29 November 2019
Agbiz presents at UK High Commission in London

The South African Chamber of Commerce in the United Kingdom (UK), together with the South African High Commission in London, last week hosted a seminar meeting on "Unlocking South Africa's Agricultural Potential". The event was opened by Her Excellency Thembi Tambo, the High Commissioner in London, while René van Wyk, group CEO of Absa (event sponsor), emphasised the leading role and major focus Absa has on the agricultural sector in South Africa. Wessel Lemmer of Absa provided background information on both the economy and agri-economy of South Africa, while Dr John Purchase, CEO of Agbiz, presented on the prospects of, and challenges facing South African agriculture and agribusiness. In 2018, South Africa exported US$834 million (~R13 billion) worth of agricultural produce to the UK (predominantly fruit and wines), up 29% from US$648 million in 2016. The UK is South Africa's second largest export destination of agricultural products at ~8,0% of total agricultural exports, thus an extremely important and growing market for our products. Further participants were John Valentine, managing director of Red Communications, a UK-based marketing and public relations agency for the fresh produce sector, offering integrated marketing services, and Matthew Churchill, business development manager of Greencell/Westfalia. The UK Fresh Produce Consortium also participated and all were extremely positive on the future of South African fruits, wines and berries on the UK market. 
IMF releases findings following mission to South Africa

An International Monetary Fund (IMF) team led by Ana Lucía Coronel visited South Africa from 6 to 21 November 2019 to conduct its regular Article IV consultation activities. Discussions focused on the economic performance and outlook; policies to strengthen economic stability; and reforms to reinvigorate private investment, growth, and job creation.  Please click IMF Mission Concluding Statement to peruse. 
New pamphlets on FMD help create awareness

The Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development,(DALRRD) recently published two pamphlets on foot-and-mouth disease to promote awareness of the disease. The main objective is to establish whether the FMD virus has spread. The department calls on all stakeholders to use and distribute the pamphlets and to report the first signs of disease to the state veterinarian. Please click FMD: Why it is important? and Important facts you should know about FMD to peruse.
Minister launches the Water and Sanitation Master Plan
Agbiz attended the official launch of the Water and Sanitation Master Plan presided over by Ministers Sisulu and De Lille, on 28 November 2019. The first portion of the Master Plan launched at the event focuses largely on water management whilst a follow-up session is expected to focus on sanitation issues. The Master Plan launch is timely as South Africa is busy facing up to the challenges of a drought and an increasingly volatile climate that hampers economic activity. As mentioned in the Master Plan, demand for water is likely to outstrip supply in the near future and urgent interventions are required to prevent water availability becoming an obstacle to investment and economic growth. Agbiz head of Legal Intelligence Theo Boshoff reports on the launch in the linked article.
SA agriculture following its vision of focusing on labour-intensive subsectors
It is well understood within South African agricultural circles that inclusive expansion in production in the coming years needs to prioritise labour-intensive and globally sought-after products. Pursuing this goal requires effort, but not much in the way of new ingenuity as the country is already on this trajectory. It is quite encouraging to note that about two-thirds of the
880 000 primary agricultural jobs in the third quarter of 2019 were in horticulture and field crops, which are labour-intensive agricultural subsectors. Agbiz chief economist Wandile Sihlobo discusses this subject in linked article, written for and first published in Business Day.
South Africa's 2019 wheat harvest estimate down 16% y/y
South Africa's Crop Estimates Committee has lowered its estimates for the country's 2019/20 wheat production by 5% from October 2019 to 1.6 million tonnes. This equates to a 16% decline from the 2018/19 season.  We are not surprised at all by this development as we stated in the previous blog post that Western Cape's winter wheat crop, which has largely been harvested, wasn't in good shape as initially anticipated. The decline in South Africa's overall wheat harvest estimate is underpinned by lower yields in this particular province. The Northern Cape, Free State, Eastern Cape and North West aren't in particularly in good shape either. Wandile Sihlobo shares his insights in the linked article.
Turning farmworkers into farmers

In California, near immense industrial farms, small plots are rented out to field labourers so they can try to create their own farm businesses. The Salinas Valley is known for its enormous industrial farms that grow produce like lettuce and broccoli. But just southeast of the city of Salinas, a patchwork of much smaller organic fruit and vegetable fields breaks the industrial sprawl. Start-up farmers tend these fields morning, afternoon and night. Read more in the linked article, written for and first published in The New York Times.
Unlocking access for the success of SA's next-generation farmers

This is a story, not of a man who asked for money, but of a man who asked for mentorship and access. He planted every tree on his farm, watched them grow, and learnt that with farming, it truly is a grass roots beginning that is the precursor to success.Gene Likhanya's start in life is not an atypical one, however it is one that is taking an extraordinary path. "It is not about black and white for me. It is about what happens between emerging and established farmers and players in the market," says Gene Likhanya. Read more in the linked article.
Wool trade postpones December sale 

At a joint meeting of the Brokers' Association and the South African Wool and Mohair Buyers' Association (SAWAMBA) held on 25 November 2019, it was decided that the sale of Catalogue14 that was scheduled for 5 December 2019 will be postponed until 9 January 2020 for the following reasons: 
* The FMD situation and the time/temperature requirements have resulted in a growing shipping backlog which has led to restrictions of available vessels.
* The Chinese New Year falling on 25 January 2020 and the Chinese mills not being able to receive wool after 20 January have exacerbated the situation.
* The extra time required before wool can be shipped will negatively impact auction prices as the buyers will have to finance their wool purchases for a longer period.
* These challenges have highlighted the impact of one bale lines on the industry. A solution has to be found for this problem. 
Both the Brokers' Association and SAWAMBA believe that the decision to postpone this sale is in the best interests of the wool industry as a whole. 
South Africa's berry production set to grow 80%

South Africa's berry industry is set to continue on its remarkable growth trajectory in the next five years, with the number of hectares planted projected to increase by more than 80% by 2025. The number of hectares of blueberries in particular will increase by 136% in Limpopo and 102% in Mpumalanga.  Agricultural Economist Nina Viljoen shared the findings of her survey at the South African Berry Producers Association's annual general meeting on 22 November 2019. Read more in the linked article, published on Fresh Plaza.
Citrus industry generates billions in exports despite bruising year

South Africa has packed 126 million cartons of citrus fruit for export to countries around the world this year, and remains the second largest global exporter of citrus fruit. Despite events beyond the growers' control, such as drought and container terminal delays, the industry continues to bring R20 billion rand into the country as export revenue. While the packed total is lower than last year's bumper crop of 136 million boxes, production remains very high and a valuable source of both income and jobs for South Africa. Read more in the CGA press release and linked article first published in Business Day.
Cost price squeeze blow for the primary dairy industry

The low producer price for unprocessed milk together with the price increases of yellow maize and soybeans in October reduced the milk : feed price ratio to 1,15:1. The September 2019 derived feed price compared to September 2018 is 23% higher. At the milk : feed price ratio level the majority of dairy farmers will not break even and will have to fund their operations from equity or borrowings, if available. The double dip in the above ratio that farmers experienced in the first 10 months of 2019 will have a prolonged effect on supply in the coming months and in the next season. Please click on the MPO's Dairy Market Trends October 2019 to peruse.
Marsh publishes guide on tornadoes

The recent spate of tornadoes around South Africa has highlighted pockets of concern amongst a workforce who are not used to tornadoes. This prompted Marsh's Environmental Practice to issue some knowledge to when a tornado is forming and what to do during a tornado. Please click Tornadoes - warnings and actions to peruse.
Get the latest news from SAPPO

For the latest news from the South African Pork Producers' Organisation, please click SAPPO Weekly Update to peruse.In this edition Johann Kotzé, CEO of SAPPO, reports on the meeting of a RMIF delegation with the Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, Thoko Didiza, to be updated on the government's plans regarding the foot-and-mouth disease outbreak.
The latest news from FPEF

The latest edition of the Fresh Produce Exporters' Forum's  (FPEF) newsletter - Keeping it Fresh - shares some of the recent relevant news and developments
in a summarised format. 
Register and book your accommodation to avoid disappointment

It is our pleasure to inform you that the Agbiz Congress 2020 will be held at Sun City in North West from 15 to 17 July 2020.  Held every second year, the Agbiz Congress 2020 is one of the major events on the food, feed, fibre and wine sectors' agenda in South Africa. We anticipate attracting more than 400 delegates to the 2020 congress, which will feature presentations and discussion panels from local and international speakers, as well as a student case competition and various networking opportunities.

Themed "Building resilient and sustainable agri-food ecosystems", the congress will provide the key forum for identifying the critical developments needed over the coming decades to ensure agri-food value chains are managed sustainably for the benefit of current and future generations. New practices, methods and technologies are required to build robust and inclusive value chains, and thus sustainable agri-food networks and food security.

Don't miss out on this exciting opportunity to engage in these critical discussions, and showcase and promote your business on the agribusiness stage. We are looking forward to seeing you at the Agbiz Congress 2020 from 15 to 17 July 2020 at Sun City!

Please click here for more information and to register.
Nedbank Vinpro Information Day
Theme: "Touch and change"
23 January 2020 | KIKS | Cape Town

Africa Agri Tech South Africa
18-20 February 2020  | Time Square | Menlyn Maine | Pretoria
More information

AFMA Forum 2020
Theme: "Explore today for a better tomorrow"
3-5 March 2020 | Sun City | South Africa

Skills Development Summit & Achiever Awards 
4-5 March 2020 | CSIR Convention Centre | Pretoria
Contact  Gordon Campbell: gordon.campbell@skillssummit.co.za

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

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