20 September 2019
BUSA comments on Treasury's Economic Policy Paper

National Treasury recently released its Economic Policy Paper for public comment. While Agbiz has commented on the agriculture and agribusiness matters raised in the document (see the next article), Business Unity South Africa (BUSA) has commented more comprehensively on the Policy Paper by National Treasury. To quote: "BUSA applauds Treasury's innovative thinking and willingness to systematically, holistically and directly confront the policy inertia constraining economic growth, as well as the refreshingly pragmatic and unideological approach of the document. This signals to business that government is escaping set paradigms to develop workable solutions for unlocking economic growth. BUSA is also encouraged that the National Development Plan (NDP) serves as a starting point to outline the key themes covered in the policy paper. BUSA has previously endorsed the NDP and has consistently called for its implementation." To peruse the detailed comments of BUSA, please click on BUSA's comments on NT's Economic Policy Paper. To peruse Treasury's Policy Paper, please click on  NT Economic Policy Paper.
Agbiz drafts response to National Treasury's Economic Policy Discussion Paper

"We congratulate the National Treasury for drafting the economic policy discussion paper. We view it as a right step towards formulating policies that could lift South Africa's economic fortunes if implemented efficiently. While the paper sets out a wide range of proposals which cover a number of sectors, our comments will be limited to our industry, which is the agricultural sector section of the paper," says Dr John Purchase, Agbiz CEO. You can access Agbiz comments to National Treasury's Economic Policy Paper on this link.
Unchanged interest rates a lost opportunity to send a more positive message - Prof. Raymond Parsons

With unchanged interest rates at this stage the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) has lost an opportunity to send a more positive signal to business and consumers, given the very low levels of confidence, says Prof. Raymond Parsons of the NWU Business School. There is indeed room for a further interest rate cut on the basis of the MPC's own presentation of relevant data around the balance of risks. The combination of a weak domestic economy, the reduced inflation risk, and an easing global interest-rate cycle justify a further reduction in borrowing costs at present. To peruse please click NWU press release.
IFAMA 2020 - call for paper abstract submission

At the IFAMA 2020 conference in Rotterdam, home of the biggest port in Europe, today's pressing food and agricultural challenges will be addressed drawing upon the triple helix expertise of academics, business and government. Societal, human development challenges and goals mean that companies in agri-food need to transform, impacting their daily operations but also their future strategic outlooks. The conference will host multiple stakeholders of the global food system and include academia, business as well as combined (discussion) sessions and panels. Moreover, we expect around 30 international student teams to compete in the renown IFAMA student case competition. The IFAMA 2020 organisers invite you to submit a paper abstract. Deadline for submission of abstracts is 15 October. Click on paper abstract submission for specifications papers should meet in order to be considered and on IFAMA 2020 for more information on the conference.
South Africa's agribusiness confidence improves marginally in Q3, 2019

After falling to 44 points in the second quarter of this year, the Agbiz/IDC Agribusiness Confidence Index (ACI) marginally improved to 46 points in the third quarter. Despite the small uptick, a level below the neutral 50-point mark implies that agribusinesses are still downbeat about business conditions in South Africa, which is precisely the case with third-quarter results. The survey was conducted between 30 August and 10 September 2019 and comprised agribusinesses operating in all agricultural subsectors across South Africa. You can access the full statement and the link to the data here.
Western Cape wheat farmers look to skies as rain dries up
Farming is proving to be one of the more challenging vocations in South Africa because of the ever-changing risk environment. Not only must farmers monitor economic conditions, changing consumer preferences and social dynamics, but the weather is proving to be the most unpredictable aspect of all.  An example is the Western Cape, where weather forecasters predicted the possibility of above-normal rainfall in 2019, and wheat farmers in that province worked hard to ensure they planted whatever good land they could find, in the hope that higher rainfall would lead to a better harvest and an improvement in their fortunes after years of drought. Agbiz chief economist Wandile Sihlobo discusses this subject in the linked article,  written for and first published in  Business Day .
South African soybean crushing plants not fully utilised

If there is one crop that South Africa has managed to lift its production in the recent past it is soybeans. Its production has grown significantly since the dawn of democracy, from 67 700 tonnes in the 1993/94 production season to 1.6 million tonnes in 2017/18. This was stimulated by the growing demand for soybean oilcake, or meal, by the animal feed industry. This, in turn, has been driven by an increase in the demand for high protein food, particularly poultry products. Wandile Sihlobo explores this subject in the linked article.
A brief comment on South Africa's food price inflation

South Africa's food price inflation accelerated to 3.8% y/y in August 2019, from 3.0% y/y in July. This uptick was mainly underpinned by notable increases in meat and grains price inflation. Agbiz chief economist, Wandile Sihlobo, remarked that this came as no surprise as prices at farm levels had been elevated for some time specifically in the case of grains. See the linked video clip for Wandile Sihlobo's comment on food price inflation data 
CST-SA's matchmaking event a big success

Cereal Science & Technology - Southern Africa (CST-SA), a non-profit association of individuals who are actively involved in the science and technology of cereals, has firmly established itself in the grains and oilseeds industry as the link between students and their future employers. Under the auspices of the CST-SA Chair, Mariana Purnell (also General Manager of Agbiz Grain), the first industry "matchmaking event" was held on 10 September 2019 and proved to be a very successful item on the industry calendar. Sponsors for the Meet & Greet evening were the South African Cultivar & Technology Agency (SACTA), The Maize Trust, The Sorghum Trust and the Sasol Agriculture Trust. To read more, please follow this link.
CST-SA hosts third New Voices Symposium

Cereal Science & Technology - Southern Africa (CST-SA) hosted its third biennial New Voices Symposium on 11 September 2019. The main purpose of New Voices Symposium is to give MSc and PhD students studying cereal science the opportunity to present papers at a national level. CST-SA presented two awards at this event - for the best PhD presentation and for the best MSc presentation. A record number of 28 students presented their research to study leaders and peers. CST-SA Chair, Mariana Purnell (also General Manager of Agbiz Grain), announced the winners at the end of the one-day symposium. Please click here for more information on the winners and their presentations.
AFMA hosts 72nd Annual General Meeting

A focus on qualifications rather than competencies in the education system is hurting the ability of people to perform optimally, the Animal Feed Manufacturers Association's (AFMA's) 72nd annual general meeting (AGM) was told recently. At the meeting, held at the Arabella Hotel and Spa in Kleinmond, Western Cape on 13 September, the audience of more than 100 AFMA members, leaders from industry organisations, academia, and government officials were told that qualifications and competencies must be aligned if the country is to meet the demands of employers. Agbiz CEO Dr John Purchase was a guest speaker and he shared his insights into the South African agricultural sector based on the risks and challenges in the political economy environment, investor confidence and growth in agriculture, food security, and developments in the legislative and policy environment. He told delegates that the primary concern in South Africa is the lack of GDP growth and decline in competitiveness. Other priorities concern inequality, unemployment, land and water reform, crime and security issues and state capabilities. AFMA press release
SA farmers concerned about live cattle exports from Botswana

The South African Red Meat Producers' Organisation (RPO) has expressed serious concern about the announcement by the Ministry of Agriculture in Botswana that the country will be opening its borders to live cattle exports with immediate effect. This trade directive, issued by the Botswana government, would be in effect until 31 March 2020, and included exports to South Africa, according to Gerhard Schutte, CEO of the RPO. He said that while this was permitted in terms of the free trade agreement between members of the South African Development Community (SADC), it could result in a drop in local prices, putting further financial pressure on local commercial and developing cattle farmers. Please click here to read the complete article published in Farmer's Weekly.
How a Chinese tycoon caused misery for Lesotho's wool farmers 
Mohlalefi Moteane runs his wool and mohair brokerage out of his veterinary practice, housed in a small building on a dirt road in Maseru, the ramshackle capital of Lesotho.  When a young Chinese business-person visited in 2012 asking to join the business, Moteane turned him away. He saw no need for taking on a partner he didn't know. Six years later the same business-person, Guohui Shi, and his Lesotho Wool Centre were awarded a monopoly over the wool and mohair trade in Lesotho, meaning Moteane and other small brokers would have to shut down. Please click here to peruse the complete Famer's Weekly article.
BKB appoints new managing director

BKB recently announced that  Johan Stumpf will take over the reins from Wolf Edmayr as managing director of BKB on 1 February 2020.  Johan holds B.Eng (Industrial) (Cum Laude), B.Eng (Hons) (Industrial) and MBA (Cum Laude) degrees from the University of Pretoria, and has executive management experience in the agricultural and manufacturing sectors. He is currently a member of the JSE-listed packaging company Mpact Ltd's executive committee, and is responsible for the paper packaging business within Mpact. Prior to joining Mpact, he was group managing director of the Klein Karoo Group, as well as group managing director of the Sundays River Citrus Company.
Big promises, few results: Chinese farms falter in Uganda

Rising Chinese agricultural investments in Africa have sparked fierce international controversy, excoriated by critics as colonial plunder and hailed in Beijing as productive and beneficial to local farmers. The view from Luwero, 50 miles north of the Ugandan capital, Kampala, suggests that neither version is accurate. The picture here, at two different Chinese-owned farms, is rather one of inaction and incompetence. These projects fly under the radar, compared with China's high-profile Belt and Road Initiative. But what was first touted as major progress in the making is seen by locals as merely an obstacle to individual livelihoods. Please click here for the complete article.
Climate change report reinforces importance of Bayer's sustainability efforts

The Global Commission on Adaption recently launched a new report arguing that the world needs to invest $1.8 trillion over the next 10 years to adapt to climate change. The commission was established last year by government, business and industry leaders to encourage the development of measures to manage the effects of climate change through technology, planning and investment. Agriculture is identified as a major area for investment in a chapter entitled "Food Security and Livelihoods of Small-Scale Producers". Please click on the media release launching the report and Bayer's statement to peruse.
Get the latest news from Fruit SA

For the latest news on activities in the fruit industry, please click  Fruit SA's newsletter  to peruse.
Keeping it Fresh keeps you updated

The latest edition of Keeping it Fresh , the Fresh Produce Exporters' Forum's (FPEF) newsletter, shares some of the recent relevant news and developments in a summarised format.
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.
Inaugural Agribusiness and Eco-tourism Forum, Angola-South Africa
26 & 27  September 2019 | CTICC | 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

Vehicle Telematics and Intelligent Mobility Conference
17-18 October 2019 | Emperors Palace Convention Centre | Kempton Park

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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