26 July 2019
PPGI planning meeting with private sector leaders and DTI

The Public-Private Growth Initiative (PPGI), initiated by Dr Johan van Zyl of Toyota International and Roelf Meyer of ITI last year to build a private sector partnership with government to stimulate economic growth, met this week on 23  July 2019 to receive feedback and assess developments from the over 20 sectors involved. After a welcome and short introduction by Roelf Meyer, the economic advisor to President Ramaphosa, Trudi Makhaya, provided the investment vision of the President and the successes achieved to date. Further to the successful Investment Summit hosted in 2018, a further Investment Summit will be held in November 2019. 
Steve Malherbe presented on the 4 th Industrial Revolution and the economic benefits it is bound to bring, but will also necessitate certain major adaptions by society and government. Yunus Hoosen of Invest SA, within the new Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC), presented on Invest SA and the work they are doing to make South Africa investment-friendly, an essential prerequisite for sustainable and inclusive economic growth. Please click on Invest SA presentation  to peruse. 
Ian Stewart of National Treasury discussed the budgeting process, with specific reference to capital infrastructure projects identified to stimulate economic growth. The represented sectors then provided feedback on the submitted projects, and Dr John Purchase, CEO of Agbiz and convenor for the agricultural value chain, indicated that the recent budget vote speeches by Minister Thoko Didiza and Minister Ebrahim Patel both strongly indicated elements of the five-year Agriculture Value Chain Plan  submitted through the PPGI process, with market access and competitiveness being absolute key elements essential to grow the sector. However, the reality is that the recent go-slow strike in Nqura Port (Coega) has not just caused losses in excess of hundreds of millions of rand to industry, but also harmed the country's reputation immeasurably in terms of being considered a reliable supplier of fresh citrus in the global market. 
In addition, and despite South Africa declared foot-and-mouth disease free by the OIE (International Animal Health Organisation) more than two months ago, no exports of animal products, including wool, hides and skins and red meat, have to date resumed to China, a major destination for our exports. It would also be of interest to determine the loss of tax to the fiscus due to these constraints, given that we constantly hear that the fiscus is under enormous pressure due to reduced tax collection. The reason is self-evident, just on two of the three PPGI projects submitted.  The PPGI will in future liaise directly through Invest SA, and no longer through the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) in The Presidency. Our challenges remain enormous, but the initiative does provide a credible platform to engage government on inclusive economic growth, the only answer to poverty, unemployment and inequality.
Government presents on South Africa's 4thIR readiness 

Amongst various critical focus areas being addressed, the Nedlac Trade and Industry Chamber (TIC) is also focusing on the 4th Industrial Revolution (4thIR) and South Africa's readiness to implement and adapt to a range of technological developments and innovations, including digitalisation, robotics, informatics, artificial intelligence (AI), etc. Their implementation to facilitate so-called e-commerce is of special interest. The Department of Trade, Industry and Competition, previously the dti, presented to the Nedlac TIC meeting last week. Please click on 4thIR Readiness to peruse the presentation. 
Agricultural water use in the spotlight during talks on

The Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAF) co-hosted a workshop on the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 with the Department of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation on 23 and 24 July. SDG 6 focuses on the provision of access to clean water for all, and includes critical subobjectives relating to water quality, management and efficiency. Agriculture once again came under the spotlight as it is the largest water consumer in South Africa, accounting for roughly 61% of the country's water consumption. As it stands, South Africa is rated the 30th driest country in the world and the effects of climate change is likely to place even more strain on the country's water availability. At the same time, our population is increasing and the need for domestic and industrial water consumption will consequently rise, resulting in even more competition for water resources between sectors. Agbiz head of Legal Intelligence Theo Boshoff provides feedback in the linked report.
Land reform: Minister Didiza takes a measured approach

In her first policy speech as Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, Thoko Didiza's message was centred on the ethical and efficient implementation of the department's programmes, as well as the collaboration with stakeholders in the sector. There was little of note in terms of the new policy in the budget speech, but rather a sense of urgency on implementing land reform in a sustainable way. Minister Didiza intends to have close cooperation with landowners - including farmers, companies, and trusts. There was little detail on how such an approach would be carried out. I suspect that the reason might be because there are still ongoing consultative processes amongst policymakers following the submission of the Presidential Advisory Panel report on Land Reform and Agriculture last month. Agbiz chief economist Wandile Sihlobo shares his views in the linked article , written for and first published on Daily Maverick.
Budding blueberry sector offers fruitful job prospects

When we think of agricultural subsectors that can boost rural economic fortunes and job creation, it is important that we not only focus on well-established industries, but also explore the small, yet promising industries such as blueberries and other so-called superfruits (nuts, berries, avocados, etc.). These superfruits are enjoying strong demand in global markets as consumers opt for healthier diets. When Minister Thoko Didiza thinks of expanding market access for South African products, she should ensure her efforts prioritise the crops and fruits that will have the greatest impact on both economic fortune and labour participation. Wandile Sihlobo shares his view in the linked article, written for and first published in Business Day.
Sorghum consumption is not only falling in South Africa, but across the African continent

We have been hearing a lot about the change in consumer preference, with some people preferring what is perceived as healthier diets. But sorghum, which is nutritious, has not taken off, at least in the African continent. Its consumption per capita has been falling over the past few decades. Here at home (South Africa), sorghum per capita consumption was estimated at 1.62 kilograms per year in 2018, down by 16% from the year 2000. To be fair, this has not been solely a sorghum story, as South Africa's maize per capita consumption has also fallen by 15% over the same period to about 77.32 kilograms in 2018. But the maize story is somewhat different, while per capita consumption has declined over the recent past, overall maize usage continues to increase due to demand from the animal products, and South Africa also enjoys a good standing in global agricultural markets. Please click Wandile Sihlobo's blogpost to peruse.
SA summer and winter crops data paint a mixed picture

The data released by South Africa's Crop Estimates Committee (CEC) yesterday is important from both the summer and winter crops perspective. This is particularly the case in seasons such as the current one where there has been lingering uncertainty about the potential summer crop yields, and winter crop plantings. Wandile Sihlobo discusses the data in the linked article.
Feedback on highlights of the year at SAGIS AGM

The 22nd Annual General Meeting of the South African Grain Information Service was held at the CSIR Convention Centre in Pretoria on 18 July 2019. In her report for the 2018/19 financial year, the chairperson, Mariana Purnell, highlighted that SAGIS added another proud extension to its service offerings to the grain and oilseed industry during the past financial year - SAGIS rapidly responded to the amendment of the statutory measure to include the reporting of weekly maize import and export intentions and published the first data one month later. In addition to its local and international recognition as a globally reputable provider of market information, the cost of SAGIS information to the South African grain and oilseed industry during the 2018/19 financial year amounted to only 73 cents per ton.  To fulfil its main function (publication of whole grain and oilseeds monthly data) SAGIS has 626 co-workers. A total of 6.6 million tons of grain and oilseeds were physically verified over the past year. Some 857 premises across the country were visited at an average cost of R759 per site, for stocktaking, audits, new registrations and cancellations. 
World way off track on sustainability goals

The world is off-track to meet most of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) targets linked to hunger, food security and nutrition, according to a FAO report  In the first report of its kind, the FAO analysed, in a visual way, major global trends and data from up to 234 countries and territories on 18 indicators of four SDGs (2, 6, 14 and 15) under the UN agency's custodianship.  "The report paints a grim picture. Four years into the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, regression is the norm when it comes to ending hunger and rendering agriculture and the management of natural resources - be that on land or in our oceans - sustainable," said Pietro Gennari, FAO Chief Statistician. "Being off-track when it comes to reaching core pillars of the SDGs unquestionably puts at risk the achievement of the entire 2030 Agenda, and makes our overarching goal of ensuring an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable future for our planet and for present and future generations less attainable," said FAO Deputy Director-General for Climate and Natural Resources Maria Helena Semedo. Please click here to peruse the key findings and recommendations on what needs to be done.
UN and FAO announce 2020 as the International Year of Plant Health

The United Nations General Assembly has proclaimed 2020 as the International Year of Plant Health. This is a unique opportunity to raise global awareness on how protecting plant health can help end hunger, reduce poverty, protect the environment, and boost economic development, as well as to highlight the importance of international, regional, and national plant health organisations.
In line with this decision by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, Plant Health will also be celebrated in South Africa. It will form the basis of the annual theme adopted by the National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF) for its 2020 SET and innovation awards says Ms Mariana Purnell, general manager of Agbiz Grain and also an Exco member of NSTF. The 2020 initiative will hold numerous sponsorship and marketing opportunities for local role players in the protection of plant health in the agricultural industry. Mariana Purnell gives more information on the local celebrations in the linked article.
Africa: The land of milk and honey, and ... entrepreneurs

"The African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA) came into force on 30 May 2019. Whilst a lot of details are still pending before the AfCFTA will come into practice, the topic needs to be addressed and the market place understood," says Lindie Stroebel, general manager of the Produce Marketing Association (PMA) for Southern Africa. "The 9th PMA Fresh Connections: Southern Africa Conference and Trade Show, to be hosted on 30 and 31 July 2019 at the Century City Conference Centre in Cape Town, will dedicate a session on the opportunities and challenges in doing business on the African continent. This session, sponsored by FNB Agriculture, will provide a glimpse into this economic wheelhouse and the abundance of opportunities on the horizon for the fresh fruit and vegetable industry," says Stroebel. Press release
A showcase of the livestock industry at Agri-Expo Livestock

A world-class showcase of the South African livestock industry and its value chains awaits visitors to the sixth Agri-Expo Livestock from Thursday 10 to Saturday 12 October 2019 at Sandringham outside Stellenbosch. Livestock has over the past five years established itself as the most prestigious livestock event in the country, where visitors watch top animals of various breeds compete with about 20 breeders' associations involved.Livestock hosts the biggest dairy show in South Africa, as well as the biggest beef interbreed championships of its kind, with the crowning of the FNB Dairy Queen and BKB Red Meat King or Queen on Saturday 12 October as its highlight. Livestock is especially sought after for its dairy interbreed show, supported by the three largest dairy breeds, the Holstein, Ayrshire and Jersey breeders' societies. Press release
Arrangements for new agri show is progressing fast

The arrangements for South Africa's latest show, the BKB Africa Livestock Expo (ALE), to be held at the Afridome in Parys from 3 to 7 September, is progressing fast. The idea is that this show should become as big a show for cattle farmers as the Pretoria Show and Rand Easter Show in the past. The Pretoria Show no longer exists and the Rand Easter show no longer has a cattle division. Press release

FSA welcomes extra vehicles to combat crime in the Free State

Free State Agriculture (FSA) is pleased with the 48 extra vehicles being given to rural safety coordinators at Free State police stations. This is according to Tommie Esterhuyse, vice-president of FSA, after these vehicles were made available by the South African Police Service (SAPS) to help combat crime. According to him, it is "a historic day for rural safety" and he welcomed the gesture. The vehicles will only be used by the police to address crime in rural and agricultural communities. Press release
Taking farmer development to new markets

Three years ago, through a public interest commitment, South African Breweries (SAB) established and invested in FarmSol, a black-owned agricultural services company. This was part of SAB's commitment to enterprise, agricultural, and community development. During SAB's merger with the world's biggest brewing company AB InBev, the undertaking and commitment by the US giant aimed to support and empower 920 smallholder farmers by 2021. According to Aron Kole, managing director of FarmSol, they believe that equipping future-fit smallholder farmers with the necessary skills, requires a generational outlook and long-term approach. FarmSol is currently edging towards the halfway mark of the targeted number of farmers assisted over the past three years. "This bears testimony to the resilience of the farmers in the programme and the commitment of all the stakeholders involved," says Kole. Press release
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.
PMA Fresh Connections: SA Conference and Trade Show  
30-31 July 2019 | Century City | Cape Town

Emerging Farmers and Agro Processing Conference 2019
30-31 July 2019 | CSIR International Convention Centre | Pretoria

Allergen Workshop
30 July 2019  | Emperors Palace | Kempton Park
Global Trade Show of Networking and Match-Making South Africa 2019 (GTS 2019) 
29 to 31 July 2019 | Gallagher Convention Centre | Midrand

Agbiz Grain 2019 Symposium 
14 August 2019  |  CSIR International Convention Centre | Pretoria

Global Trade Show of Networking and Match-Making South Africa 2019 (GTS 2019)
29 to 31 July 2019 | Gallagher Convention Centre | Midrand
First African Conference on Edible Insects
14-16 August 2019  | Harare | Zimbabwe

Fertasa Soil Fertility & Plant Nutrition Symposium
Theme: "Back to basics for the future"
21 & 22 August 2019  |CSIR International Convention Centre | Pretoria 
Peritum Agri-HR Summit 2019
21-22 August 2019 Bloemfontein

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

VKB Information Days
Theme: "The future of agriculture in SA"
3 October 2019  | Siesta Guesthouse  | Frankfort
4 October 2019 | Protea Hotel Ranch Resort | Polokwane

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

Agritech Africa
17-19  June 2020 | Cape Town International Convention Centre  | Cape Town
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