30 August 2018

Last week Wednesday (22 August) the Minister of Higher Education published a document for public comment which outlines a fundamental change in the landscape for Sector Education Training Authorities (SETAs). The document seeks to overhaul the SETA landscape by, amongst other things, merging the SETA for agriculture with that of the Food and Beverage Industry. Industry and affected persons were given until the 12 September to submit comments on the proposed changes. Read more in the linked article by Agbiz head of Legal Intelligence Theo Boshoff.
Dr John Purchase, chief executive of the Agricultural Business Chamber of South Africa (Agbiz), spoke to Agri Investor two days after meeting with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa. As the long-running debate surrounding land reform rises on the national agenda, he said, some South African landowners are beginning to explore ways to transfer ownership stakes to local staff.
Click here to read the full article by Chris Janiec

Following a notable decline last year on the back of Western Cape drought, South Africa's wheat production could increase by 18% y/y to 1.8 million tonnes in 2018/19 production season. This is on the back of an expansion in area planted and improvement in yield prospects, particularly in the Western Cape province. This means the import requirements in the 2018/19 season could soften to levels around 1.6 million tonnes, from the estimated level of 1.9 million tonnes in the 2017/18 season. Most summer crop production estimates remain unchanged from last month with the exception of sunflower seed and sorghum, which were lifted by 8% and 27% from July 2018 estimates, respectively. Agbiz head of Agribusiness Research, Wandile Sihlobo, provides  more insight.
September 3 is an important date for the global wheat market - thanks to Russia. The country's agricultural ministry will be meeting with grain exporters to discuss the market situation and export plans for the 2018/19 season. The outcome of this meeting will be important, as the government indicated a possibility of curbing wheat exports once they reach 25 million tonnes. This is a way of ensuring that there are sufficient domestic supplies given that Russia's 2018/19 wheat production is expected to decline by 21 percent from last season to 67 million tonnes. This is on the back of unfavourable weather conditions and a reduction in area planted. Click here to read Wandile Sihlobo's linked article.
South African farmers planted 28 800 hectares of sorghum in the 2017/18 production season - the smallest area on record in a dataset starting from 1936/37. This is a disappointing picture, given that sorghum was once seen as key to the development of the biofuel industry in South Africa and, in turn, job creation in rural areas. Wandile Sihlobo, provides  more insight.
The last time Zimbabwe was nearly self-sufficient in wheat production was in 2001, with a harvest of about 325,000t. After nearly two decades, production declined to a mere 20,000t as a consequence of bad policy decisions. The government embarked on an ambitious investment plan in 2017 to revive wheat production. This was a plausible initiative following increasing bread and other wheaten product consumption. This plan entailed production loan schemes for acquiring inputs such as seeds, fertiliser, agrochemicals and irrigation facilities. Disappointingly, there has been no change in wheat area planted and subsequent harvest outcome.  Click here for Wandile Sihlobo's full article.
On 28 August 2018, the Department of Trade and Industry published the Youth Employment Service (YES) Initiative as Notice 502 under Gazette #41866. The programme was launched by President Cyril Ramaphosa on 27 March 2018, as an addition to the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) Act. Click here for more information on the YES programme.
"The primary agricultural objectives must be taken into account in the debate on land expropriation without compensation, otherwise it will not succeed, and South Africa will become an underdeveloped country like most other African countries," says Fanie Brink, an independent agricultural economist.  Press release
Business Portal
The Competition Commission South Africa will host a Business Breakfast Meeting on the Competition Amendment Bill and its implications for Business on 3 October. Click here for more information  and the programme .

Click here for Agri Info Newsletter, the newsletter of Agri Western Cape.
PMA Webinar
Join the Produce Marketing Association (PMA) webinar on 25 September for a deeper dive into blockchain. Could blockchain really be all that for our industry? Join PMA for a free webinar as we discuss how blockchain is being explored today by retailers, grower-shippers and tech companies. PMA's Ed Treacy will be joined by other industry thought leaders to explain blockchain, how it could address today's supply chain issues and how you can get started. Registration is free; advance registration is required.

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

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

Urban Agri Africa 2018 Summit
25-26 September 2018 | Sunnyside Park Hotel | Parktown
More information

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

Second International Conference for Food Safety and Security
St George's Hotel, Pretoria
15-17 October 2018 | St George Hotel | Pretoria

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