22 November 2019
Agricultural writers honour Agbiz CEO with special award

Agbiz CEO Dr John Purchase received the Agricultural Personality of the Year Award from Agricultural Writers SA at their awards ceremony in Pretoria last week in recognition of his dedication and service to the agricultural sector.  At the same event, South Africa's top contributors to agriculture also received accolades. The event, sponsored by Bayer, Rovic Leers, Santam Agri and Sanlam gives recognition to the work of those that seek to elevate food security and rural economies. Nick Serfontein from the Free State has been named the Farmer of the Year, Buks Nel from the Western Cape is the Agriculturalist of the Year and Dirk Louw from the Northern Cape is the New Entrant to Commercial Agriculture Award winner. Agricultural Writers SA press release
Science and technology in agriculture under the spotlight at Pretoria event

Africa Agri Tech (AAT) is a three-day technology conference and expo featuring future trends, technologies, products and solutions that will revolutionise agricultural business practices.  Pretoria will play host city to this important gathering of the agricultural sector. The conference and expo will take place at The Maslow Conference Centre, Menlyn Maine, Pretoria from 18 to 20 February 2020. New technologies are disrupting every industry, and agriculture is no exception. AAT will focus the southern African agricultural community's agenda on how the adoption of the latest technologies, innovations and advances in AgTech can deliver greater efficiencies for farmers in 2020 and beyond. Please click AAT press release for more information.
Land rights holders square up to Ingonyama Trust

The Legal Resources Centre (LRC) will be in the Pietermaritzburg High Court on 22 November on behalf of Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (Casac), the Rural Women's Movement (RWM) and seven informal land-rights holders to challenge the compulsory signing of lease agreements at the behest of the Ingonyama Trust Board.  Casac and RWM are acting in the public interest, while the seven informal land rights holders are representing a class of all people who have already been instructed to convert their Permission To Occupy (PTO) or informal land rights to long-term lease agreements. Kathleen Wootton, a legal intern with the Legal Resources Centre in Durban, explores this subject in the linked article written for and first published on Daily Maverick.
South Africa's food price inflation to remain subdued in the near term
Since the news that South Africa could be hit by yet another drought, a frequent topic of discussion has been its possible implications on South Africa's food price inflation. This comes at a time when South Africa's food price inflation has generally been subdued, having averaged 2.9% y/y in the first nine months of this year. This is because of relatively lower meat, milk, eggs and cheese prices, amongst other products, which managed to overshadow the price increases of grain-related products over this period. The lower consumer demand has also played a part in this inflation development as consumer food price movements have not necessarily moved in conjunction with producer price inflation as has been the case in the past. Agbiz chief economist Wandile Sihlobo discusses this topic in the linked article, written for and first published in Business Day.
Thoughts on recent rains and maize conditions in South Africa
After weeks of dryness which caused delays in crop planting, most regions of South Africa have finally received a reprieve as rains continue over summer rainfall areas of the country.  The rains have enabled farmers to get on with planting activities. As of November 18, Mpumalanga had planted roughly 80% of its intended maize hectares for the 2019/20 production season. In the same day, KwaZulu-Natal had planted about 40%, and eastern Free State approximately 35% of the area. The Eastern Cape is still at initial stages of planting.  While this is encouraging, it is way off the optimal maize planting window which closed on 15 November 2019. The consequence of which is potential frost later in the season. In such an event, maize yields would be negatively affected. Wandile Sihlobo elaborates on this topic in the  linked article.
Organised crime moves in on South Africa's livestock industry

Stock theft is on the rise in South Africa according the latest police statistics. The 29 672 cases recorded in the 2018-19 financial year represent a 2.9% increase from the previous 12-month period, a trend that has persisted since 2016-17. Livestock theft costs the country billions of rand each year, damages the local agricultural economy and negatively impacts food security.  Stock theft isn't new in South Africa. What has changed is that the crime is now perpetrated by organised syndicates rather than just petty thieves. Willie Clack, a penologist at the UNISA, told the ENACT organised crime project that "87% of livestock theft involves some form of organised crime, while 13% is for survival". Read more in the linked article published on the Institute of Security Studies' website.
Farmers are doing it for themselves - finding common ground in contested terrain

Farmers from across South Africa gathered recently near Ceres to showcase successful partnerships between commercial and emerging black farmers. In light of the failure of land reform, identified in the 2017 Motlanthe report, farmers have collectively sought innovative solutions on their own. 
The Ceres symposium, attended by farmers from across South Africa, followed the October 2018 Landbouweekblad/Agri SA land summit which took place in Bela Bela, an event Nick Serfontein, chair of the Sernick Group, later described as "the equivalent of a small earthquake".  "The earthquake sparked a tsunami that has washed over our country, creating new hope. The summit will rightly be remembered as one of the most important landmarks in the history of agriculture in South Africa," Serfontein later wrote. Marianne Thamm reported on the Ceres event in the linked article, written for and first published on Daily Maverick.
Nhlanhla Nene appointed non-executive director of Grobank Ltd

Former South African minister of finance, Nhlanhla Musa Nene, has been appointed as non-executive director of Grobank Limited and GroCapital Holdings, effective 13 November 2019.  Nene, who was awarded his BCom(Honours) degree from the University of the Western Cape, also holds a certificate in micro and macroeconomics from the University of London, among a number of other academic and business achievements. " I am delighted to join Grobank at the start of their journey to position the bank as a specialised food and agricultural bank. This priority sector can play a leading role in alleviating unemployment and contribute to food security in our country. I look forward to contribute to these lofty ambitions," stated Nene. 
PMA hosts Retailers Connections' Lunch

Francois Schwalb (ZZ2), Lindie Stroebel (PMA), Gert Upton (Schoonbee Landgoed), Tracey Maxted (Harvest Fresh), Arne Kaffka (Enza Zaden), Anouk Sijmonsma (PMA), CT van der Merwe (Al 3 Boerdery) and May Krugel (Consumer Link).
The Produce Marketing Association (PMA) recently hosted its third annual Retailers' Connections Lunch at the Kleinkaap Boutique Hotel in Pretoria, with over 50 fresh produce supply chain representatives in attendance. "PMA's events are specifically designed to enhance networking opportunities, inspire new connections and enrich relationships that have already been forged. The PMA Retailers' Connections Lunch is one of a series of local touch point events, along with the Thought Leadership Breakfast, Fresh Connections Southern Africa Conference and Trade Show, Women's Fresh Perspectives Breakfast, and Young Professionals' Breakfast," said Lindie Stroebel, general manager of PMA Southern Africa. PMA Press release
South African grape exports from northern areas off at a brisk pace

The table grape harvest has kicked off in the Orange River with both white and red seedless varieties. This area produces approximately a third of South Africa's grapes. Their season seems between five and seven days ahead of the usual schedule and the region's cooler weather is aiding colour development, the South African Table Grape Industry (SATI) notes. To read more, please click on the linked article first published on Fresh Plaza.
Call for papers: Interrogating regional value chains & their implications for development

The University of Johannesburg and the University of Manchester seek to address issues around regional value chains (RVC) through a small, focused two and a half-day workshop at the Centre for Competition, Regulation and Economic Development (CCRED), Johannesburg from 6 to 8 July 2020. The organisers aim to produce a publication output in the form of a journal special issue from this event. Submission of full written papers is required prior to the workshop.
Extended abstract submission deadline: 27 January 2020; 800-1000 words
Confirmation of accepted abstracts: 9 February 2020
Full paper submission deadline: 8 June 2020; Max. 8 000 words excl. abstract, notes, references etc. Please click here for more detailed information.
Get the latest news from SAPPO

For the latest news from the South African Pork Producers' Organisation, please click SAPPO Weekly Update to peruse.
Food security and traceability featured in Afrivet newsletter

In the latest Afrivet newsletter - Afrivet DNAmic - food security and traceability are under the spotlight. Please click here to peruse.
The latest news from the NAMC

Please click NAMC Newsletter for the latest news from the National Agricultural Marketing Council (NAMC).
Register and book your accommodation to avoid disappointment

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.
4.0 Industrial Revolution Agri Tech Conference 2019
28-29 November 2019  | The Lanzerac | Stellenbosch
More information

Nedbank Vinpro Information Day
Theme: "Touch and change"
23 January 2020 | KIKS | Cape Town

Africa Agri Tech South Africa
18-20 February 2020  | Time Square | Menlyn Maine | Pretoria
More information

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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