20 March 2020
Agbiz participates in initiatives to best manage Covid-19

Covid-19 is an unprecedented viral disease that is and will in future have a massive impact on society and the global economy. Agbiz is participating on many fronts, and leading various food security workstreams, to mitigate the various impacts of Covid-19. To this end Agbiz is involved in the following:
  • Nedlac Exco Covid-19 Response Task Team (See Nedlac press statement and Minister Ebrahim Patel's address).
  • BUSA/BBC Covid-19 Response Task Team. A comprehensive workplan has already been developed and being implemented, focusing on four workstreams, viz. healthcare, the economy, labour and communication.
  • Agriculture Sector Task Team on Covid-19. Under the auspices of Minister Thoko Didiza, a task Team has been established to ensure both national and household food security is maintained throughout the duration of the epidemiological curve of Covid-19, which is expected to taper off in the second semester of 2020. Three workstreams have been established, viz. the economy, social impact and communication. At the heart will be to ensure continuous food availability to all at affordable prices, as well as that all supply chains need to function and that both imports and exports of agricultural goods are maintained.
Agbiz will continue to provide further information as it becomes available.
'MPC's decision to cut interest rate is the right one' - Prof. Raymond Parsons

The decision by the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) to cut the repo rate by 100 basis points is the right one to help mitigate the risks of Covid-19 to the South African economy, says North-West University Business School economist Prof. Raymond Parsons. The MPC has now followed about 50 central banks around the world that have so far already reduced interest rates and also taken other steps to offset the impact of Covid-19 on their economies. "While monetary policy is not a magic wand to eliminate the economic damage being caused by the pandemic, the South African Reserve Bank's preparedness to take positive steps on this front is welcome." Please click NWU Business School media statement to peruse.
SARS appeals for cooperation from business and stakeholders
The South African Revenue Service (SARS), following President Ramaphosa's announcement on the important and far-reaching steps to contain the spreading of the Covid-19 virus in South Africa, has provided important communication for all businesses. "As a SARS valued stakeholder and a critical partner in the tax eco system, SARS would like to request the assistance of all businesses in curbing the spread of the virus and its potential impact in the country. Please be informed that, SARS has also issued a communication to the customs and excise stakeholders on the impact of Covid-19 to the services and activities of the different ports of entries as per the president's announcement. Stakeholder management will keep you informed on how customs functionalities are affected should there be additional changes." Please click SARS letter to business and industry, and SARS letter to customs and excise stakeholders to peruse.
Agbiz Congress 2020 postponed to early next year
We all now know that we live in extraordinary times and that South Africa urgently requires a comprehensive and effective strategy to deal with Covid-19. On Sunday, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a series of measures to contain the spread of the virus in our country. This has had an obvious impact on the Agbiz Congress 2020 that was scheduled to take place from 15 to 17 July 2020 at Sun City. The congress would have included speakers from overseas and an estimated 400 delegates. The health and safety of our members, employees, and partners is our highest priority, and in response, Agbiz has taken the difficult decision to postpone the event to early 2021. As soon as the new date is confirmed, we will communicate it with you through emails and our other communication platforms. We are also in discussion with the congress service providers to reach the best possible solution for delegates, sponsors and exhibitors who have already made payments and hotel bookings, and we will inform you accordingly.
Deputy Minister of Finance announces tariffs on imported poultry
Deputy Minister of Finance David Masondo has amended the Customs and Excise Act to impose import duties on various poultry cuts.  The import duties, recommended by ITAC, increased to 62% from 37% on bone-in chicken portions, and to 42% from 12% on boneless portions. These duties came into effect on Friday, 13 March. Agbiz welcomes the increase in the tariffs as it provides improved protection against predatory imports of certain chicken cuts. Chicken imports doubled between 2010 and 2018, discouraging investment in expansion and job creation. Due to inadequate protection, the major share of increased demand has been taken up by predatory imports at the expense of especially small-scale farmers and their workers.
Unpacking the restrictions to contain coronavirus

On Wednesday 18 March, the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta), Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, published a notice in the Government Gazette setting out the measures that are now in place to curb the escalation of Covid-19. Agbiz is actively involved in the critical discussions taking place between business, labour, government and civil society organisations to manage and mitigate the effects of the pandemic. The linked article by Agbiz head of Legal Intelligence Theo Boshoff and Agbiz law and public policy intern Emily Nathi is based on the best information currently available, however additional measures may be implemented on very short notice. Agbiz will communicate with members directly as soon as new measures are put in place or their interpretation clarified.  
Expropriation of land: some questions remain

What happens to land or property that was taken for a legitimate reason to either build a road or a school but is now being used for urban settlements instead? Which can most definitely be classified as a private purpose. Or better yet, that land is now auctioned to the highest bidder as the public purpose could no longer be realised, what now? What about the landowner who gave up his land so the public can benefit? What about his rights as a landowner and his interest to the land? Do they automatically fall away as the land is expropriated? Is there any remedy for landowners who do not have any other choice but to sell the land to the government based on the Expropriation Bill? These are all the questions that need to be answered, however the Expropriation Bill does not provide any answers to this extent. Agbiz law and public policy intern Emily Nathi discusses this subject in the linked article.
Agribusiness confidence improves in Q1 of 2020
After remaining at levels below the neutral 50-point mark for six consecutive quarters, the Agbiz/IDC Agribusiness Confidence Index (ACI) improved by 6 points to 50 in the first quarter of 2020. A reading at the neutral 50-point mark or above implies that agribusinesses were relatively optimistic about business conditions. This survey of the first quarter data was conducted between the final week of February and the first week of March 2020, which is a period before the spread of Covid-19 intensified across several geographies. The ACI covers agribusinesses operating in all agricultural subsectors across South Africa. Agbiz chief economist Wandile Sihlobo shares his insights in the linked article. Click here to listen to a SAfm interview with Wandile Sihlobo on this subject.
SA food supplies are expected to hold despite Covid-19
The outbreak of Covid-19 will change the way we live our lives, without exception. The virus has raised serious concerns in society, ranging from health safety and economic conditions to essential food supplies. In the UK, US and parts of South Africa we are starting to see empty shelves as consumers stockpile in fear of disruptions to global food chains. This has given rise to questions whether South Africa could experience food shortages in the near to medium term. "I doubt that this will be the case, at least on a national level for most food products," writes Wandile Sihlobo in the linked article. He also discussed this topic in an interview on the kykNet programme Grootplaas.
Slight uptick in SA food price inflation in February 2020
The data released by Statistics South Africa earlier this week, shows that the country's food price inflation accelerated to 4.2% in February 2020, from 3.7% y/y in the previous month. This uptick was mainly underpinned by relative price rises of meat; milk, eggs and cheese; oils and fats; and vegetables. Still, this doesn't change our view that what will matter the most for the direction of food price inflation this year are developments in the grains, meat markets and fruit. These three food categories account for nearly two-thirds of South Africa's food price inflation basket. Wandile Sihlobo discusses this topic in the linked article.
Citrus industry expects record export season

Southern Africa is expected to export a record 143.3 million cartons of citrus fruit to over 100 countries in 2020. This is a 13% increase when compared to 2019, which saw 126.7 million cartons being exported, generating R20 billion in export revenue and creating 120 000 jobs. This increase should translate into more job opportunities, foreign exchange revenue and will contribute towards the national government's goal of increased agricultural exports over the next few years.The growth is largely as a result of new orchards coming into production and good rains across some regions. Please click CGA media statement to peruse.
SA Cheese Festival cancelled over coronavirus

The biggest outdoor culinary event in Africa, the 2020 South African Cheese Festival, has been cancelled due to the national ban on gatherings of more than 100 people. The popular festival would have been held for the 19th time this year from Saturday 25 to Monday 27 April 2020 at Sandringham outside Stellenbosch.  The council of Agri-Expo, the organiser of the SA Cheese Festival, has consulted widely with provincial government and other stakeholders over the past week in the face of growing concerns about the Covid-19 pandemic. Johan Ehlers, chief executive officer of Agri-Expo, thanked the festival's partners, exhibitors and supporters for their understanding and patience. "The SA Cheese Festival annually provides a platform for cheesemakers and entrepreneurs from across the country to showcase their products to up to 30 000 festival goers. The cancellation of the SA Cheese Festival will have a definite economic impact." Read more in the linked media statement.
Kaap Agri improves B-BBEE accreditation

Kaap Agri, the JSE-listed retail group trading in agricultural, fuel and related retail markets, recently completed its annual B-BBEE verification process and achieved a Level 3 BEE contributor status. This status is amongst the highest in the agricultural sector and will provide 110% BEE recognition for the procurement spend of all customers of the Kaap Agri group. Sean Walsh, Kaap Agri's managing director and CEO, says this BEE status comes as a result of prioritising a turnaround strategy to improve on the previous level 7 recognition status. Read more in the linked Kaap Agri article.
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.
News from the citrus industry

Read the latest news from the citrus industry, in the weekly newsletter of the Citrus Growers' Association of Southern Africa. Please click here to peruse.
Get the latest news from the NAMC

The National Agricultural Marketing Council shares their news and updates in the latest NAMC Newsletter. Please click here to peruse.
NSTF Plant Health discussion forum - IYPH 2020
6-7 May 2020 | Future Africa  | University of Pretoria | South St  | Koedoespoort

Transport Forum
Theme: "Answering the climate action challenge at scale"
2 April 2020  | 23 Melle Street (corner De Korte Street) Braamfontein  OR
WWF | 1st floor Bridge House | Boundary Terraces Mariendahl Lane (corner Campground Rd) Newlands
17-19  June 2020 | Cape Town International Convention Centre  | Cape Town

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

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

3rd African Symposium on Mycotoxicology joint MYTOXSOUTH conference 
6-9 September 2020 | Stellenbosch

Soya Bean for Human Consumption Symposium
17 September 2020  | Pretoria

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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