3 August 2018

Agbiz this week noted the declaration made by the ANC through its president, Cyril Ramaphosa, that the ANC supported amending the Constitution to make provision for expropriation without compensation under specific conditions. It is regrettable that the ANC found it wise to reiterate its view, with no specific detail, before the Constitutional Review Committee had completed its work and had made proposals to Parliament. The ANC indicated that the declaration was necessary to bring greater certainty to the process and to be explicit in terms of the position it was taking. While the declaration does bring a certain amount of clarity, it also raises further issues of uncertainty, specifically with regard to the conditions under which expropriation without compensation would be effected. If the ANC wants to bring clarity, it should clearly indicate the full and explicit wording of the amendment to the Constitution it proposes to introduce into the parliamentary process that is to follow. The devil is in the detail, and the wording will allow legal experts to analyse the true intent and implications of the amendment with regard to expropriation without compensation. Agbiz again reiterates its position that no amendment to the Constitution is necessary to effect orderly and predictable land reform within the rule of law. It has been government's failure to implement the tools at its disposal, as provided by the current Constitution, and to budget sufficiently and effectively to effect necessary land reform and extend property rights to a far broader base of the population.  

Traditional leadership and land expropriation are two very thorny issues in their own right, but once the two became conflated it was bound to ruffle some feathers. The issue came to the fore after the recent comments made by King Goodwill Zwelithini regarding the Ingonyama Trust, but are these issues really related? Theo Boshoff, Agbiz head of Legal Intelligence, discussed this issue in an article for Mail & Guardian
The Quarterly Labour Force Survey conducted by Statistics South Africa showed a percentage point annual increase in agricultural employment in the second quarter of this year to 843 000 jobs. This was supported by improvement in employment in the Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Limpopo and the Northern Cape. This is underpinned by increased activity in the grain and horticultural fields during the harvesting period. Although the improvement in agricultural jobs is an encouraging development, it is worth noting that South Africa is still far behind its target of creating a million agricultural jobs by 2030 as envisaged in the National Development Plan.  Agbiz head of Agribusiness Research Wandile Sihlobo provides more insight.
The world is in a far better place in terms of food supply and costs than in the recent past. This is evident in the Food and Agricultural Organization food price index, which averaged 173.7 index points in June, down 1.3% from May and a percentage point from the same time in 2017. This was underpinned by a decline in global grain, vegetable oil and dairy product prices due to large supplies. Read more in Wandile Sihlobo's linked article  written for and published in Business Day on 2 August 2018.

In an article for Business Day, Wandile Sihlobo and Prof Johann Kirsten write that the expropriation of commercial land and farms could negatively affect food security and agricultural growth.
In its 54th national conference report and resolutions, the governing ANC highlighted that the interventions regarding expropriation of land without compensation would largely focus on government-owned land, prioritising the "redistribution of vacant, unused and underutilised state land, as well as land held for speculation and hopelessly indebted land". It remains to be seen if commercial land or farms will be part of the expropriation process. 

South Africa's logistics are comparatively more efficient than most industrialising countries, albeit showing a concerning trend in having regressed from 2016's ranking. This is according to the World Bank's Logistics Performance Index which ranked South Africa at number 33 out of 160 countries surveyed, down from number 20 in 2016, with Germany still leading the world. With growing expectations that South Africa could potentially have large agricultural surpluses for export markets, particularly in maize, the logistics services will play a critical role in ensuring the success of the activity. Wandile Siholobo elaborates in the linked article.

South Africa has recently introduced a statutory levy for breeding and technology whereby an agreed fee is (will be) paid on every tonne of soybeans, wheat and barley that is delivered. This fee is then transferred to the seed breeding companies and research institutions based on their seed sales market share. A study by the Bureau for Food and Agricultural Policy (BFAP), as commissioned by the South African Cultivar and Technology Agency (SACTA), with regards to the impact of the breeding and technology levies on open-pollinated crops in South Africa, has just been released. Please click here to peruse.

 The Steinhoff saga, possibly the biggest case of corporate fraud in South African business history, has dominated financial and general news since the company's share price collapsed on 5 December 2017. Part of the role of the University of Stellenbosch Business School is to reflect on real-life business cases and to extract general lessons to be learnt. Much can be gleaned from business success stories, but even more revealing sometimes are business failures. Please click to peruse.

  Agri SA and Landbouweekblad will be hosting a Land Summit on 23 and 24 August 2018, which will be sponsored by a number of Agbiz members. Click for details and the programme of the summit. 
Except for local media, a strong contingent of international media will also be present. To inspire farmers and to ensure that they are well informed, a challenge has been issued by Landbouweekblad . For every rand that an agribusiness spends to get farmers to the summit by purchasing a ticket, Landbouweekblad will return R3 in advertising and promotional space. The package is as follows:
  • A social media video that Brand Republic produces for the involved company on the farmers they are sponsoring, for distribution within their own networks.
  • An input on the TV programme Landbouweekliks covering the summit.
  • A promotional or advertising input in Landbouweekblad, in whatever format the company prefers, and over and above the exposure provided when feedback is provided on the summit
If interested, please contact Chris Burgess at Chris.Burgess@landbou.com.

Agri Western Cape, in collaboration with labour experts André Bloem and Nino MacKinnon, invites members to attend their national minimum wage roadshows. Please note that the initial date of 9 August for Stellenbosch and Grabouw will be changed due to the public holiday and long weekend, and the initial date for Eendekuil, 8 August, will also be moved. New dates will be communicated soon. Read more 

South African feed sales have started showing signs of stabilising after facing several challenges over the past three to four years, while achieving a smaller than expected drop in sales for the 2017/18 AFMA statistical year. According to the executive director of the Animal Feed Manufacturers' Association (AFMA), De Wet Boshoff, AFMA feed sales for 2017/18 showed a negative growth of only 0.7% compared to the enormous drop in sales of 6.2% experienced during 2016/17, the highest percentage decrease in feed sales AFMA members have ever experienced. Press release

The Signa Group has announced that they have refreshed their website. Visitors can now enjoy a modern, clean and informative website. The website also provides a platform to highlight their Power of One campaign - www.signa.co.za   More information

Click here for the National Agricultural Marketing Council 's (NAMC) quaterly economic research newsletter - The trumpet.

The fifth Agbiz Grain Symposium will take place on Tuesday, 21 August at the CSIR in Pretoria. This year's theme is "Value chain impacts".

All the relevant role players in the grain industry, those involved in storage and handling of grain, as well as others involved in the grain value chain, will be attending. About 120 delegates are expected at the symposium.

The symposium will be an all-day event. The programme will be interactive to provide a platform for exchange of information, to engage in discussions, to share opinions and to ask open questions. Confirmed speakers who will present at the symposium are from Department of Transport, the University of Pretoria and the CSIR, plus a few surprises.

In line with the theme "Value chain impacts", sessions are dedicated to "On the move"; "On the farm"; "On the net"; "In the science"; and "In the future". The topics will comprise several issues affecting the entire grain value chain. The first session will cover road and rail transport in the grain industry. The second session is devoted to matters pertaining to the accessibility of information on the internet for the primary agricultural sector as well as the vitally important aspect of on-line security for a business and its employees. One session will be dedicated to scientific matters such as essential information regarding mycotoxins and endocrine disrupters which can affect the grain industry negatively. The symposium will close with presentations about the future of agriculture, focusing on visionary, but useful technologies.

We will end the day with time to network and exchange information with the exhibitors.  Click for more information and to register. .
Signa B-BBEE Workshops
7 August  2018 | Signa Academy  | Randburg
15 August  2018 | Kelvin Grove Club  | Newlands
PMA Fresh Connections Southern Africa
Conference and Trade show
15-16 August, 2018 |  CSIR | Pretoria
Registration now open
Enquiries: Petrie Vogel, petrie@abevents.co.za

PMA Women's Fresh Perspectives:
Register now for the Women's Fresh Perspectives event which includes a luncheon with keynote 
speaker  Adv. Thuli Madonsela   @ThuliMadonsela3
This is a limited seating event! 

BIO Africa Convention 2018
27-29 August 2018  | International Convention Centre | Durban

AGRI 5 Commodities Workshop and Expo
20-21 September 2018  East London Show Grounds
Contact info: 011 056 6856

Agbiz Grain Symposium
21 August 2018 | Pretoria
Enquiries: Mariana Purnell, mariana.purnell@agbizgrain.co.za

FERTASA Soil Fertility and Plant Nutrition Symposium
21 August 2018 | CSIR | Pretoria
Enquiries:  candice@fertasa.co.za

Africa Fertilizer Agribusiness Conference
24-26 September  | Cape Town
More information

56th Annual Conference of the Agricultural Economics Association of South Africa (AEASA)
25-27 September 2018 | Lord Charles Hotel | Somerset West
Media release

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

First Bi-annual International Soy for Human Health Conference 2019
11-13 March 2019 | St George Hotel | Pretoria
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