During the lockdown the Agbiz office will be closed,  but all staff members are operating remotely and will be conducting their roles as normal from home offices.
27 March 2020
Lockdown rules: Essential goods and services exempted during the next 21 days

Following the President's announcement of a national lockdown commencing today, the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs has promulgated the Regulations under the Disaster Management Act which gives effect to the restrictions. Following dedicated advocacy by Agbiz and other industry bodies, an amendment to the Regulations was gazetted yesterday, which includes the issue of harvesting and storage of all agricultural produce to prevent wastage, including non-food crops e.g. wine grapes. Thus the wine industry has been declared an essential service and is allowed to complete the harvest and necessary cellar processes during lockdown. We expect t hat the Regulations will be amended from time to time. Please click here to view the amendments made to the original Regulations in track changes.
To facilitate the dissemination of correct and up-to-date information, Agbiz has prepared Recommended Standard Operational Procedures for agribusinesses during the Covid-19 lockdown. The document seeks to provide guidance relating to the restrictions, essential services in the agro-food value chain and the procedure to self-evaluate and issue permits for the continued operation of essential services in the sector. Agbiz has also circulated a template developed in line with the Regulations which agribusinesses may use to issue permits to employees that will be required to render essential services during this time.
Minister Patel announces essential service application portal
The Minister of Trade and Industry, Ebrahim Patel has announced that all businesses that will be allowed to provide essential services are required to seek approval from the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic) in order for them to trade during the period of the lockdown in terms of the regulations published today by the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma in Regulation Gazette No. 11062.   Such businesses are required to apply to the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) Bizportal website at www.bizportal.gov.za and obtain a certificate from the commission that allows them to continue trading. Please click here for the full dtic media statement.
South Africa reports first Covid-19 deaths
Minister of Health Dr Zwelini Mkhize announced this morning that two Covid-19 positive patients have died.These two deaths occurred in the Western Cape - one at a private hospital and the other at a public hospital. In a media statement he said that more details will be provided later today when the department announces the latest confirmed Covid-19 cases,
The economics of a pandemic: the case of Covid-19
Prof. Paolo Surico and Prof. Andrea Galeotti, professors of economics at London Business School, analyse the Covid-19 pandemic by breaking it down into four parts: science, health policies, economics and macroeconomic policies. Please click here to see their comprehensive lecture on this pandemic.
New date for Agbiz congress in 2021
The Agbiz Congress 2020 has been rescheduled to take place from 7 to 9 April 2021 at the Sun City Convention Centre. The organising committee will contact registered delegates, sponsors and exhibitors via email regarding administrative matters. Contact Karen Grobler: karen@agbiz.co.za for more information.
Labour minister announces relief scheme
The Minster of Labour has instituted a temporary employee / employer relief scheme to access funding from the UIF for employees who cannot work during this time. The scheme contains the following essential elements:
  • If an employer must close its doors for 3 months or less due to the COVID restrictions, it will qualify for a Temporary Relief Benefit;
  • The benefit permits the payment (from the UIF) of 38%-60% of employee's salaries based on the income replacement rate sliding scale for those employees who cannot work during the lockdown;
  • The benefits will only pay for the cost of salaries where the employees cannot work from home or are not performing essential services;
  • Salary benefits are capped at a maximum of R17 712.00 per month, per employee;
  • Companies must be registered with the UIF to qualify;
  • Employees that are working (essential services) but are required to self-quarintine for 14 days will also qualify.
Procedure: Employers must apply by reporting their closure to Covid19ters@labour.gov.za . An automatic email response will set out the procedure.
The recent sharp price increases in South Africa's white maize shouldn't be a worry: a temporary market blip
In times of uncertainty, as we are in during COVID-19 and a 21-day lockdown in South Africa, any unusual rise in prices of goods which society relies on the most can be discomforting. This is particularly the case with South Africa's staple white maize prices, which on 23 March 2020 reached the highest levels last seen in 2016, which was a drought period, at R3 981 per tonne. The question some might be confronted with is whether such price moves should be a concern to the extent that policymakers might need to intervene in the market by setting a price cap? The short answer is no. Agbiz chief economist Wandile Sihlobo discusses this subject in linked discussion paper.
How South Africans spend their food budget

South Africans are used to relying on a highly competitive and effective food system, which will now be tested to its limits, especially in rural areas where critical information is lacking and we have a big concentration of vulnerable people. Effective collaboration and coordination between communities, the private sector and government will be decisive and researchers and analysts will have to support decision-makers with accurate information and analyses. In the linked article, the Bureau for Food and Agricultural Policy (BFAP) provides a detailed breakdown of South Africans' food consumption patterns for various types of households.
No loadshedding is expected during the Covid-19 lockdown

Eskom does not expect to implement loadshedding during the Covid-19 national lockdown, but the possibility that loadshedding may be implemented
remains. As an essential and critical services supplier, some of Eskom's personnel are exempt from the provisions of the lockdown. As such, Eskom does not expect any impediments to the generation and supply of electricity during this period. "Our suppliers, particularly the coal mines, logistics suppliers and those supplying the parts and maintenance services at our power stations, will be able to operate through the lockdown." Please click Eskom Power Alert to peruse.
Two million cartons of lemons already shipped from South Africa

The South African citrus season in underway with an estimated record export of 143.3 million cartons, an increase of 13% on last season.  According to Justin Chadwick CEO of the Citrus Grower's Association of Southern Africa, 2 million cartons of lemons have already been exported, a figure way ahead that of last season. "We have seen early maturing of the lemon crop this year and also a big pull from the market. They are being shipped to all markets and demand is high due to the spread of the coronavirus as people are stocking up." Read more in the linked article, first published on Fresh Plaza. 
SA's fresh fruit and vegetable supply steady in face of Covid-19 lockdown

As an essential part of the country's food security network, South Africa's fresh fruit and vegetable supply channels will remain active and efficient - even given the recent announcement of lock down measures. "Fresh fruit and vegetables are an essential part of the food security network and South Africa is filled with world-class producers, big and small, who produce fresh produce of the highest quality and pack and transport it, adhering to required international hygiene standards," says Jaco Oosthuizen, CEO of RSA Group, the country's largest fresh produce sales organisation. Read more in the linked RSA Group statement.
SA Dairy Product of the Year awarded virtually

Lactalis SA's Président Extra Mature Cheddar was crowned the South African Dairy Product of the Year at the Agri-Expo Qualité Awards on Thursday 26 March 2020. This year's award ceremony of the annual SA Dairy Championships, the largest dairy competition in Africa, was presented as a virtual event for the first time in its 187th history due the Covid-19 pandemic. The judging of the competition took place on 27 February in Cape Town before the first Covid-19 case was recorded in South Africa. Read more in the Agri-Expo media statement.
Fruit SA is searching for a new CEO

Fruit SA is searching for a new chief executive officer, following the departure of Dr Konanani Liphadzi. Fruit SA is the umbrella body of fruit industry associations, and has as its founder members the Citrus Growers' Association of Southern Africa, Hortgro, South African Table Grape Industry, Subtrop and Fresh Produce Exporters' Forum. Fruit SA concentrates on the challenges and opportunities faced by all fruit industries, with a focus on transformation, market access and logistics. Please click here for more information.
News from the pork industry

Read more about the latest developments and news in the pork industry in the South African Pork Producers' Organisation's (SAPPO) newsletter, SAPPO Weekly Update.
News from the citrus industry

Read the latest news from the citrus industry, in the weekly newsletter of the Citrus Growers' Association of Southern Africa. Please click here to peruse.
Get the latest news from the FPEF

Keeping it Fresh, the newsletter of the Fresh Produce Exporters' Forum, contains all the recent relevant news and developments. 
NSTF Plant Health discussion forum - IYPH 2020
6-7 May 2020 | Future Africa  | University of Pretoria | South St  | Koedoespoort

Transport Forum
Theme: "Answering the climate action challenge at scale"
2 April 2020  | 23 Melle Street (corner De Korte Street) Braamfontein  OR
WWF | 1st floor Bridge House | Boundary Terraces Mariendahl Lane (corner Campground Rd) Newlands
17-19  June 2020 | Cape Town International Convention Centre  | Cape Town

Theme: "Building resilient and sustainable agri-food ecosystems".
15-17 July 2020 | Sun City Convention Centre | South Africa

PMA Fresh Connections: Southern Africa Conference and Trade Show
19-20 August 2020  Sun Arena, Time Square, Menlyn Maine, Pretoria

3rd African Symposium on Mycotoxicology joint MYTOXSOUTH conference 
6-9 September 2020 | Stellenbosch

Soya Bean for Human Consumption Symposium
17 September 2020  | Pretoria

Second International Congress of Biological Control (ICBC2) 
26-30 April 2021 |  Davos, Switzerland
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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