31 January 2020
Agbiz submits written inputs on Draft Constitution Eighteenth Amendment Bill, 2019

Agbiz has submitted its written inputs on the Draft Constitution Eighteenth Amendment Bill to amend section 25 of the Constitution to allow expropriation without compensation to the chairperson of the Ad Hoc Commitee, Dr Mathole Motshekga. The Bill was approved in early December before it was opened for public comment. In the submission, Agbiz reiterated its position that land reform objectives can be achieved without resorting to expropriation at nil compensation, if the administrative process is overhauled to ensure efficient administration.
The same position on expropriation without compensation has been confirmed in previous Agbiz media statements available on the Agbiz website:
Agbiz engages with CRC on the review of Section 25 of the Constitution - 6 September 2018
Agbiz represented on the International Bar Association's Agricultural Law Section

In September 2019, Agbiz head of Legal Intelligence, Theo Boshoff, was granted the opportunity to present on climate change, Africa and the role of agricultural law at the International Bar Association (IBA)'s annual conference in Seoul, South Korea. Following this conference, the IBA has confirmed that Theo will serve a two-year term ending in December 2021 on the Legal Practice Division's Agricultural Law Section. As an officer of this section, it will provide Agbiz with a unique opportunity to make inputs into important international issues related to land use, ownership and farmer's rights, climate change, seed, plant variety, biotech and GMO laws, trade, food safety and liability amongst other areas. The agricultural law division works closely with the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations (FAO). Please click here to view the  work of the Agricultural Law Section.
Land Bank hopes for permanent CEO appointment in February

A permanent CEO appointment at the Land and Agricultural Development Bank of South Africa, downgraded to junk by Moody's on 21 January, may be confirmed in February, acting CEO Sydney Soundy said.  The bank has been without a permanent CEO since December 2018. Soundy became acting CEO when Kone Gugushe stood down on 15 January.  The process for the appointment of the CEO is that the board makes a proposal to the finance minister, who can then in turn make a recommendation to the cabinet. The board made such a recommendation in November, which is now under consideration by the minister, Soundy said. While he has received no indication on the timing of the decision, the cabinet is due to meet in February, he noted. Read more in the linked article, written for and first published on The Africa Report.
Ad Hoc Committee extends deadline to comment on s25 Amendment 
The Ad Hoc Committee to initiate and introduce legislation amending section 25 of the Constitution resolved on Thursday to extend the deadline for written submissions on the Draft Constitution Eighteenth Amendment Bill.  Committee chairperson, Dr Mathole Motshekga, said the committee unanimously resolved to extend the deadline to 29 February 2020. This is mainly because the Bill was published over the festive season, and the public did not have sufficient time to comment meaningfully on the Bill. The initial deadline was tomorrow, 31 January 2020. Read more in the linked press release.
North-West University / KAS colloquium on the calculation of compensation
The North-West University/ Konrad-Adenauer Stiftung (KAS) will be hosting a colloquium on the calculation of compensation for land on 6 February 2020 in Potchefstroom. Members who may be interested in attending may do so. There is no cost to attend, but seats are limited so registration is required. Agbiz will be presenting at the colloquium. The focus of the workshop is to find useful, practical methods to give content to "just and equitable" compensation, as far as possible, in specific instances. Please click here for more information.
There's optimism about SA's 2019/20 summer crop season
While South Africa's 2019/20 summer crop production season started on a negative footing with delayed rainfall across the country, farmers managed to plant the area they intended. This was confirmed by the preliminary plantings data released this afternoon by South Africa's Crop Estimates Committee (CEC) which shows South Africa's 2019/20 summer crop area at 3.97 million hectares. This is up 1% and 8% from the intentions to plant data released in October 2019 and area planted in 2018/19 season, respectively. There is an improvement in area plantings of all crops with the exception of sorghum and dry beans whose area planting fell by 28% y/y and 13% y/y, respectively. Agbiz chief economist Wandile Sihlobo shares his insights in the linked article.
Locust upsurge threatens Kenya's already vulnerable food sector
If you read the international news on Africa this past weekend, you probably noticed that Time magazine, The Guardian, New York Post, The Japan Times, and the Financial Times ran a similar story about the worst swarms of locusts currently spreading in Kenya.  The estimates suggest that
70 000  hectares of land in Kenya has thus far been invested by these locusts, and thus threatening the agriculture sector. The Kenyan authorities seem to be struggling to control the spread of these locusts, which means it could spread to a number of regions in the coming weeks. Wandile Sihlobo explores this topic in the linked article.
Africa faces a poor wheat harvest in 2019/20
We rarely talk about Africa's wheat production due to its size relative to other regions of the world. Africa produces only 3% of the world's wheat, compared to the European Union region which produces 20% of the world's wheat and Back Sea region which produces 17%. These low levels of wheat production in the continent are partly the result of unfavourable climatic conditions in most countries.  The 2019/20 wheat production conditions are hard to ignore, albeit the continent having lower production levels. Africa has experienced an increase in wheat production for two consecutive seasons, however, the wheat production could fall by 10% y/y in the 2019/20 season which would result in 26 million tonnes being produced. Wandile Sihlobo elaborates on this topic in the linked article.
Livestock traceability key to driving SA beef exports
T raceability is key to fostering the trade of livestock and livestock products. It is important because it is a sanitary and disease management requirement in our export markets.  Since the growth of South Africa's agricultural sector is export-led, traceability is critical in order to access export markets. And given that agriculture is central to job creation and rural economic development, export expansion is ever more important. But in the case of livestock, the lack of a coordinated and nationally approved identification and tracking system of livestock which can be approved by our international trading partners is a hindrance. Read more in the linked article written by Wandile Sihlobo.
Why loss of AGOA eligibility for some countries is a big deal for sub-Saharan Africa

On 26 December 2019, the United States (US) announced a revised list of AGOA eligible countries and an adjustment to AGOA benefits for some countries. In the new list, the notable omission was Cameroon, while Niger, the Gambia, and the Central African Republic (CAR) had their textile and apparel market access rescinded. The reason the US removed Cameroon was due to human rights abuses. Meanwhile, the adjustment of AGOA benefits for Niger, the Gambia, and the Central African Republic (CAR) was due to a lack of effective visa systems. Dr Tinashe Kapuya, an agricultural economist and trade policy analyst, explores this subject in the linked article
The future of blockchain adoption

In the past year, much experimentation has been carried out with blockchains within large organisations. The underlying technology appears to be attractive for organisations and there is a wide variety of ways to use blockchains in many sectors. Forrester Research writes that decentralized ledger technology will escape the proof of concept phase and that blockchains will be more able to communicate with other blockchains and their traditional data structures during 2020. Please click here to peruse.
Update on FMD outbreak in Limpopo

The Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, has this month identified additional premises as positive for foot-and-mouth disease (FMD). This brings the total number of confirmed positive locations since the start of outbreak to 16, with all positive cases in Limpopo. The department wishes to emphasise that this does not mean that the outbreak is actively spreading. It is an indication that the disease control efforts are effective in identifying positive locations, which became infected after the initial spread of the disease from specific auctions in September and October 2019. For the latest news on the FMD outbreak, please click here.
Dutch government and Rabobank announce anchor investments in AGRI3 Fund

The US$1 billion sustainable agriculture and forestry initiative "AGRI3" has been strengthened by two new cornerstone investors. At the World Economic Forum in Davos on 23 January, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that it will become an anchor public investor in the AGRI3 Fund by contributing US$40 million - an amount matched by Rabobank. Together these contributions will mobilise commercial finance, which can be used to finance sustainable agriculture and accelerate forest protection. Read more in the linked article.
Fall armyworm confirmed in SA

CropLife SA has learned about the outbreak of the dreaded fall armyworm (FAW) in maize in the area between Badplaas and Carolina in Mpumalanga. It is likely to be found in other provinces such as North West, Limpopo, Gauteng, the Free State, northern parts of KwaZulu-Natal and some parts of the Northern Cape. Maize farmers are particularly vulnerable to this invasive pest species and should be on high alert for moth swarms late afternoon, egg parcels on maize leaves and caterpillars. Farmers are advised to read the CropLife SA position statement as well as the IRAC (Insecticide Resistance Action Committee) document. Farmers who suspect that they may have FAW in their crops should take good quality photographs with their smartphones and send via WhatsApp to Dr Gerhard Verdoorn of CropLife SA on 082 446 8946. Vegetable farmers and cotton farmers should also scout for FAW moths late afternoon. Pheromone traps are very useful for scouting and can be used effectively for early warning of FAW invasion.
Mission Produce, Inc. establishes Southern African operations in partnership with ZZ2

Mission Produce, Inc., the world's most advanced avocado network, announced it is establishing operations in South Africa in partnership with ZZ2 and Core Fruit. The new partnership will create a powerful trading platform for avocados produced in Africa, bringing the world's finest African avocados to booming markets such as Europe, China and other Asian countries, with anticipated access to the US. Lindie Stroebel has been appointed as in-country manager. We are excited for her to establish a presence and start building local connections," said Mission Produce's vice-president of Global Sourcing Keith Barnard. "The addition of South Africa will ensure that Mission Produce's supply keeps pace with demand. We are striving for full surety of supply." Please click ZZ2 press release to peruse.
Latest news from SAPPO 

News from the South African Pork Producers' Organisation is available in the latest edition of the  SAPPO Weekly Update . Please click here to peruse. 
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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

Women in Tech Africa 2020 Conference 
18-19 March  | Century City Conference Centre  | Cape Town

GOSA Symposium 2020
19-20 March 2020 | Diaz Hotel & Resort | Mossel Bay
Theme: "2020 and beyond"

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

3rd African Symposium on Mycotoxicology joint MYTOXSOUTH conference 
6-9 September 2020 | Stellenbosch

Soya Bean for Human Consumption Symposium
17 September 2020  | Pretoria
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