28 September 2018

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma is emerging as one of President Cyril Ramaphosa's key ministers after she helped engineer a breakthrough meeting between the presidency and 60 chief executives of some of South Africa's major corporations at the Union Buildings on Friday.  Presentations were made by Dlamini-Zuma, the minister in the presidency responsible for planning, monitoring and evaluation, her director general Mpumi Mpofu, Agricultural Business Chamber chief executive John Purchase on behalf of the agriculture sector, and Toyota SA chief executive Andrew Kirby on behalf of the automotive industry. Click here to read the article published in City Press following last week's meeting.

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a new 10-person land-reform advisory panel last Friday. This panel is to lend advice and support to the inter-ministerial committee on land reform. The skills the president has garnered for this panel include people from academia, those with agricultural experience, those with social entrepreneurship experience and general activism in the agriculture sector. Nompu Siziba of SAfm interviewed Agbiz CEO Dr John Puchase about  the new panel and the challenges that remain in the land-reform process. Click here for the radio interview as well as a transcript of the conversation.
Agbiz head of Agribusiness Research Wandile Sihlobo was included in President Ramaphosa's 10-person advisory panel on land reform.   The panel that will support the inter-ministerial committee on land reform is chaired by Deputy President David Mabuza.  Ramaphosa said the 10 members of the panel are "eminently qualified by virtue of academic background, professional experience, social entrepreneurship or activism related to the agricultural economy and land policy". Click here for a Fin24 article announcing the members of the panel.

Agiz CEO Dr John Purchase delivered the opening address to the 15th International Cereal Rust and Powdery Mildew Conference (ICRPMC) in Skukuza on Monday, 24 September 2018. In a 2017 FAO Report, this UN body warned that the different wheat rusts, as they mutate, are making further advances in Europe, Africa and Asia, perhaps the Americas and Australasia too, and it is common knowledge how potentially devastating these diseases can be to untreated and susceptible crops. The intensification of agriculture, the globalisation of agricultural trade and global warming/climate change are all contributing significantly to the more rapid spread of plant diseases specifically. It is especially the introduction of rust pathogens, and their race mutations, that have and continue to increasingly pose a major threat to competitive production. Dr Purchase also raised four major concerns from industry that the 15th ICRPMC needed to address. Please click here to peruse.
South Africans will have to wait another two months before they know whether the Constitution should be amended to allow for land to be expropriated without compensation.  The Joint Constitutional Review Committee has requested more time to process all the inputs and expects to be ready with a final report only in November. The committee was due to report to Parliament on Friday. 
Click here  to read an article written for and first published on  News24. .
In August the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) published the draft National Policy on Comprehensive Producer Development Support for public comments. The policy is designed to bring together producer support from both government and private sector in a coordinated manner. A first look at the policy shows positive signs, but the methodology may need a bit of work.  Click here for Agbiz head of Legal IntelligenceTheo Boshoff's article. 
Development is just as important for the agricultural sector as for any other industry sector in South Africa. In an interview on the kykNET programme, Grootplaas, Agbiz head of Legal Intelligence Theo Boshoff spoke about a policy document recently published by the Minister of Higher Education and Training for public consultation. The policy document contains suggestions that can change the entire SETA landscape. Click here to view the interview with Theo Boshoff.
These are challenging times for South African farmers, whether viewed from the perspective of rising input costs or the weather outlook. In a few weeks the 2018/19 summer crop production season will start on a negative note, partly due to rising costs of agricultural inputs such as fertiliser and fuel. Wandile Sihlobo, Agbiz head of Agribusiness and Research provides more insight in the linked article.
Earlier this week the Crop Estimate Committee released its final production estimates for the 2017/18 summer crop and second production estimated for 2018/19 winter crop. In terms of summer crops, the major oilseeds such as soybeans and sunflower seed were left unchanged from the previous month, whilst the commercial maize production estimate was revised down by 2% from the previous estimate to 12.9 million tonnes, which is somewhat in line with our expectations. From a winter crop perspective, the wheat production estimate was revised up by 2% from last month to 1.8 million tonnes - all thanks to good rainfall in parts of the Western Cape and an expansion in area planted in the Free State. Click here to read Wandile Sihlobo's article.

Some African countries are still  sceptical about planting genetically modified (GM) crops. However, farmers on the southern tip of the continent, South Africa, have been planting GM crops for over a decade and there seems to be greater benefits in terms of yields and savings on input costs.  Wandile Sihlobo elaborates in the linked blogpost .
While agriculture continues to be amongst the sectors being discussed as having a potential to ignite growth and create jobs in South Africa, the government spending to the sector as a share of overall government expenditure is nowhere close to the olden days. Wandile Sihlobo provides more insight in the linked blogpost.

Agbiz Grain will host a Road to Rail Workshop focused on the grain industry value chain on 8 October 2018. All grain value chain role players are invited to participate in this workshop. This event falls squarely within the directive given by the Jobs Summit where Agbiz is playing a major role. For more information, see Upcoming Events in this newsletter.
The National Agricultural Marketing Council (NAMC) monitors food prices at retail level and releases regular authoritative reports. In its latest report, the NAMC states that in August 2018, the nominal cost of the NAMC's 28-item urban food basket reached R833.41 compared to the R844.72 reported in July 2018, indicating a month-on-month (m-o-m) percentage decrease of 1.3%. When compared to August 2017, an annual (y-o-y) percentage increase of 0.5% was reported. Please click here to peruse the latest  NAMC Food Basket Price Monthly Report.
It is again that time of the year when the Institute of Risk Management South Africa conducts its annual risk survey in the country.  It is an opportunity for Agbiz members and other industry leaders  to voice the risks of agriculture in South Africa.  Please participate in this survey as well as the supporting surveys that will be conducted throughout the year in delivering the IRMSA Risk Report, South Africa Risks 2019. Click here  to participate in the survey. The closing is date is Friday, 28 September 2018.
The partnership between the Red Meat Producers' Organisation (RPO) and Peritum Agri Institute (formerly BathoPele) with regards to the national diploma in animal production was strengthened at the congress of the national RPO where the official contract between the two organisations were signed. Press release.
It is with great disappointment that Free State Agriculture (FSA) has taken note of the statements made by President Cyril Ramaphosa during an interview with Bloomberg Global Business Forum during his recent visit to the United Nations in New York. Please click here to view the press release issued by FSA.
Click here  for the latest newsletter of Mobile Agri Skills Developoment and Training (MASDT).
Following the success of the previous Agbiz Information Sessions, two half-day information sessions for members and other role players are planned for 1 November in Pretoria and 15 November in Paarl. The sessions will focus on current challenges in the policy and legislation environment, as well as developments and opportunities in the agribusiness sector. Please save the dates; more information on registration and the programme will follow.

2018 IRMSA Annual Conference
3-4 October 2018  | Gallagher Convention Centre | Midrand
Keynote speaker: Pravin Gordhan, Minister of Public Enterprises

YES Programme Workshop
To provide guidance on questions like "What now?", "How does this affect B-BBEE scoring?" and "What does it mean for business?", Signa Advisors are presenting a series of workshops on the following dates:
27 September | Johannesburg
4 October | Cape Town
11 October | Durban
To register, of if you require more information, please email info@signa.co.za.

Agbiz Grain Road to Rail Workshop
8 October 2018 @13:00 | Auditorium, Grain Building | The Willows
RSVP: Before 4 October 2018 Register by contacting Annelien Collins at Agbiz Grain: 012 807 3002 or annelien@agbizgrain.co.za

Second African Congress on Conservation Agriculture
9-12 October 2018 | Johannesburg

Science Forum 2018
Theme: Win more, lose less: Capturing synergies between SDGs through agricultural research
10-12 October 2018 | Stellenbosch

Second International Conference for Food Safety and Security
St George's Hotel, Pretoria
15-17 October 2018 | St George Hotel | Pretoria

Government Supply Chain Management Challenges, Latest Trends and Effective Strategies to Improve Operational Success
24-26 October 2018   |  Holiday Inn Hotel |  Pretoria
Energy Food Water Nexus for South Africa
31 October-1 November 2018 | Johannesburg

African Agri Investment Indaba and Agri Trade Congress Africa
27-28 November 2018 | CTICC  | Cape Town

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

Skills Development Summit
12-13 March 2019   | CSIR International Convention Centre | Pretoria
Contact: Gordon Campbell 
Tel: 021 680 7155 / 073 540 9854
Email: gordon.campbell@capemedia.co.za

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

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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