25 January 2019
Agbiz gives outlook for agriculture in 2019

Agbiz announced an agricultural outlook for 2019 at the end of last year. In an interview on KykNET's programme Grootplaas, Agbiz CEO Dr John Purchase elaborated on what role players expect from the agricultural industry this year and which factors will play a major role in trust in the sector. Please click here to watch.
Global risks for 2019

The World Economic Forum recently published the 2019 edition of its  Global Risks Report. The report states that the world is facing a growing number of complex and interconnected challenges - from slowing global growth and persistent economic inequality to climate change, geopolitical tensions and the accelerating pace of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. In isolation, these are daunting challenges; but faced simultaneously, we will struggle if we do not work together. There has never been a more pressing need for a collaborative and multi-stakeholder approach to shared global problems. Please click here to read the report which includes descriptions of global trends and risks .
Agbiz is well positioned to influence policy

To achieve its challenging and varied goals, Agbiz is closely involved in the legislative and policy environment on many fronts. Through our involvement in various bodies, Agbiz is clearly best positioned to effectively be of service to its members, to address the critical challenges facing South Africa, and in particular its agro-food system. Agbiz head of Agribusiness Research Wandile Sihlobo was recently involved in the two policy colloquiums that the Treasury has organised. At these colloquiums the challenges of policy implementation and fixing the education system were among the topics discussed. The colloquiums' discussion will inform a paper to be presented to the Cabinet. Please click here for an article published in Business Day on the discussions.
Africa and SA grain viewpoint

Agbiz sends this particular note to members every Monday morning. This week, the key takeaway messages were:
  • Zimbabwe is likely to experience a shortage of maize supplies in the 2019/20 marketing year due to an expected poor harvest.
  • Zambia and Malawi's maize harvest could fall double-digit from the 2017/18 production season, but the countries could still be self-sufficient in the 2019/20 marketing year (corresponds with 2018/19 production season), supported by fairly large stocks from the previous year.
  • Back on home soil, the western maize production areas of South Africa are now critically dry once again because of the hot and dry weather and relatively limited soil moisture leading into the week of 17 January 2019. The impact of this was reflected on maize prices which rallied to levels over R3 000 per tonne, particularly white maize which is planted in the western regions.
  • An important date to keep an eye on is 29 January 2019 when the national Crop Estimate Committee releases the preliminary planting data for South Africa's summer grains and oilseeds.
  • The weather will continue to play a key role in the South African agricultural markets in the next three months. Thereafter, the focus will shift to winter crop producing areas. The near-term precipitation prospects are constructive (see page 6).
  • At the end of the week of 17 January 2019, SAFEX wheat prices were up by 17% from levels seen in the corresponding period last year, trading around R4 379 per tonne. This was driven by high international wheat prices and the relatively weaker domestic currency.
  • Overall, the tough production conditions in the grains and oilseeds subsectors will most likely add upward pressure on consumer prices, but we do not expect a notable uptick in headline food price inflation, as lower meat prices will somewhat overshadow the potential upswings.
Please click here for the full report, compiled by Wandile Sihlobo.
Consumers will feel the pinch, but not everywhere

The subdued pace of food price inflation we observed in 2018 is over. The lower agricultural commodity prices that underpinned 2018's downward trend are showing a drastic reversal as persistent dryness in the western parts of South Africa's maize belt leads to lower-than-expected maize plantings and a general expectation of a poor harvest in the 2018/19 season. Earlier this week SA's white and yellow maize spot prices were up by 66% and 44%, respectively, from the corresponding period in 2018, trading around R2 807/ton and R3 127/ton.  Agbiz head of Agribusiness Research Wandile Sihlobo provides more insight in an article written for and first published in Business Day.
All eyes on the maize harvest

W hile rainfall late in December 2018 and early January 2019 have enabled South African farmers to start planting in the western parts of the Free State and North West, the harvest is likely to be poor, particularly for (white) maize as the optimal planting window has long passed, and even the late rains remain erratic.  Meanwhile, the eastern parts of South Africa, which predominately produce yellow maize and soybeans, could have a fairly good harvest if rainfall continue throughout this month and February 2019, which is typically a pollination period.  Wandile Sihlobo shares his view in the linked article written for and first published on  Fin24.
What is CRISPR? The revolutionary gene-editing tech explained

Until very recently if you wanted to create, say, a drought-resistant corn plant, your options were extremely limited. You could opt for selective breeding, try bombarding seeds with radiation in the hope of inducing a favourable change, or else opt to insert a snippet of DNA from another organism entirely.  But these approaches were long-winded, imprecise or expensive - and sometimes all three at the same time. Enter CRISPR. Precise and inexpensive to produce, this small molecule can be programmed to edit the DNA of organisms right down to specific genes. Find out how this way of editing DNA could open up new paths to treating disease and improving our crops, but the technology is already proving controversial in the linked article.
The Ruminant Veterinary Association of South Africa (RuVASA) states in its December 2018 disease report that it is concerned about the seriousness of diseases such as foot-and-mouth disease, bovine brucellosis, rabies, Johne's disease, trichomonosis and Asiatic red water. Please click here for the December 2018 disease report and maps.
The 14th Nedbank Vinpro Information Day, with the theme "It starts with you", was held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC), with a record attendance of close to 900 delegates throughout the wine value-chain. The effect of climate change and water shortages on the 2019 harvest, pricing and profitability pressures and uncertainty surrounding land reform were some of the hot topics addressed at this year's annual wine industry conference. Please click here for the official media release. For a video synopsis click here and all the presentations are available at this link.
Get the latest news from AFMA

This AFMA e-News covers highlights of articles published in the latest AFMA Matrix magazine, as well as other news relevant to the wider industry and value chains. Please click here to peruse.
Australian AgTech and FoodTech Innovation Mission 

The Australian Government is inviting global companies to discover the diverse investment and collaboration opportunities in Australia's agribusiness and food technology sectors. The Australian AgTech and FoodTech Innovation Mission will provide access to many of the key research institutions and leading companies in Australia. Please click here for more information and the registration form.
De Kalb Create Conference 2019
5 February 2019 | Graceland Hotel | Secunda
Contact Yolandi Stoltz: yolandi.stoltz@monsanto.com

De Kalb Create Conference 2019
7 February 2019 | Nampo Park | Bothaville
Contact Yolandi Stoltz:  yolandi.stoltz@monsanto.com

First Bi-annual International Soy for Human Health Conference 2019
11-13 March 2019 | St George Hotel | Pretoria

CGA Citrus Summit  
1 2-14 March 2019 | Boardwalk Hotel | Port Elizabeth

Global Cherry Summit 2019
25 April 2019  | Monticello Conference Center | San Francisco de Mostazal, Chile

Ensminger Pig Symposium
22-23 May 2019 | Kopanong Hotel and Conference Centre | Benoni

SA Large Herds Conference
3-5 June 2019  The Boardwalk  Port Elizabeth

13th Agribusiness Africa Conference 
10 July 2019 Premier Hotel | OR Tambo Airport
Concept programme

PMA Fresh Connections: SA Conference and Trade Show 
30-31 July 2019 | Century City | Cape Town
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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