23 August 2019
African free-trade pact gives reason for hope in agriculture

The African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) was recently ratified. Although it is well understood that a reduction of tariffs in isolation won't necessarily encourage trade, it is still an important development from an agricultural perspective. This is because there is still a lot of work to be done across the continent to address the lack of infrastructure, costly and prohibitive border processes, corruption and weak institutions. Agbiz chief economist Wandile Sihlobo discussed this subject in the linked article, written for and first published in Business Day.
Land reform and the advisory panel's report in perspective

The issue of land expropriation without compensation is currently a much debated topic in the agricultural sector. The report of the Presidential Advisory Panel on Land Reform and Agriculture elicited mixed feelings in the industry, and many stakeholders have expressed their views on this. Agbiz chief economist and one of the panel members, Wandile Sihlobo, shared his views during an interview on the KykNET programme, Grootplaas, on 15 August 2019.
SA food producers are struggling to pass costs through to consumers

S ince the start of the year, South Africa's agricultural commodity prices have increased notably from levels seen over the same time in 2018, specifically grains and oilseeds. Under normal circumstances, one would expect the price increases in agricultural commodities to translate to higher consumer prices, with a lag of roughly three to six months. But consumer food inflation has been relatively contained this year for a number of reasons. One of the key factors has been the lower meat prices in the earlier part of this year because the ban on beef exports contained the headline food price inflation number at relatively comfortable levels, writes Wandile Sihlobo in the linked article. 
Does Nigeria's decision to stop providing forex for food imports matter for SA farmers?

The headline of this post captures the consistent question I kept getting from folks after publishing an essay arguing that the recently launched African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) would potentially open additional avenues for South African products to destinations where the country hasn't largely participated in over the recent past.  So for a background; on 14 August 2019, we learned that Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari, has instructed the country's central bank to stop providing foreign currency for food imports. President Buhari took it to Twitter to explain his rationale behind this step. In brief, Buhari wants to improve Nigeria's agricultural production and attain more food security. And his hope, I think, is that a reduction in imports in the face of solid domestic food demand will be a catalyst for domestic production. Agbiz chief economist, Wandile Sihlobo, explores this subject more  here .
Clarity needed on export certification requirements of greasy wool to China

Representatives from both Cape Wools SA and the  South African Wool and Mohair Buyers Association (SAWAMBA)  attended a meeting with senior officials of the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development in Pretoria on 15 August.The frustr ations regarding the requirements of current export certification of greasy wool to China was conveyed and the financial implications to buyers and the whole wool value chain explained in detail. The financial losses to farmers, both commercial and communal, and the dire impact on the agricultural sector was clearly communicated. Press release
Request for comments or input from role players in the milk industry

In terms of section 11 of the Marketing of Agricultural Products Act, 1996 (Act 47 of 1996) (MAP Act), the Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development has received a request from the milk industry for the continuation of statutory measures, relating to registrations and the keeping of records and rendering returns. The applicant for the proposed statutory measures is the Milk Producers' Organisation (MPO), on behalf of the directly affected groups in the milk industry. The current statutory measures in the milk industry will lapse on 1 November 2019. The MPO requested ministerial approval for the continuation of these statutory measures for a new period of four years, until 1 November 2023. Directly affected groups in the milk industry are kindly requested to submit any comments regarding the proposed continuation of statutory measures, to the National Agricultural Marketing Council (NAMC) on or before 6 September 2019, to enable the council to finalise its recommendation to the minister in this regard. For more information, please click NAMC press statement.
News from the FPEF

The latest edition of  Keeping it Fresh, the Fresh Produce Exporters' Forum (FPEF) newsletter with recent relevant news and developments from the industry in a summarized format is available here.
News from SAPPO

SAPPO Weekly Update is the weekly electronic newsletter of the South African Pork Producers' Organisation. Please click here for the latest edition.
ARC Agri Indaba
29-30 August 2019 | Animal Production Campus Irene | Pretoria

PSA Seed Growers' Forum & PSA Congress
17 & 18 September 2019 | Cape Sun Hotel  | Cape Town

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

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 | South Africa

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