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.
3 July 2020
Priorities for the Covid-19 economy

With hopes of a sharp rebound from the pandemic-induced recession quickly fading, policymakers should pause and take stock of what it will take to achieve a sustained recovery. The most urgent policy priorities have been obvious since the beginning, but they will require hard choices and a show of political will. The post-pandemic economy is likely to be anemic, not just in countries that have failed to manage the pandemic (namely, the United States), but even in those that have acquitted themselves well. The International Monetary Fund projects that by the end of 2021, the global economy will be barely larger than it was at the end of 2019, and that the US and European economies will still be about 4% smaller. Read more in the linked article, written for and first published on Project Syndicate.
SA farm economy recovers in Q1, 2020 

After experiencing four consecutive quarters of contraction because of droughts and foot-and-mouth disease amongst other factors, South Africa's agriculture economy rebounded in the first quarter of 2020 by 27.8% q/q on a seasonally-adjusted and annualised basis. We expect the following quarters of the year to show solid growth, and the year to average at about 10% y/y (compared to -6.9% y/y in 2019). This will be underpinned by a recovery in all major subsectors of agriculture; namely livestock, field crops and horticulture production. This is all on the back of favourable weather conditions during the 2019/20 production season. Agbiz chief economist Wandile Sihlobo discusses the latest data in the linked article.
Nampo 2020 goes virtual

The Nampo Harvest Day, which has been bringing agriculture together for almost six decades, has sadly for the first time had to be cancelled by organisers Grain SA, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The show was postponed to August 2020 at the outbreak of the pandemic, but following the announcement of an unspecified ban on the prohibition of large gatherings, the 2020 Nampo Harvest Day at Nampo Park will now not take place.  However, farmers will still be able to enjoy the best that agriculture has to offer. The 2020 Nampo Harvest Day show, which will be the 54th edition of this iconic agricultural tradeshow, will go online. Please click here to read more.
High Court dismisses appeal regarding the tradability of water use entitlements

Late in June, the North Gauteng High Court has dismissed an appeal brought by the South African Association for Water Users Associations (SAAWUA) and two other, similar applications regarding the tradability of water use entitlements. The full bench of the North Gauteng High Court, sitting as a court of appeal, reiterated that section 25 of the National Water Act does not permit authorised water users to 'sell' their water use entitlements as this would lead to the privatisation of a national resource and deprive the minister of her statutory obligation to ensure that water is equitably allocated. Please click here for the full judgement. Agbiz head of Legal Intelligence Theo Boshoff provides more information in the linked article.
Forecasts of bumper harvests suggest subdued food prices this year

The high-frequency data on both domestic and global markets reinforced our view that grain prices could be under pressure this year and that this, in turn, could lead to subdued food price inflation.  This past week, the International Grains Council (IGC) lifted its estimate for 2020/21 global maize production from the last monthly estimate to 1.2 billion tons, which is the largest harvest on record, and up 5% from the previous season.  The downward swing in global maize prices saw a 21% y/y decline by 25 June 2020, with prices trading around $162 per ton. Low global maize prices are probably going to remain the theme for the rest of the year. Agbiz chief economist Wandile Sihlobo discusses this subject in the linked article, written for and first published on Fin 24.
Port of Cape Town receives additional capacity to assist in terminal operations
Transnet has introduced a number of solutions to deal with operational backlogs at the Port of Cape Town, caused by the Covid-19 pandemic in the region. To alleviate pressure at the terminals, 20 employees from the Durban Container Terminal (DCT) have volunteered to be deployed to the container and the multi-purpose terminals at the Port Of Cape Town. The employees from DCT are a combination of driver articulated vehicles (DAVs), rubber tyre gantry (RTG) cranes and ship-to-shore (STS) cranes drivers with over 100 years of collective work experience. This will improve movement of cargo and ensure staff availability.  The 20 employees have been screened and tested for Covid-19, and their deployment will not affect operations at DCT. Read more in the linked Transnet media statement, first published on Fresh Plaza.
Government policies provide more than USD 500bn to farmers every year

The latest edition of the OECD's annual Agricultural Policy Monitoring and Evaluation report shows that the support policies implemented by the 54 countries studied - all OECD and EU countries, plus 12 key emerging economies - provided on average USD 536 billion (EUR 469 billion) per year of direct support to farmers from 2017 to 2019. Half of this support came from policies that kept domestic prices above international levels; such policies harm consumers, especially poor ones, increase the income gap between small and large farms, and reduce the competitiveness of the food industry overall. At the same time, six of the countries implicitly taxed farmers by USD 89 billion (EUR 78 billion) per year by artificially depressing prices. These policies further added to market distortions. Please click here to read more.
China researchers discover new swine flu with 'pandemic potential'

Chinese researchers have discovered a new type of swine flu that can infect humans and has the potential to cause a future pandemic, according to a study released on Monday, though scientists have cautioned that the virus does not pose an immediate global health threat.  The disease, which researchers called the G4 virus, is genetically descended from the H1N1 swine flu that caused a pandemic in 2009. G4 now shows "all the essential hallmarks of a candidate pandemic virus," said the study, published in the scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).  But Dr Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at Columbia University's public health school, warned the public not to "freak out." The linked CNN article elaborates on this topic.
Low internet access driving inequality

Covid-19 and the Great Lockdown triggered a mass migration from analog to digital and highlighted that access to the internet is crucial for socioeconomic inclusion.  High-speed internet is key for working from home, for children's education when they can't attend school in person, for telemedicine, for benefiting from social support programmes, and for enabling access to financial services for everyone, especially for those living in remote areas. Still, internet usage remains a luxury: half of the world's population does not have access to the internet, either through a mobile device or through fixed line broadband. Read more on the digital divide, both within and between countries in the linked IMF blogpost.
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. 
 Weekly newsletter from CGA

Justin Chadwick, CEO of the Citrus Growers' Association of Southern African, shares the latest news in the citrus industry in his weekly update - From the desk of the CEO. Please click here to peruse.
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.
Ins and outs of the informal trade sector in South Africa (part 2)

Session 10 of the Agri Value Chain Virtual Discussion Series zooms in on the informal trade sector in South Africa. 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. This platform will continue to be open to anyone who would like to join the virtual discussions. Please follow the link to register and to access the platform for more information on the topics and panelists. Eight sessions are ready to view. Registered participants will be alerted by SMS when a new session becomes available. 

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
18-20 August 2020  | Virtual event

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

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.
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