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.
29 May 2020
South Africa's level 3 lockdown - what you need to know
The Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) has further outlined the regulatory changes for South Africa's lockdown level 3 which will begin on 1 June.  At a media briefing on Thursday, Cogta minister Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said that most of the country's economic sectors will be opened, albeit with restrictions.  She said that the government's strategy is based on sound scientific advice as well as international organisations such as the World Health Organisation (WHO). However, she noted that due to the country's unique economic factors the country has had to ease the lockdown. Agbiz head of Legal Intelligence Theo Boshoff summarised the key points of the amended regulations for alert level 3 in the linked article.
How South Africa can best balance control of Covid-19 and avoid economic disaster

There is intense pressure on the South African government to lift the lockdown and open the economy. Sustainably lifting out of the lockdown is critical. But there is no roadmap. The stakes are high and there are no right answers, just ones that juggle uncertain probabilities. Diminishing growth over the past decade has weakened industry and slowed job creation, while state capture damaged state capacity. Unemployment is extremely high, there is extensive poverty and the country has the highest rates of inequality in the world. Efforts to get the economy moving have been thrown off course by the global Covid-19 pandemic. Read the linked article by Prof. Miriam Altman of the School of Economics at the University of Johannesburg. Prof. Altman is the convener of the Covid-19 Economists Group which is identifying solutions aimed at mitigating the social and economic effects of the pandemic. The group is working closely with the South Africa government. The paper on which this article is based draws from the group's work.
Re-open your business safely and legally

On 1 June, South Africa moves to level 3 with many sectors returning to operation. This will only be sustainable if companies re-open safely. The Return2Work coalition has provided easy-to-follow roadmaps for small and large companies to ensure that all guidelines and resources are in place for each level of the lockdown and to help businesses stay open. The coalition includes Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator, the Public Private Growth Initiative (PPGI), Business for South Africa, Genesis-Analytics and many others. The site can be accessed here. Companies  are welcome to share this on their website and to partner with the coalition via this link.   
Land reform - a status update

An updated edition of Agbiz's
Land Reform Status Update is available on the  Agbiz website . This document is intended to place the latest developments on expropriation in context and to provide an overview of the broader direction in which land reform is moving.  

The document includes:  
  • the process flow for the review of section 25 of the Constitution; 
  • a discussion of applicable legislation; 
  • a status update on Agbiz/BASA's land reform proposal, and 
  • a discussion on the report of the Presidential Advisory Panel on Land Reform and Agriculture.
Portfolio c ommittee gives Nedlac time to consider the ULTRA Bill

Section 2(1) of the Upgrading of Land Tenure Rights Act (ULTRA) was declared unconstitutional in 2017 in the case of Rahube v Rahube. Section 2(1) made provision for land tenure rights contained in apartheid era land registers to be automatically converted to ownership. Whilst the purpose was to cater for land tenure security, the opposite was often true as females were often excluded from registration as the owner in these apartheid era registers. By automatically upgrading the registered holder of the right, the Act inadvertently perpetuated apartheid era gender discrimination as there was no process to challenge whether the correct person received ownership via the Act. As such, the Constitutional Court gave Parliament the opportunity to rectify the situation and amend the Bill. Agbiz head of Legal Intelligence Theo Boshoff discusses this subject in the linked article.
Return to work safely

Although the majority of agribusinesses are already operating under lockdown level 4, some entities may only operate fully from Monday when the whole country enters alert level 3, but some questions still remain regarding the detailed mitigation measures that must be followed. To assist companies prepare for full operations, Agbiz has prepared a document which addresses frequently asked questions related to the Department of Employment and Labour's directives on occupational health and safety in the time of Covid-19. To complement our interpretation of the formal, legal requirements, Signa, an Agbiz member, has compiled a comprehensive pack of documents to assist employers. This includes:
  • A daily compliance checklist
  • A cleaning roster
  • Reintegration procurement guidelines
  • A workplace assessment
  • Work from home time sheets
  • A visitor screening questionnaire
Signa has kindly agreed to make these documents available to any Agbiz member and their suppliers or clients. As per the linked poster, these documents can be accessed free of charge by subscribing to Signa's mailing list or by contacting melcus@signa.co.za.
SA can expect bigger summer grains and oilseeds crop 

South Africa's 2019/20 fourth summer crop production estimates data released this week by the Crop Estimates Committee (CEC) did not introduce major adjustments from the previous estimates. Essentially, the maize production estimate was lifted by 2% from last month to 15.6 million tonnes (6.5 million tonnes are yellow maize, with 9.1 million tonnes being white maize). The current maize harvest is up 38% from the 2018/19 harvest, and is the second-largest harvest on record. With the crop having already matured and at harvest process, we doubt there will be notable adjustments in output levels in the upcoming five more reviews for this season. This is a case not only for maize, but all summer crops. Agbiz chief economist Wandile Sihlobo discusses the latest crop estimates data in the linked article.
Whether we will have surplus wheat in the global market hangs on the weather

As we continue to learn to live in the Covid-19 era, the business of agriculture has to go on and provide much-needed food to the world. The focus for many countries is now on the wheat production prospects for the 2020/2021 season. The inherent uncertainty around weather conditions is a major risk to global wheat production in the foreseeable future.
Whether one looks at Europe, North America or Southern Africa, there are increasing reports of drier weather conditions. If the dryness that is now reported persists, it could threaten wheat yields.
 Wandile Sihlobo provides insight on this subject in the linked article, written for and first published in Business Day.
Restricting maize imports during a pandemic? Bad idea
Since the pandemic started, several countries have adopted restrictive trade policy approaches such as export bans and export quotas.  The justification for such policies was consumer focused, as the countries needed to ensure domestic food security during this pandemic. Fortunately, when International Grains Council data showed ample global grain supplies in the 2019/20 and prospects for a larger crop in the 2020/21 production season; countries such as Russia, Cambodia and Vietnam, among others, reversed these protectionist policies. These countries had intended to restrict their wheat and rice trade. Wandile Sihlobo discusses this issue in the linked article, written for and first published on Fin24.
Finding Common Ground captures current discussions in the agri space

Finding Common Ground is the title of Agbiz chief economist Wandile Sihlobo's first book. It is a selection of key articles from Sihlobo's regular Business Day column, framed with insightful commentary and context. The book covers the broad themes that have marked current discussions and outlines the challenges and opportunities faced by South Africa's agricultural sector. It is available now online and in-store.
Cotton industry upbeat despite global plunge in consumption
Global cotton consumption is expected to decline 11,8% this year compared with the previous season, which will reduce global trade to 8,26 million tons in 2019/2020, according to the International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC).  Mario Botha, agricultural economist at Cotton South Africa (Cotton SA), said containment measures for the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) global pandemic, unprecedented shifts in the labour market, and growing unemployment led to a sharp decrease in global demand. Read the full story in the linked Farmer's Weekly article.
A toast to milk and milk products on World Milk Day
World Milk Day is a global event, usually celebrated on 1 June. The Milk Producers' Organisation (MPO) has celebrated World Milk Day for a number of years, and this year, together with 80 other countries around the world, the MPO will take part in the World Milk Day celebrations to toast to milk and milk products. This year's event is extra special because it is the 20th anniversary of World Milk Day. Read more in the linked MPO media statement.
How a post-COVID-19 revival could kickstart Africa's free trade area
The African Continental Free Trade Area was launched two years ago at an African Union (AU) summit in Kigali. It was scheduled to be implemented from 1 July 2020. But this has been pushed out until 2021 because of the impact of Covid-19 and the need for leaders to focus on saving lives.  Studies by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa and others state that the free trade area has the potential to increase growth, raise welfare and stimulate industrial development on the continent. But there are concerns. Some countries, particularly smaller and more vulnerable states, could be hurt. For example, they could suffer revenue losses and other negative effects from premature liberalisation. The linked article, published on The Conversation, investigates this subject further.
Australia began anti-dumping probes into Chinese aluminium, steel and A4 paper in 2020
Australia has this year launched three anti-dumping investigations into Chinese aluminium, steel and A4 paper, records from the Australian Anti-Dumping Commission show, adding weight to Beijing's claims that Canberra has played a lead role in ratcheting up trade tensions between the two nations.
Diplomatic ties between China and Australia have soured in recent weeks after Beijing placed a 80.5% tariff on all Australian barley imports, raising suspicions it was in retaliation for Australia's calls for an independent investigation into the origins of the coronavirus. This subject is discussed in the linked article, first published in the South China Morning Post.
Tracking the $9 trillion global fiscal support to fight Covid-19
Governments have put forward swift and significant emergency lifelines to protect people in response to the pandemic. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has measured these in the April 2020 Fiscal Monitor and as countries have stepped up their efforts. The total is about $9 trillion. Read more in the linked IMF blogpost.
What's the risk of catching coronavirus from a surface? 
Fears about catching the coronavirus from contaminated surfaces have prompted many of us to spend the past few months wiping down groceries, leaving packages unopened and stressing about touching elevator buttons.  But what's the real risk of catching Covid-19 from a germy surface or object?  The question has been on people's minds lately, and there was some confusion after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention made some edits to its website last week. Read more in the linked article, first published in The New York Times.
PMA appoints new country manager for South Africa
The Produce Marketing Association (PMA) has hired Lianne Jones, a produce and floral industry veteran with extensive global experience, as the new country manager for PMA in South Africa. Jones's background includes nearly 20 years of marketing, sales, category management, account management and business development with companies such as Zespri International Limited, the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association, and Asda/International Produce Ltd., a UK subsidiary of Walmart.  As PMA's new country manager in South Africa, Jones will focus on providing member value, attracting and retaining members, and building strategic partnerships to help grow the produce and floral industry. Jones will oversee all PMA events and activities in South Africa, including Fresh Connections: Southern Africa, PMA Fresh Talks initiatives, and will support execution of Fresh Summit, PMA's annual convention and expo which takes place in various locations in the United States. Read more in the linked PMA media statement.
Fruit South Africa appoints new CEO
Fhumulani Ratshitanga has been appointed chief executive officer of Fruit South Africa (Fruit SA), effective 1 June 2020. This follows her appointment to the role of acting CEO on 1 April.
Having joined Fruit SA as industry affairs manager in July 2019, Fhumulani's expansive experience and affinity with the agricultural sector and the fruit industry will continue to stand her in good stead as she progresses into this dynamic role. Her career in the agricultural sector spans over 18 years: she has worked for the Southern African Confederation of Agricultural Unions, the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development and the Perishable Products Export Control Board. Read more in the linked Fruit SA media statement.
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. 
The latest 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.
Invitation to the Nedbank Agriculture Webinar

Join Nedbank for their inaugural live Agriculture Webinar on 4 June from 9:00 to 11:00. No industry is immune to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and, while the agricultural industry is no stranger to adverse external factors, the pressure currently being faced across the sector is changing the face of the industry as we know it. Prof. Ferdi Meyer, managing director of BFAP, will talk about the impact of Covid-19 on agriculture and Agbiz CEO Dr John Purchase's talk will cover observations and learnings from Covid-19 and the way forward for South African agriculture. Please click here for more information and to register, please follow this link.
Virtual discussion on the agri value chain sparks debate around challenges and opportunities

Senwes, in collaboration with the Agricultural Business Chamber (Agbiz), hosted a virtual discussion series on the agricultural value chain.  The virtual discussion series platform went live on 24 April 2020 @ 16:00.  This platform will continue to be open to anyone who would like to join the virtual discussions in the new revolutionary series and follow these informative sessions with the different role players in the agriculture value chain. Please visit the link to register and to access the platform for more information on the topics and panellists. The first seven sessions are ready for you to view . Registered participants will be alerted by SMS when a new session becomes available. 
17-19  June 2020 | Cape Town International Convention Centre  | Cape Town

MPO webinar on the sensory evaluation of cheeses
24 June @ 10:00-12:00.
More information: Julie on 083 740 2720 or julie@mpo.co.za.

2020 AgriAllAfrica Agribusiness Conference and Exhibition
Theme: "Pioneering new agri horizons"
5 - 6 August 2020 | Diamond hall, CSIR | Pretoria
Enquiries: Marianna.duplessis@gmail.com | +27 063 076 9135

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

MPO Annual National Congress, cheese-making course and AGMs
4 November  2020 | Lythwood Lodge | Lidgetton | KZN Midlands
Contact Julie McLachlan: julie@mpo.co.za or 083 740 2720

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

Soya Bean for Human Consumption Symposium
17 September 2020  | Pretoria

Agbiz Congress 2021
Theme: "Building resilient and sustainable agri-food ecosystems".
7-9 April 2021 | Sun City Convention Centre | South Africa

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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