2 February 2018

The sustainability of the red meat industry in South Africa is under threat if proper support in terms of animal health on the farm is not achieved. "In addition to volatile market conditions and the importance of steady market channels, animal health is one of the critical drivers for South African livestock farmers to continue to deliver quality red meat to the market," said Mr. Koos van der Ryst, national Chairman of the Red Meat Producers' Organisation (RPO). Dedicated focus must also be given to empower entrants to the red meat industry with the necessary training and support to ensure sustainable and competitive production in order to grow the availability of high quality products. Dr John Purchase of Agbiz facilitated the two-day strategic session. Please click on press release to peruse the full statement on the RPO's strategic session.

In the 30th of January 2018, Agbiz delivered a presentation on behalf of its members to the Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry on the proposed amendments to the National Credit Act. The National Credit Amendment Bill, 2017, is unique in that it was initiated not by the Department of Trade and Industry, but by the Portfolio Committee itself. The primary aim of the Bill is to assist the most marginalised people in our economy, namely overindebted persons who earn an income of less than R7500 per month with not realisable assets. Theo Boshoff, Agbiz Head: Legal Intelligence, explains more in the linked article»
*View the Agbiz presentation here»
African farming must plot its own course 
Wandile Sihlobo,  Business Day column, 1 February 2018

Last week, I came across an  interesting article by the U.S. agricultural economist,  Jason Lusk, highlighting the disruptive trends in food and agriculture. Lusk identified  six key trends on the horizon. However, the two most notable ones were: (1)  Blockchain - an underlying technology that facilitates bitcoin trades and could be applied to many other industries; and (2)  Online food buying -  Amazon might do to food what they have done in other industries.   While I agree with  Lusk 's  sentiments,  Africa's food and agricultural sector is still developing, and it might follow a slightly different trajectory to that of developed economies in the near-to-medium term." -
Western Cape drought weighs on broader economy 

When it comes to agriculture, Western Cape is essential - not only because of its production of fine wines, but also for its contribution to South Africa's agricultural labour market and the broader economy.

The province is a leading employer in primary agriculture, commanding a share of 20 percent of the country's total agricultural labour force in the third quarter of 2017. In addition, the province is the second-largest contributor to the agricultural economy in terms of gross domestic product (GDP), with a contribution of 22 percent. It is thus clear that when the province's agriculture encounters headwinds, a lot will be at stake; the current unrelenting drought is no exception. Wandile Sihlobo, Agbiz economist, reveals more in the linked article that was published on 30 January 2018 in Huffingtonpost.

South Africa's 2017/18 initial estimates for summer crop plantings show a 7% year-on-year decline to 3.70 million hectares. White maize, sunflower seed, groundnuts and sorghum plantings are the key reason for this overall downswing. This, in turn, was driven by dry and warm weather conditions experienced in the western parts of South Africa over the past couple of weeks. 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.  

A nationally representative survey of the South African public's perceptions of biotechnology provides new insights into the position of the sector in the public sphere.  Familiarity with the concept of biotechnology, and awareness of GM food, have increased over the last decade, although these changes have occurred from a low base.  Compared to Europeans, South Africans are more positive about the health implications of GM food, less critical about the environmental impact of GM food, and more positive about the economic consequences of GM food.  Read more»
The African Union (AU) Heads of State launched an agriculture transformation scorecard at the AU Summit to track the progress of Member States in improving livelihoods, poverty reduction and food security.  

"The aim is that the Africa Agriculture Transformation Scorecard (AATS) will encourage performance across AU Member States, and also provide a tool that can be used by every actor engaged in agriculture across governments, the private sector and non-state actors," said the AU Commission's Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture (DREA) Director, Godfrey Bahiigwa.

The launch took place at the end of January at the 30th AU Summit, under the theme 'Winning the Fight against Corruption: A Sustainable Path to Africa's Transformation'.

As the first of its kind in Africa, the AATS captures the continent's agricultural progress based on a pan-African data collection exercise. The data collection, which is led by DREA, the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) and Regional Economic Communities, in collaboration with partners, has gathered data on up to 43 indicators

"No other agriculture evaluation tool in Africa's history has ever brought together the AU, all the continent's regional trade organisations, the private sector, international development community and all African governments to build Africa's agriculture and agribusiness markets," said Bahiigwa.  Read more»

Konkola Copper Mines plc ("KCM"), a subsidiary of Vedanta Resources plc, has joined forces with AFGRI Agri Services, part of AFGRI Group Holdings, and ImpactAgri (Holdings) Ltd to develop agribusiness in Chililabombwe, Zambia. Speaking at the launch of the initiative, KCM CEO Steven Din said: 'KCM is one of Zambia's leading mining companies, but our vision for opportunities on the Copperbelt extends beyond mining. We want to see the creation of new enterprises and new industries that will provide better local sourcing options for our business and greater economic opportunities for Copperbelt residents. That is why we are forming a partnership to develop agribusiness in the region.'' Please click on press statement to read more.
New Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) White Paper

Major shifts in the STI environment, both globally and locally, have motivated the development of a next-generation Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) White Paper to update South Africa's STI policy needs in response to the challenges and opportunities of this rapidly evolving environment.

To involve the business sector, the Director-General of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Dr Phil Mjwara, recently hosted a session with the business community on the latest draft of the STI White Paper. Partnerships between government and business are crucial and fundamental to the country's STI policy ambitions. New policy approaches are required to increase the contribution of STI to addressing the socio-economic challenges faced by the country. Mariana Purnell of Agbiz Grain attended the discussions and proposed recommendations for the science system with regard to agriculture.

Of major concern is the :
* poor standard of education and low pass rates which render tertiary education ineffective;
* deterioration of existing infrastructure, loss of knowledgeable staff and lack of operation capital at laboratories of former "centres of excellence" and government departments;
* strong emphasis on "publish or perish" while the actual academic education of students is not a focus implies there should be a teaching and research stream at university;
* current lack of trust between some science councils and their host departments, for which the only solution appears to be locating all science councils under DST.

Read the White Paper on Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) here»
2 018 Agbiz Congress - Registration now open

Bookings are now open for the 2018 Agbiz Congress, which will be held at the Boardwalk Convention Center in Port Elizabeth on 7 and 8 June 2018. The early bird congress registration fee is R2500 for Agbiz members and R3000 for non-members for both days. It includes excellent international and local speakers, lunch and refreshments, as well as attendance of the welcome function and gala dinner. Book before 10 March 2018 to qualify for the early bird discount rate. Accommodation can directly be arranged with the reservations office of the Boardwalk Hotel. Please reference the following block code when booking your accommodation: AGBIZGRP18.

Important dates
Agbiz Congress: 7-8 June 2018
Welcome Function: 6 June 2018
Gala Dinner: 7 June 2018
Agbiz AGM: 8 June 2018

We encourage you to visit the congress website regularly for updated congress information. To obtain more information, please  click here»

All our sponsors are important to the success of this prestigious event.  Please
click here to see who our confirmed congress sponsors are.


Agbiz will give priority to journalists:
- who work for mainstream media outlets capable of reaching large or influential audiences, 
- who have a track record of insightful coverage in areas related to the agricultural and agribusiness sector.

We are unable to consider press passes for freelancers without an assignment letter from the media for which they wish to report.   On-site registration not available.

Agbiz media relations contact person:  Jennifer Roets,  +27 12 807 6686,
2017/2018 NSTF-South32 Awards
Register nominations online before/on 9 February 2018

Intellectual Property and South African Seed Legislation Workshop
13 February 2018 | Pretoria 
15 February 2018 |Cape Town

Skills Development Summit
15-16 February 2018 | CSIR | Pretoria

SABS workshops in developing a National Standards Development Agreement (SDA) for the Agro-processing Sector
19 - 21 February 2018
More information»

Africa Energy Indaba Conference & Exhibition
20 - 21 February 2018  I  Sandton Convention Centre

Agbiz AgriBEE Information Session
21 February 2018 - Pretoria
22 February 2018 - Cape Town
More information will follow soon

Agbiz Information Session
1 March 2018 | Pretoria
More information will follow soon

Glenconnor Agricultural Association Agri Info Day
14 March 2018 | Mayogi Bomas, R75 onroute to Kirkwood

Undercover Farming Expo
7-8 March 2018 | CSIR | Pretoria
Enquiries: suzanne@pop.co.za

Landbouweekblad konferensie
Herlewingslandbou is boere se kostedoeltreffende wapen teen stygende insetkoste en klimaatsverandering
19-20 March 2017 | Reitz

GOSA Symposium 2018
22-23 March 2018 | Mossel Bay
More information

International Sorghum Conference 
9-12 April 2018 | Cape Town
More information

21 to 25 May 2018
The Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf), The World Academy of Sciences Regional Office for sub-Saharan Africa (TWAS-ROSSA) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) are seeking candidates to participate in the inaugural regional training workshop on science diplomacy to be held in South Africa.  More information

World Potato Congress
27-31 May 2018 | Peru | South America
Agbiz membership
Being a member of Agbiz provides various benefits and opportunities

- 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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