19 July 2019
Rebalancing the global economy: some progress but challenges ahead

Following the global financial crisis, overall current account surpluses and deficits fell sharply from about 6% of global GDP in 2007 to about 3.5% in 2013. Since then, as shown in the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) new External Sector Report, global current account imbalances have declined only slightly to 3% of world GDP in 2018, while rotating toward advanced economies and away from emerging economies, including China whose current account is now broadly in line with fundamentals. IMF chief economist Gita Gopinath discusses highlights of the report in the linked IMF blogpost.
New UN report reveals realities of immense global challenge

After nearly a decade of progress, the number of people who suffer from hunger has slowly increased over the past three years, with about one in every nine people globally suffering from hunger today, the United Nations said in a new report published earlier this week. This is the third year that the FAO, IFAD, UNICEF, WFP and WHO released The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World.  Recent editions of the report showed that the  decline in hunger the world had enjoyed for over a decade was at an end, and that hunger was again on the rise. This year, the report shows that the global level of the prevalence  of undernourishment has stabilised; however, the absolute number of undernourished people continues to increase, albeit slowly. Please click here  for a snapshot of the report highlighting the key messages.
Is the National Ports Amendment Bill the solution to inefficiencies?

The draft National Ports Amendment Bill, published for comment last week Friday, seeks to give effect to the 'user-pays' principle by allowing the National Ports Authority to raise revenue through levies. The pros and cons of this approach should be carefully considered when public submission on the Bill are made. It is no secret that key agricultural commodities such as citrus, deciduous fruit, wool and others are banking on demand from overseas markets to maintain growth. South Africa's climatic conditions and sophisticated production methods position us well to produce these popular commodities, but any export-led growth strategy relies on an efficient port system to facilitate trade. Sadly, disruptions and an aging infrastructure have hampered this strategy of late. Agbiz head of Legal Intelligence Theo Boshoff elaborates in the linked article.
South Africa cannot afford to ignore economic benefits of cannabis legalisation

Cannabis has now been decriminalised in over 50 countries in the world, with others joining the bandwagon.
Canada has been one of the leading countries in developing the sector, with stocks such as Canopy Growth, Aurora Cannabis, and Aphria attracting attention. Many Canadian entrepreneurs and investors have been streaming into Lesotho and some are waiting for the floodgates of this new wealth to open across the continent. Green Fund estimates that the global cannabis market is worth $150bn and the forecast by Barclays places the value of the sector at $272bn by 2028. Agbiz chief economist Wandile Sihlobo and Prof. Mzukisi Qobo, associate professor at Wits Business School, share their insights in the linked article, written for and first published in Business Day. Please click here to listen to a 702 radio interview with Wandile Sihlobo on this topic.
What to make of the latest USDA report?

If the US maize crop was at an advanced stage of growth, the latest US Department of Agriculture (USDA) report would have convinced us that the supplies will be in better shape than initially feared. Last week, the agency lifted its estimate for US maize production by 1% from June 2019 to 352 million tonnes. This improvement, coupled with an uptick of the Black Sea's production estimates led to a 1% increase in the 2019/20 global maize production estimate to 1.1 billion tonnes. This would, however, still be 2% less than the 2018/19 harvest.  But the crop is not yet at an advanced stage of development, and the production estimates could change notably in next month's update report. On 7 July 2019, only 8% of the US maize crop was at the silking stage of growth, compared to 34% in the corresponding week in 2018, and a five-year average of 22%. This is a result of late plantings in most parts of the US due to excessive wet weather conditions in the past few weeks. Wandile Sihlobo discusses this issue in the linked article.
Minister Thoko Didiza tables budget vote in Parliament

The Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Reform, Thoko Didiza, together with the deputy ministers, Mcebisi Skwatsha and Sdumo Dlamini, tabled the department's programmes implementation plans for the 2019/20 financial year during the budget vote speech on 16 July 2019.  The budget vote focused on key deliverables, outputs and covered a range of critical matters related to the mandate of the new merged department. Please click budget vote speech to peruse .
Biosecurity is key for export-led growth

Disease management remains a key aspect of South African agriculture, especially when it comes to livestock, as this industry is the greatest contributor to the sector, accounting for 51% of total production, Agbiz chief economist Wandile Sihlobo told agricultural journalists at the National Animal Health Forum (NAHF) and Agricultural Writers South Africa liaison workshop earlier this week. "For export activity to take off, biosecurity is key, considering the recent incidents of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) that resulted in a ban on beef as well as wool exports." Dr Pieter Vervoort, managing director of the NAHF, informed the members about the projects driven by the NAHF and how agricultural journalists could contribute to spread the correct message. The event was sponsored by Hollard. Please click here for Wandile Sihlobo's presentation and visit the NAHF's website for more information on their activities and projects. 
News from SAPPO

SAPPO Weekly Update is the weekly electronic newsletter of the South African Pork Producers' Organisation. Please click here for the latest edition.
PMA Fresh Connections: SA Conference and Trade Show  
30-31 July 2019 | Century City | Cape Town

Emerging Farmers and Agro Processing Conference 2019
30-31 July 2019 | CSIR International Convention Centre | Pretoria

Allergen Workshop
30 July 2019  | Emperors Palace | Kempton Park
Global Trade Show of Networking and Match-Making South Africa 2019 (GTS 2019) 
29 to 31 July 2019 | Gallagher Convention Centre | Midrand

Agbiz Grain 2019 Symposium 
14 August 2019  |  CSIR International Convention Centre | Pretoria

Global Trade Show of Networking and Match-Making South Africa 2019 (GTS 2019)
29 to 31 July 2019 | Gallagher Convention Centre | Midrand
First African Conference on Edible Insects
14-16 August 2019  | Harare | Zimbabwe

Fertasa Soil Fertility & Plant Nutrition Symposium
Theme: "Back to basics for the future"
21 & 22 August 2019  |CSIR International Convention Centre | Pretoria 
Peritum Agri-HR Summit 2019
21-22 August 2019 Bloemfontein

ARC Agri Indaba
29-30 August 2019 | Animal Production Campus Irene | Pretoria

PSA Seed Growers' Forum & PSA Congress
17 & 18 September 2019 | Cape Sun Hotel  | Cape Town

VKB Information Days
Theme: "The future of agriculture in SA"
3 October 2019  | Siesta Guesthouse  | Frankfort
4 October 2019 | Protea Hotel Ranch Resort | Polokwane

2019 AFMA Symposium
29 October 2019  | CSIR International Convention Centre | Pretoria

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

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