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.
19 June 2020
The South African Reserve Bank, the coronavirus shock,
and 'the age of magic money'

S outh African Reserve Bank (Sarb) governor Lesetja Kganyago on Thursday said the country had nearly all the ingredients needed to obtain growth and create jobs and lift itself out of poverty.  Kganyago was speaking in a virtual lecture for the Wits School of Governance.  He said the Covid-19 pandemic had had a devastating effect on growth, but the country could turn the situation around. Please click here for a transcript of the lecture.
IEA recovery plan proposes investment in clean energy technologies

Since the scale of the economic crisis triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic began to emerge, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has been leading the calls for governments to make the recovery as sustainable and resilient as possible. This means immediately addressing the core issues of global recession and soaring unemployment - and doing so in a way that also takes into account the key challenge of building cleaner and more secure energy systems. In response to calls from governments around the world, the IEA has produced a Sustainable Recovery Plan for actions that can be taken over the next three years. This detailed plan is focused on cost-effective measures that could be implemented during the specific timeframe of 2021 to 2023. It spans six key sectors - electricity, transport, industry, buildings, fuels and emerging low-carbon technologies. The plan takes into account national and international objectives for long-term growth, future-proofed jobs and sustainable development goals. Based on rigorous analysis conducted in co-operation with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Sustainable Recovery Plan has three main goals: boosting economic growth, creating jobs and building more resilient and cleaner energy systems. Please click Sustainable Recovery Plan to peruse.
B4SA trying to resolve issues around TERS

Employers and employees are experiencing serious delays in receiving the expected payments from the Unemployment Insurance Fund's Temporary Employer/Employee Relief Scheme (TERS) for May. Business for South Africa (B4SA) representatives who have been responsible for engaging the Department of Employment and Labour and the UIF leadership about the scheme over the last three months are extremely concerned about the situation as it has developed. B4SA has stated that its representatives have been making every effort to establish the cause of the delay. "As far as we can tell, the UIF's administrative infrastructure and IT issues are at the root of the delays. Throughout the process, business has offered to make available its resources to assist. Those offers have been taken up on occasion, though not recently. We are escalating our concerns to higher levels. We hope these problems will be resolved soon and that the payments will be forthcoming at the earliest opportunity." 
How the Covid-19 lockdown impacted agricultural ecosystems in Africa
The agriculture sector, like so many other, has not gone untouched by Covid-19. Even though the value chain is categorised as an essential service during the lockdown period, what impact did it had on this sector and what does the future of agriculture look like for Africa? Joining CNBC Africa for this discussion is Wandile Sihlobo, chief economist at Agbiz, Christo van der Rheede, deputy executive director for AgriSA, Ada Osakwe, chief executive of Nuli Juice and Kola Masha, managing director at Babban Gona. Please click here to watch the discussion.
Carbon Tax payments deferred to October

Liability for Carbon Tax started running in June 2019 but the first date for payment to take place was originally intended to be 1 July 2020 as Carbon Tax liability is calculated on an annual basis. With the Covid-19 outbreak and associated lockdown, regulators realised that this date would not be feasible as the period between the submission of greenhouse gas emission information (March 2020) and the first payment date (1 July) was characterised by most companies liable for the tax shut down. Reconciliation, verification and certification by the Department of Environmental Affairs would ordinarily be required by SARS but this would simply be impossible during this time. As such, the date for first payments has been shifted to 1 October 2020. This will hopefully assist carbon tax-paying companies with cashflow constraints but it can also assist the regulator as critical regulations relating to certain rebates are still outstanding. The notice published by SARS is linked
There's no need to reinvent the wheel to boost growth in agriculture

The South African agriculture sector has the potential to be among the sectors that will drive economic growth and job creation during the post-Covid-19 recovery phrase. The path to realise this growth does not need new policies.  The South African government should rather recast its vision of agricultural development using chapter six of the National Development Plan as a point of departure. Agbiz chief economist Wandile Sihlobo discusses this subject in the linked article, written for and first published on Fin 24.
The USDA lifts its forecasts for 2020/21 grains production

This past week the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) released an update of its World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report. Our interest in it is primarily maize, wheat, rice and soybeans, specifically the 2020/21 production season estimate. The agency followed a similar path as the International Grains Council (IGC) and lifted the production estimates of all the aforementioned commodities from levels reported last month, placing maize, wheat and rice at record levels. This suggests that the reports of dryness in parts of Europe and the US might not have been as severe as previously feared. Wandile Sihlobo discusses the latest data in the linked article.
Agribusiness confidence fell to the lowest level since the 2009 financial crisis

The Agbiz/IDC Agribusiness Confidence Index (ACI) fell from the 50-point mark in the first quarter of the year to 39 in the second quarter. This is the lowest level since the third quarter of 2009, at the height of the global financial crisis. A level below the neutral 50-point mark implies that agribusinesses are downbeat about prevailing business conditions in South Africa. The ongoing Covid-19 crisis is primarily a health shock, but its impact on the economy has been severe and these sentiment results are a reflection of that. This second-quarter survey was conducted between the final week of May and the first week of June 2020. The ACI covers agribusinesses operating in all agricultural subsectors across South Africa. Wandile Sihlobo discusses the survey data in the linked article.
The Great Lockdown through a global lens
The Great Lockdown is expected to play out in three phases, first as countries enter the lockdown, then as they exit, and finally as they escape the lockdown when there is a medical solution to the pandemic. Many countries are now in the second phase, as they reopen, with early signs of recovery, but with risks of second waves of infections and re-imposition of lockdowns. Surveying the economic landscape, the sheer scale and severity of the Global Lockdown are striking. Most tragically, this pandemic has already claimed hundreds of thousands of lives worldwide. The resulting economic crisis is unlike anything the world has seen before, writes Gita Gopinath, economic counsellor and director of the Research Department at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in the linked IMF blogpost.
Global poverty: coronavirus could drive it up for the first time since the 1990s

As Covid-19 slows in developed countries, the virus's spread is speeding up in the developing world. Three-quarters of new cases detected each day are now in developing countries. And as the pandemic spreads, governments face juggling the health consequences with economic ones as this shifts to becoming an economic crisis. Research shows that the poverty impact of the crisis will soon be felt in three key ways. There is likely to be more poverty. It is likely to become more severe. And as a consequence, the location of global poverty will also change. Read more in the linked article, first published on The Conversation.
John Deere launches online platform

John Deere sub-Saharan Africa has launched an online programme called Tech Terrain, which will bring industry experts together to share their insights on a weekly basis. This comes in light of many major agricultural shows having been postponed or cancelled amid Covid-19, but the need remaining for John Deere to continue communicating with the agricultural community about services, products and broader industry developments. Tech Terrain will explore several topics affecting growth and sustainability in the agricultural sector. It will be available online from 25 June and viewers only have to register to get access to all the content. Read more in the linked media statement.
Latest report on maize crop quality available
The Maize Crop Quality Report - 2018/2019 production season has been released by the South African Grain Laboratory (SAGL). During the 2019 harvesting season, a representative sample of each delivery of maize at the various grain intake points was taken according to the prescribed grading regulation. A total of 808 composite samples, representing white and yellow maize of each production region, were received and analysed to determine the quality. The samples consisted of 404 white and 404 yellow maize samples. The maize crop quality data is available at this link on the SAGL website.
Get the latest news from the FPEF

Keeping it Fresh, the newsletter of the Fresh Produce Exporters' Forum, contains all the recent relevant news and developments. 
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.
Ins and outs of the informal trade sector in South Africa

Session 9 of the Agri Value Chain Virtual Discussion Series zooms in on the informal trade sector in South Africa. Senwes, in collaboration with the Agricultural Business Chamber (Agbiz), hosted a virtual discussion series on the agricultural value chain. The virtual discussion series 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. Eight sessions are ready to view. Registered participants will be alerted by SMS when a new session becomes available. 

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

MPO webinar on the sensory evaluation of cheeses
24 June @ 10:00-12:00.
More information: Julie on 083 740 2720 or julie@mpo.co.za.

Climate Smart Agriculture & International Trade Opportunities for South Africa
1-2 July 2020 | Zoom workshop
More information: francois.fouche@tradeadvisory.co.za

2020 AgriAllAfrica Agribusiness Conference and Exhibition
Theme: "Pioneering new agri horizons"
5 - 6 August 2020 | Diamond hall, CSIR | Pretoria
Enquiries: Marianna.duplessis@gmail.com | +27 063 076 9135

PMA Fresh Connections: Southern Africa Conference and Trade Show
19-20 August 2020  Sun Arena, Time Square, Menlyn Maine, Pretoria

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

Soya Bean for Human Consumption Symposium
17 September 2020  | Pretoria

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
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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