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.
31 July 2020
Localisation approach launched by organized business

In October 2018, President Ramaphosa convened the country's second Jobs Summit to address the need to generate a substantial number of new jobs in our country over the coming years. A key deliverable from the Jobs Summit is a framework agreement between government, organised business and organised labour that outlines concrete and measurable steps to achieve set goals in terms of increasing levels of employment. One of the key areas identified is boosting domestic demand for locally manufactured product to reinvigorate the job market. The more we procure locally, the more we can manufacture locally. The more we manufacture locally, the better we become at developing a sustainable manufacturing sector to produce for our country's needs in addition to identifying opportunities for export. Agbiz is and has been fully involved in driving the execution of the Jobs Summit outcomes relating to agriculture/agribusiness, and specifically the agro-processing environment. Agbiz endorses this local procurement call to action and localisation approach, where feasible and where competitive.
IMF executive board approves US$4.3 billion financial support to South Africa to deal with Covid-19 pandemic
The IMF Executive Board has approved South Africa's request for emergency financial support under the Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI) for an amount of US$4.3 billion to help the country mitigate the adverse social and economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. The additional IMF funding is a low interest loan that contributes to government's fiscal relief package while respecting South Africa's decisions on how best to provide relief to the economy and those worst affected by the current crisis. It will also pave the way for government to provide the necessary financial relief required to forge a new economy and mitigate further harm to the economy. Read more in the linked media statement issued by National Treasury.
B-BBEE Commission releases annual report on national status and trends
The B-BBEE Commission office has released their annual report for the calendar year 2019. The report helps the B-BBEE Commission to track how the country is performing against the scorecard set in the Codes of Good Practice and the respective sector codes on an annual basis, testing ownership, management control, skills development, enterprise and supplier development and socio-economic development. This year's report shows a slight change in the levels of transformation with the overall black ownership reflecting a 4% increase from 25% black ownership in 2018 to 29%, management control is sitting at 39% overall and JSE-listed entities board control is at 43.6 % (male - 23.08%; female - 20.55%). The 2018 data indicated 45% overall and 38.3% (male - 16.7%; female - 21.6%) black South Africans held directorship at JSE-listed entities. Only 3.3% of entities listed on the JSE are 100% black owned, which was 1.2% in 2018 and 1% in 2017. The linked B-BBEE Commission media statement gives a summary of the findings in the report.
Minister extends the comment period for the draft Extended Producer Responsibility Regulations

Last month Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment Barbara Creecy published draft regulations under the National Environmental Management: Waste Act for public comment. The draft Regulations seek to extend the responsibility for managing the waste generated by paper, packaging and single-use products to impose responsibilities throughout the value chain. These regulations will have a direct impact on agribusinesses as many make use of packaging to preserve food products sold to retailers, agro-processors or consumers directly. In a bid to better manage the environmental impact of these products, the draft Regulations extend limited responsibility for this packaging material post sale. As these draft Regulations will impose cost and other responsibilities on members, Agbiz is working through BUSA's environmental committee to assess the impact on businesses and to draft comments. Fortunately, BUSA's request for more time to prepare comments have been well received and the minister published a notice this week extending the deadline for comments until 26 August 2020.   
Finding the key to agricultural growth in SA

One of the big questions that has occupied South African agricultural economists over the past decade has been how to foster inclusive growth in the sector. 
This is, of course, a broad question with several dimensions. One of the more technical aspects related to this question which deals with where growth should happen - which areas and commodities to prioritise - has largely been resolved and is also addressed in the National Development Plan, published in 2012. But the "softer" side of this question, which deals with stakeholder participation, trust and vision alignment remains unresolved, and that is a major stumbling block to implementation. In the linked article, written for and first published on  Daily Maverick , Agbiz chief economist Wandile Sihlobo argues that the agricultural sector needs trust and alignment of vision on all sides in order to foster inclusive growth. "If we cannot resolve the divergence of vision between different interest groups, our options will be limited."
SA might be on track for another good crops season due to higher rainfall

It has become increasingly challenging to forecast agricultural production seasons with any level of confidence. One of the factors that has contributed to this challenge is more unpredictable weather conditions, especially over the last decade. South Africa has not only experienced a frequent occurrence of drought, but also significant change in the frequency, patterns and intensity of rainfall. Regions such as Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal, which would typically receive their first rains in about October, have in the past few seasons experienced nearly a month delay. Agbiz chief economist Wandile Sihlobo says the preliminary indications for the 2020/2021 season, at least with respect to weather conditions, are showing some encouraging signs. Read more in the linked article, written for and first published in Business Day.
How Zimbabwe smugglers are getting rich from SA's cigarette ban 
The ban on tobacco sales in South Africa is working out well for cigarette smugglers in Zimbabwe. A box of 50 cartons can net a profit of R4 000 in Musina - and more in Johannesburg. In the linked article, wirtten for and first published on Financial Mail, Lenin Ndebele investigates the distribution channels of the illicit trade of tobacco products from Zimbabwe. Sources in the trade told the Financial Mail the racket runs from political elites, to army and police officers, down to the ordinary people involved in the trade. 
Why trade matters for African development 

Trade can be a driver of growth, sustainable development and poverty reduction. But rather than automatic, the process requires trade policies that are dynamic, inclusive and responsive to constantly changing national, regional and global contexts. David Luke, coordinator at the UN Economic Commission for Africa, lays out the need for a repository of real-time information on current trade negotiations to track the rules that shape development outcomes. Read more in the linked article, first published on Africa at LSE, a platform for the latest expert analysis on African political, social and economic affairs, placing the continent at the heart of contemporary global debates.
Zimbabwe signs $3.5 billion deal to compensate white farmers
Zimbabwe's government signed an agreement Wednesday worth $3.5 billion to compensate white farmers who were evicted from their land during a controversial and often violent land redistribution program in the early 2000s under former President Robert Mugabe.  "This momentous occasion is historic in many respects, brings both closure and a new beginning in the history of the land discourse in our country Zimbabwe," said current President Emmerson Mnangagwa, after signing the agreement at State House with Andrew Pascoe, the president of the Commercial Farmers Union of Zimbabwe. Columbus S. Mavhunga discusses the latest developments in the linked CNN article.
Fruit and veg risk rotting in Australia on second Covid-19 wave
Tighter borders and quarantine curbs amid a fresh wave of Covid-19 cases in Australia have raised fears that mangoes, citrus fruit, vegetables and other produce could be left to rot because of a lack of seasonal workers.  Australia this month capped the number of people who can enter the country, to ease pressure on its mandatory hotel quarantine program, after a second wave of cases in Melbourne sparked fears of outbreaks in other cities. New South Wales introduced stricter rules for workers crossing from Victoria, raising concerns about labour shortages in the key growing area spanning the border.  Seasonal workers would be subject to a two-week quarantine if they wanted to cross the border, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said at a press conference Wednesday, as the state seeks to curb its own recent virus clusters. Read more in the linked Bloomberg article.
Must read: Recession, Recovery & Reform South Africa after Covid-19
When the public health crisis eventually subsides, the old structural socio-economic problems will of course still be there, but they will be felt more acutely in the aftermath of the coronavirus hurricane. What should South Africa be doing to prepare for the 'new normal' after Covid-19? That is the overarching question that a new book from Jacana Media, Recession, Recovery and Reform: South Africa after Covid-19, seeks to tackle. Edited by prominent economist, Raymond Parsons, the book comprises a fascinating collection of essays by some of South Africa's top intellectuals and thought leaders. While covering a wide range of topics, from labour market and land reform to economic empowerment, fiscal policy, productivity and the role of business in policymaking, the book's core message is this: South Africa needs to reimagine a better future by using lessons from the past to craft and implement bold reforms that will pave the way for a more just and resilient society. An essay by Wandile Sihlobo and Tinashe Kapuyya - "Evolution of South Africa's land-reform process post-1994" - is also included in the publication. Please click here for more information.
 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.

Agbiz Congress 2021

We are currently finding ourselves in challenging and unprecedented times, and the uncertainty around what the future holds makes it very difficult for any of us to plan ahead. This also applies to the arrangements for the Agbiz Congress, which was scheduled for July this year, but had to be postponed to April 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. We are soliciting advice from professional event organisers to assist us in finding the most suitable solution to host the congress next year, despite the uncertain times we find ourselves in. We will present the various options at the Council meeting on 28 August 2020 for input and recommendations from Council members. For more information, please visit the congress web page.
Agricultural Value Chain Virtual Discussion Series

The series takes a fascinating turn as Session 12 focuses on the tobacco industry in South Africa. We delve deeper into the impact of the prohibition on the sales and the consequences of illicit trade.
  • John Purchase, Agbiz CEO anchors the session with panel members:
  • Johnny Moloto, head of External Affairs at British American Tobacco South Africa (BATSA),
  • Sinenhlanhla Mnguni, chairperson of Fair Trade Independent Tobacco Association (FITA), and
  • Shadrack Sibisi, chairperson of Black Tobacco Farmers Association (BFTA).
Please click here to watch a recording of the session.
PMA Fresh Connections: Southern Africa Conference
18-20 August 2020  | Virtual event
More information

2020 AgriAllAfrica Agribusiness Conference
Theme: "Imagined responses to Covid-19: Progress with the development of solutions"
29 October 2020 |  CSIR | Pretoria (live event tbc)
Enquiries: Marianna.duplessis@gmail.com | +27 063 076 9135

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.
  • Agbiz newsletter publishes members' press releases and member product announcements.

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