plans. In Asia, increases in property rights, notably by China (36%), Indonesia (30%), and the Philippines (20%) since the Index began in 2007 have helped billions reach moderate levels of protection. Please click on 2019 IPRI Press Statement and  2019 IPRI Executive Summary to peruse.
Food insecurity could be reduced in SA if public and private sectors work together
As we commemorate World Food Day in honour of the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in 1945, we should take a moment to reflect on South Africa's standing on the global food security ladder. Food security is achieved when three objectives are met: (1) food is available; (2) food is accessible; and (3) food quality ensures appropriate nutritional uptake for all citizens at all times. In 2018, South Africa has ranked the 45th most food-secure country out of 113 countries measured in The Economist Global Food Security Index, which was a one point lower than the previous year. Agbiz chief economist Wandile Sihlobo discusses this subject in the linked article, written for and first published in Business Day.
Agbiz Centenary Bursary promotes postgraduate research

In celebration of a number of Agbiz members who celebrated their 100 years existence, an annual Agbiz Centenary Bursary Fund was established. The primary objective of the bursary is to promote master's, or PhD level research in agribusiness related fields and Agbiz certainly is proud to be associated with and supporting the set research of Agbiz Centenary Bursary holders.  The annual bursary of R36 000.00 is available to a South African student registered for a master's or PhD degree in either agricultural economics or agribusiness management related fields, at any recognised South African university. Terms and conditions apply. More information is available here.
The economic cost of devaluing "women's work"

As much as half of the world's work is unpaid. And most of it is done by women.  This imbalance not only robs women of economic opportunities. It is also costly to society in the form of lower productivity and forgone economic growth. It follows that a fairer allocation of unpaid work would not only benefit women, but would also lead to more efficient work forces and stronger economies.  For these reasons, reducing gender imbalances in unpaid work is part of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The linked IMF blogpost explores this subject further.
Internship available in crop genetics for BSc and MSc students in Saudi Arabia

This internship call is made via the Visiting Student's Research Program for a talented student to gain hands-on training in cereal genomics at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia.It offers training in cutting-edge genomics with access to outstanding facilities.  The internship is with the research group of Prof. Krattinger in the faculty of Plant Science. His research group has developed novel and rapid gene cloning approaches that combine the latest developments in genomics, molecular biology and bioinformatics. This internship offers the possibility to learn these novel approaches and to be actively involved in a hands-on gene cloning project. It i s aimed at any talented student/graduate who would like to spend a few months gaining training in crop genetics at KAUST. The ideal candidate should be an open-minded final year BSc or MSc student/graduate with a willingness to learn.  This is a fully funded program. Find more details here . Please apply via this link before 1 December 2019.
Food and agri executive management programme at Cornell

Cornell University and Sathguru's Food and Agri Executive Management Programme (AMP) is the most comprehensive executive programme that facilitates the awareness of best practices in agriculture and food production. The programme offers intensive sessions on cross-cultural and cross-enterprise approaches for senior agri and food business executives through case studies, panel discussions, interactions with government and representatives of the integrated food chain system. AMP 2020, to be held from 2 to 13 August 2020 on the picturesque campus of Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, will provide  deeper interaction with world renowned faculty and experiential learning through guided visits to farms and enterprises that have excelled in the agri and food sector. Please click here  for more information
Agri NW and NWK extend helping hand to drought-stricken areas

Farmers in the drought-stricken far western parts of North West have expressed their heartfelt gratitude towards Agri NW and NWK. They have collaborated to supply these needy farmers with animal feed, chicken manure, maize crop residue and beans.
The last of 10 loads were transported and distributed last week. Numerous farmers of Lichtenburg, Hartbeesfontein, Skuinsdrif and Vermaas have each donated loads of about 52 bales which have been transported to Jakkalskop, Leniesdeel and Tosca since late August. Media release
KZN dairy farmer wins the MPO Nedbank Stewardship Awards 2019

Sandra Berning of Springvale Farm near Rosetta in KwaZulu-Natal was announced as the winner of the prestigious MPO Nedbank Stewardship Award at the MPO gala dinner on Wednesday, 9 October. The event was held during the AgriExpo Livestock at Sandringham, near Stellenbosch. The MPO Nedbank Stewardship Award, supported by the Worldwide Fund for Nature, recognises dairy farmers who are excellent stewards of their product, the people and animals on the farm, and the environment, whilst farming profitably.  Media release
Free State Agriculture deeply concerned about load shedding

"Free State Agriculture (FSA) expresses its serious concern about the latest wave of load shedding, as this has, among other things, major negative effects on food security. We also call on the government to make the problem a first priority and to address it as soon as possible." This is according to Francois Wilken, president of FSA, after load shedding was re-introduced across South Africa. He believes farmers and suppliers remain on the losing side and load shedding could have "catastrophic consequences for food production and the agricultural sector." Eskom began implementing Phase 2 load shedding on 16 October 2019 and it continued on 17 October 2019. Media release
Get the latest news from SAPPO

For the latest news from the South African Pork Producers' Organisation, please click SAPPO Weekly Update to peruse.
Seats for Agbiz information days are selling fast, book yours today

Agbiz will once again be hosting information days in Pretoria and Paarl during  November to inform role players and stakeholders of the current challenges in  the policy and legislative environment, as well as highlight developments and opportunities in the  agribusiness sector.  Prof. Ferdi Meyer, director of the Bureau for Agricultural Policy (BFAP), and  Theo Venter, political and policy specialist and lecturer at the NWU Business School, will be guest speakers. 

PLEASE NOTE - The Agbiz Information Day, scheduled to be hosted in Klerksdorp on 1 November, has been postponed to early 2020. 

Agbiz Congress 2020 registration now open

It is our pleasure to inform you that the Agbiz Congress 2020 will be held at Sun City in North West from 15 to 17 July 2020.  Held every second year, the Agbiz Congress 2020 is one of the major events on the food, feed, fibre and wine sectors' agenda in South Africa. We anticipate attracting more than 400 delegates to the 2020 congress, which will feature presentations and discussion panels from local and international speakers, as well as a student case competition and various networking opportunities.

Themed "Building resilient and sustainable agri-food ecosystems", the congress will provide the key forum for identifying the critical developments needed over the coming decades to ensure agri-food value chains are managed sustainably for the benefit of current and future generations. New practices, methods and technologies are required to build robust and inclusive value chains, and thus sustainable agri-food networks and food security.

Don't miss out on this exciting opportunity to engage in these critical discussions, and showcase and promote your business on the agribusiness stage. We are looking forward to seeing you at the Agbiz Congress 2020 from 15 to 17 July 2020 at Sun City!

Please click here for more information and to register.
Workshops on AARTO legislation

The AARTO legislation has remained in the news over the last few weeks, and everyone is awaiting the implementation of the legislation. The  Road Traffic Infringement Authority (RTIA)  indicated that the Regulations, in terms of the AARTO  Act, as it is amended by Act 4 of 2019, will be published by the end of September 2019. AARTO w orkshops are scheduled for middle October 2019 onwards.
2019 AFMA Symposium
29 October 2019  | CSIR International Convention Centre | Pretoria

4.0 Industrial Revolution Agri Tech Conference 2019
28-29 November 2019  | The Lanzerac | Stellenbosch
More information
Africa Agri Tech South Africa
18-20 February 2020  | Time Square | Menlyn Maine | Pretoria

AFMA Forum 2020
Theme: "Explore today for a better tomorrow"
3-5 March 2020 | Sun City | South Africa

Skills Development Summit & Achiever Awards 
4-5 March 2020 | CSIR Convention Centre | Pretoria
Contact  Gordon Campbell: gordon.campbell@skillssummit.co.za

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

Agbiz Congress 2020
Theme: "Building resilient and sustainable agri-food ecosystems".
15 - 17 July 2020 | Sun City Convention Centre | South Africa
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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