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.
22 May 2020
The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on employment and income in South Africa
Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) is embarking on a series of three online surveys to measure the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on individuals in the country. This publication will be reporting on the second round of the survey (Wave 2), which focused on employment, income and hunger-related issues. The first round (Wave 1) focused on health-related issues, specifically on behaviour, knowledge and perceptions around Covid-19 and those results were published at the end of April 2020. The third survey (Wave 3), which is currently in development and will go live in the near future, will report on the impact that the Covid-19 pandemic has had on education and time-use of individuals. The Wave 2 survey was an online web-based survey, housed on the Stats SA website. Any person aged 18 years and older and a South African resident during the national lockdown was able to participate and complete the survey. Data collection for Wave 2 occurred during the sixth week of the national lockdown between 29 April and 6 May 2020. As respondents had already experienced more than a month in lockdown, most would have a clear indication of the impact the pandemic was having on their income and employment situation. Please click here to peruse.
Reserve Bank cuts repo rate by 50 basis points

T he South African Reserve Bank has announced a further 50 basis point cut to the repo rate as the fallout from the coronavirus continues to affect the country's economy. This takes the repo rate to a 50-year low, from 4.25% to 3.75%.  With the latest cut, the Reserve Bank has so far cut the repo rate by 250 basis points this year. The first cut, in March, was by 100 basis points, and this was followed in April with another 100 basis point cut during an emergency meeting of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting in the wake of the pandemic. Please click here for the statement of the MPC.
ASSAf states position on Covid-19 

There is an indispensable connection between science and the public trust. In the face of a pandemic, with all the fear and uncertainty of a novel virus, the credibility of governmental authority depends more than usual on winning the trust of the public. And there is no better way of maintaining that public trust than by speaking with one voice on the authority of evidence-based science and employing remedies in the pandemic that uphold the values of our Constitution.To this urgent task, the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) commits the multidisciplinary expertise of its membership in the ongoing service of advising government in these challenging times. Please click ASSAf public statement on Covid-19 to peruse.
How much will poverty rise in sub-Saharan Africa in 2020?
The ongoing coronavirus pandemic is expected to drastically slow 2020 GDP per capita growth in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) by about 5 percentage points compared to pre-pandemic forecasts. This World Bank note presents results from an analysis of a comprehensive database of surveys from 45 of 48 SSA countries to examine the effects of the project fall in growth on poverty in the region. An additional 26 million people in SSA, and as much as 58 million, may fall into extreme poverty defined by the international poverty line of US$1.90 per day in 2011 PPP. The poverty rate for SSA will likely increase more than two percentage points, setting back poverty reduction in the region by about five years.
Permit template to perform essential service amended

As was previously communicated, there is still great uncertainty as to whether or not the essential service permits issued under the first phase of the lockdown from 27 March until 30 April are still valid in alert level 4. We have raised this issue numerous times in our submission to Government but we have not been able to get a response nor have the Regulations been amended to clarify the status of the permits previously issued.  It came under my attention today that members' employees who are using the previous template have been threatened by the SAPS with arrest. Although it is a huge inconvenience, it is recommended that members issue their employees with the new permit (form 2) prescribed by the revised regulations. 
Covid-19 is a health crisis - but a looming food catastrophe, too 

The closures of meat processing plants in the US, Ireland, Canada and Brazil, due to viral outbreaks in production facilities, is now raising renewed fears that the longer the pandemic continues, the more likely it is that parts of the food chain will cease to function. The possibility of meat shortages in the global market, and the negative ripple effect in other parts of the food system linked to the meat sector, suggests that the food system remains extremely vulnerable.  The concerns around potential meat shortages - and spillovers into other parts of the food system - are putting intense pressure on political leaders to respond more aggressively, as seen in the US, where President Trump ordered meat plants to re-open to avert an inevitable spin-off crisis. Agbiz chief economist Wandile Sihlobo disucces this subject in the linked article, written for and first published on Daily Maverick.
The global wheat market is not out of the woods yet

The global wheat market is not out of the woods. While the recent data from United States Department of Agriculture and the International Grains Council brought some comfort indicating prospects of a record wheat harvest in 2020/21, estimated at 768 million tonnes, a great part of it is still in the fields (springs wheat, see production calendar here). This means there is still some level of risk to crop conditions and yields.  The case in point is the eastern European region - specifically Romania, Poland and the Czech Republic - who are currently experiencing a dry spell. Wandile Sihlobo provides more insight in the linked article.
FAO needs $350 million to avert rising hunger as countries reel from Covid-19 pandemic's impact

The UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is seeking $350 million to scale up hunger-fighting and livelihoods-boosting activities in food crisis contexts where Covid-19's impact could be devastating.  Although the pandemic's full-scale and long-term impact on food security is yet to be revealed, evidence shows that in countries already hit by acute hunger, people are increasingly struggling to have access to food as incomes fall and food prices rise. Read more in the linked FAO news article.
Implications of postponing the implementation of the AfCFTA on intra-African trade
As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to impact lives, trade and businesses all over the world, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretary-General, Wemkele Mene recently announced the postponement of the commencement of trade under the AfCFTA. Commencement of trading under the AfCFTA was initially slated for 1 July 2020 (AfCFTA Trading Date). With no new AfCFTA Trading Date announced, it is important to consider what the postponement means for Africa in light of the pandemic and the objectives of the AfCFTA. Read more in the linked article on Lexology.
An agro-processing venture trying to fix Nigeria's tomato waste problem has raised $4.2 million
Around 45% of harvested tomatoes go to waste in Africa's most populous country.  That reality is down to a mix of fundamental infrastructural gaps including inefficient cross-country transport systems and a lack of storage facilities which means local farmers can neither store the crops or distribute them at scale. As such, despite being Africa's second largest producer, Nigeria still relies on importing around half of tomatoes consumed locally. But Tomato Jos, a six-year agro-processing venture, is winning investor backing to fix that problem. Read more in the linked article on Quartz Africa.
"Seeding the great divide" webinar sparked conversation around agriculture
Daily Maverick's Work-from-Home webinar series "Seeding the great divide" featured a crucial conversation on land reform and food security in South Africa between Richard Poplak and Agbiz chief economist Wandile Sihlobo.  For those who missed the live event, or would like to share the webinar, you can access the recorded version here. The chat room was full of lively debate and commentary; for any unanswered questions or additional insights, read this article written by Daily Maverick's Ed Stoddard.
Corteva Agriscience launches solutions to improve wheat productivity in South Africa
Corteva Agriscience announced that it is launching two new post emergence wheat herbicides that will help wheat farmers effectively manage broadleaf weeds and grasses. The herbicides will be available to wheat farmers in South Africa for winter 2020.  The two new herbicides contain a leading active ingredient, Arylex™ active, a new solution to control broadleaf weeds and grasses. The company launched the products through online presentations to farmers and the market.  "We are excited to launch these two solutions in South Africa, at a time when reliable and consistent food supply is critical," said Tony Esmeraldo, business director at Corteva Agriscience. "Wheat is an important crop for local food security. We invest with farmers and consumers in mind and want to play our part to increase efforts to boost local food production." Read more in the linked Corteva media release. 
Senwes launches Agri Value Chain Food Umbrella
Senwes is uniting the agricultural value chain with the launching of the Agri Value Chain Food Umbrella. This initiative is answering the call of Agbiz to ensure food security amidst the disrupted economic activities due to the lockdown, as a result of the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. In support of Agbiz's Food Relief Project, Senwes acted as the driving agent by encouraging other major role players in the agricultural sector to volunteer their contributions. This initiative strives to curb the surge of hunger and desperation experienced in poor communities where the devastating effects of the lockdown will be much more prevalent. Click on Senwes media release to peruse.
PMA Talks: Southern Africa on Covid-19
Fresh fruits
This week's PMA Talks: Southern Africa, focused on the changing patterns of consumer consumption and how role players in the fresh produce supply chain are adjusting to these changing needs.The participants were Dawie Maree of FNB Agriculture, Karin Du Chenne and Norman Reyneker of Kantar, and Emmie Pietersen of Peritum Agri Institute.  Anouk Sijmonsma, PMA regional vice-president for Southern Africa facilitated the session. Read the detailed summary of the webinar.
Anton Kruger takes over South African presidency of SHAFFE

Anton Kruger, CEO of the Fresh Produce Exporters' Forum (FPEF), took over the South African presidency of the Southern Hemisphere Association of Fresh Fruit Exporters (SHAFFE) from Dr Konanani Liphadzi who has left Fruit South Africa after more than five years as CEO of the organisation. "In line with the SHAFFE statues, which only provide for elections for the country of presidency but not bound to personal decisions, the South African presidency will from now on be concluded by Anton Kruger until the next Annual General Meeting in February 2021 during Fruit Logistica Berlin, where the next elections will take place. The SHAFFE secretariat welcomes Anton as new president and looks forward to continue the fruitful discussion on the growth of the organisation." 
Weekly newsletter from CGA

Justin Chadwick, CEO of the Citrus Growers' Association of Southern African,  shares the latest news in the citrus industry in his weekly update -  From the desk of the CEO . Please  click here  to peruse. 
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 mohair industry

The South African Mohair Cluster (SAMC) teams continue to drive progress, while adopting a flexible approach to navigating current challenges. The May 2020 newsletter provides you with an update on their current focus, as well as projects that have concluded or have commenced. To view our May 2020 newsletter, please click here .
Virtual discussion on the agri value chain sparks debate around challenges and opportunities

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 @ 16:00.  This platform will continue to be open to anyone who would like to join the virtual discussions in the new revolutionary series and follow these informative sessions with the different role players in the agriculture value chain. Please visit the link to register and to access the platform for more information on the topics and panellists. The first six sessions are ready for you 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

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.

                                      Like us on Facebook            Follow us on Twitter            View our profile on LinkedIn                                    
The Agbiz Newsletter may contain a few links to websites that belong to third parties unrelated to us.  By making these links available, we are not endorsing third-party websites, their content, products, services or their events.  Agbiz seeks to protect the integrity of its newsletter and links used in it, and therefore welcomes any feedback.
In this newsletter