3 May 2019
SA's agricultural sector needs more innovative and inclusive financial instruments

Agriculture has come under the spotlight in South Africa. Not only did the severe droughts experienced in 2015 and 2016 highlight the sector's importance to South Africa's economic growth and job creation ambitions, the recent policy proposal on land expropriation without compensation drew attention to the agricultural sector's importance in ensuring national food security, while also addressing inequality. However, one factor - access  to finance  - remains a cardinal feature that has not been properly addressed. This is because the financial services sector plays a significant role in the growth of South Africa's agricultural sector. Thabi Nkosi, executive director responsible for research, business development and investments at AFGRI Group Holdings, and Agbiz chief economist Wandile Sihlobo discuss t his topic in the linked article, written for and first published in Business Day.
South African growers can learn from Kenya's avocado revolution

There has been a revolution in the Kenyan avocado export market, characterised by enormous growth over the past three years. After remaining a relatively small exporter of avocado for a prolonged period, Kenya has now overtaken South Africa to be the leading exporter of avocado in the continent and the seventh largest in the world. To be clear though, this is not because South Africa is faltering, but Kenya is finally doing what it should have been doing for a long period.  Agbiz chief economist Wandile Sihlobo provides more insight in the linked article.
Reflections on South Africa's agricultural economy

Often said is the statement that the macroeconomic standing of the agricultural sector has diminished over time - and this argument is supported by the sector's declining share of GDP, which fell from 4.2% in the 1996 to 2.4% in 2018.  What is not captured in this narrative, however, is the fact that the value of the agricultural sector has grown by almost 46%, from R50.5 billion to R74.2 billion over the same period. This means that South Africa's primary agricultural sector is not becoming insignificant - it is only that other sectors, particularly the services sector, have grown at a faster pace. Wandile Sihlobo reflects on the agricultural economic performance in 2018 in the linked blogpost.
The 18th SA Cheese Festival an ever-innovative success

T he 18th South African Cheese Festival from 26 to 28 April 2019 was a huge success according to the organisers, exhibitors and visitors. Everyone agrees, this was the best festival ever. It is not every day that the Dairy Product of the Year and the Gin of the Year visit together at one festival.  According to Johan Ehlers, CEO of Agri-Expo, a highlight was the high standard of products - of which the SA Dairy Product of the Year and the Gin of the Year for 2019 testify. Belnori Boutique Cheesery's St Francis of Ashisi (a 50/50 goat's and cow's milk cheese) and Deep South Distillery's Cape Dry Gin could be tasted during two tasting room sessions. "This gin won a gold medal at the London Spirits Competition on Tuesday 30 April 2019, and was also awarded Gin of the Year 2019 out of more than 300 entries."   Press release
Sauvignon Blanc SA is the new ambassador for a global favourite

South Africa's champion for Sauvignon Blanc, one of the country's most widely planted wine grape varieties, has undergone a transformation that brings momentum to its international success. Formerly known as the Sauvignon Blanc Interest Group (SBIG), Sauvignon Blanc South Africa not only announced a new name but has taken the opportunity of International Sauvignon Blanc Day (3 May) to ring in a string of changes. Press release
Climate-smart agriculture in the spotlight

The fourth edition of the
SmartAgri Barometer of 2018/2019 published by the Western Cape Department of Agriculture offers readers a basket of climate-smart articles.  If you have not read about the SmartAgri plan, or seen the previous editions of SmartAgri Barometer, please visit  www.greenagri.org.za or www.elsenburg.com.   
The latest news from FPEF

The latest edition of the Fresh Produce Exporters' Forum's newsletter, Keeping it Fresh, highlights the latest news and developments in the fresh produce industry. Please click here to peruse.
SA Large Herds Conference
3-5 June 2019  The Boardwalk  Port Elizabeth

Trade Development Forum
24-25 June 2019 | Gallagher Convention Centre | Johannesburg

2019 Cannabis Conference
Theme: The big business of cannabis
27-28 June 2019 | Emperors Palace Convention Centre Johannesburg
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13th Agribusiness Africa Conference 
10 July 2019 Premier Hotel | OR Tambo Airport
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PMA Fresh Connections: SA Conference and Trade Show  
30-31 July 2019 | Century City | Cape Town

Agbiz Grain 2019 Symposium 
14 August 2019  |  CSIR International Convention Centre | Pretoria

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

Agritec Africa
19-21 June 2019 | Kenyatta International Conference & Convention Center (KICC), Nairobi  | Kenya

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