23 March 2018

This past week the Standing Committee on Economic and Trade Policy (Econpol) of Business Unity South Africa met to receive reports and address various critical matters emanating from its various sub-committees and external engagements, including at Nedlac's Trade and Industry Chamber. In terms of the Environment Sub-Committee, environmental legislation continues to contribute significantly to the regulatory burden faced by business and this subcommittee continues to engage with the various Departments on new and amended regulations that are presenting significant challenges. Key issues being addressed are Carbon Tax Bill and Carbon Budgets, Waste Management and new Water legislation. The Trade, Transport and Logistics Sub-Committee focussed on report back from the 11th WTO Ministerial Conference held in Buenos Aires in December 2017, the Nedlac Customs Fraud and Illegal Imports Task Team, the National Committee on Trade Facilitation (NCTF), new Transport legislation, and status feedback on current trade agreement negotiations, amongst others. The Tax Sub-Committee report focussed on engagements with SARS and the Tax Ombud, but specific emphasis is being placed on determining the total tax burden being imposed on Business through a wide range of taxes and levies. Meeting with NERSA, the deficient IEP and IRP consultation process, and Eskom's MYPD3 RCA applications and MYPD4 were the main focus areas of the Energy Sub-Committee. Of key importance was the resolution to develop a BUSA position on Expropriation without Compensation and to participate in the consultation hearings that the Constitutional Review Committee of the National Assembly will be holding both at provincial and national level. Please click on BUSA Econpol Agenda to peruse matters addressed in the meeting, chaired by Dr John Purchase, CEO of Agbiz.

As has been widely reported in the media, a cross-cutting National Minimum Wage (NMW) is set to be implemented on the 1st of May 2018. For the first time in South Africa, a minimum wage will be applicable to all sectors and will therefore replace the previous system of sectoral determinations. Initially the minimum wage will be set at R20 per hour with a special dispensation of R18 for agriculture.  Despite the concession for agricultural sector, there are legitimate concerns that not all employers will be able to afford the minimum wage.  To ensure a smooth transition for employers who bona fide cannot afford the minimum wage, the Department of Labour will be hosting provincial and regional information sessions on the exemption procedure.  Theo Boshoff, Agbiz Head: Legal Intelligence provides more information»

Despite South Africa having over 4.0 million tonnes of maize available for exports in the 2017/18 marketing year following a record harvest, actual exports could only amount to 2.4 million tonnes. This was due to a weak demand for white maize in its traditional markets on the continent because it coincided with large domestic supplies in these markets.  Read  Wandile Sihlobo's   linked  article . 

Click here to read the daily market view on commodities and the weekly wrap.  

CompWorkshop The recently signed African Continental Free Trade Agreement (CFTA) is one of the world's largest free trade blocs and there are a number of reasons to be excited about this development.  From a demand perspective, the continent's market will grow to over 2 billion people by 2030. Meanwhile, from a supply side perspective, the agricultural and agribusiness sector is expected to grow to US$1 trillion by the same period, a projection that had already excluded the impact of the consolidation of the continent's market.  Dr Tinashe Kapuya and Wandile Sihlobo provides more information in the linked article»

Monsanto South Africa is celebrating its jubilee year in South Africa this year. This incredible journey began on 14 February 1968 when Monsanto was registered as a supplier of Agricultural products. "While we are reflecting on our rich history in South Africa, we must also acknowledge that we find ourselves in an extremely exciting time in the agricultural industry. In partnering with growers across the globe, Monsanto has been a key player in sustainably increasing yields and bringing healthy food to the growing world population,
" says Kobus Steenekamp, Commercial and Business Lead Monsanto South Africa.  "We know that one company or organisation alone, will not have all the answers for the global challenges we face - it will require combinations of solutions, strong leadership and world class collaboration. And we see this move towards an integrated solutions approach more and more every day."   Media release»

Read in the linked newsletter how Timbali Technology Incubator's training and development programme  turns ordinary young South Africans into successful small-scale farmers. 
2018 Agbiz Congress | 75 Days to go!

With the agribusiness environment changing constantly, the congress theme "Uncertainty creates Opportunity" will pay attention to the key issues of transformation confronting South Africa and its agriculture system, and the impact technology will have on the competitiveness of South Africa's industries.

This year, we will be adding to our fantastic repertoire of speakers, as well as inviting back some of your favourites, the people that impressed you most over the years - Draft programme
Accommodation at the Boardwalk Hotel in Port Elizabeth where the congress is taking place, is selling out fast but a few rooms are still available - More information

Closing date for registration: 4 May 2018
Congress: 7-8 June 2018
Welcome Function: 6 June 2018
Gala Dinner: 7 June 2018
Agbiz AGM: 8 June 2018

International Sorghum Conference 
9-12 April 2018 | Cape Town
More information

Interactive agricultural workshop for traders and market participants
12-13 April 2018
For further queries please contact:
Michelle Deavall: michelle.deavall@thomsonreuters.com

FERTASA Annual Congress
19 April 2018
Premier Hotel OR Tambo | Johannesburg
More information

Farmer's Weekly tour to AgriTech tour to Israel
6-11 May 2018
More information: Marianna du Plessis, email africa@caxton.co.za

15-18 May 2017 | NAMPO Park | Bothaville 
More information

21 to 25 May 2018 | South Africa
The Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf), The World Academy of Sciences Regional Office for sub-Saharan Africa (TWAS-ROSSA) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) are seeking candidates to participate in the inaugural regional training workshop on science diplomacy to be held in South Africa.  More information

World Potato Congress
27-31 May 2018 | Peru | South America

Potatoes SA Transformation Symposium
7 June 2018 | Pretoria
More information

Vision 2030 Summit
20-21 June 2018 | Emperors Palace | Gauteng
More information

IFAMA World Conference
23-27 June 2018 | Buenos Aires | Argentina
More information

Regional Trade Facilitation Forum for grain stakeholders in the Eastern & Southern Africa region
28 June 2018 | Lusaka | Zambia
The Forum is expected to convene sellers and buyers of grain commodities from the Southern and Eastern Africa regions to network and execute trade deals.
Invitation letter
Registration form

FW Agribusiness Africa Conference
18-19 July 2018 | Emperors Palace
Enquiries: Marianna du Plessis, e-mail africa@caxton.co.za

PMA Fresh Connections Southern Africa Conference and Tradeshow
15-16 August, 2018 |  CSIR | Pretoria

AGRI 5 Commodities Workshop & Expo
Date: 20th -21st September 2018
Venue: East London Show Grounds
Contact info: 011 056 6856
Agbiz membership
Being a member of Agbiz provides various benefits and opportunities

- 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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