31 May 2019
Agbiz responds to the appointment of the Cabinet by President Cyril Ramaphosa

"Agbiz has noted the appointment of the new Cabinet for the sixth Administration of democratic South Africa by President Cyril Ramaphosa, and in general, welcomes the appointments to key ministries and congratulates the ministers on their appointment. It is, however, the reduction of 36 ministries to 28 that is especially welcomed in order to cut costs but also to ensure greater government coordination and efficiency," Dr John Purchase, CEO of Agbiz, said in a press statement issued earlier this week.  Agbiz specifically welcomes the amalgamation of the Ministry of Agriculture with the Ministry of Rural Development and Land Reform, and the appointment of Thoko Didiza as the new minister to lead the executive in this portfolio. Please click here for the full statement.
Can Thoko Didiza unlock the Pandora's box of land reform and agriculture?

Thoko Didiza has been handed one of South Africa's most crucial ministries, that of agriculture, land reform and rural development. There is a deep yearning for leadership in this sector, and bottled-up resentment over the perceived slow pace of land reform. The advantage is that the experienced Didiza will hit the ground running. Prof. Mzukisi Qobo, associate professor at Wits Business School, and Agbiz chief economist Wandile Sihlobo discuss the new minister's appointment in the linked article, written for and first published on Daily Maverick.
OECD releases its 2019 Economic Outlook

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) this past week released its 2019 Economic Outlook, which is the OECD's analysis of the major economic trends and prospects for the next two years. Key take-aways include:
* Global growth is stabilising at lower levels.
* Key risks: (i) trade tensions, (ii) China slowdown and (iii) high debt.
* Countries must act now to boost opportunities.
In the words of the OECD chief economist: "Trade tensions have disrupted growth. With uncertainty high and confidence low, investment has suffered, and the manufacturing sector has taken a hit." Please click on the OECD Economic Outlook 2019 Presentation to peruse the highlights of the report.
Eskom's system status overview

In a system status overview dated 21 May 2019, Eskom stated that although the overall electricity demand is currently higher than in summer, generators have returned from planned summer maintenance to supply the winter demand, therefore there has been no need to load shed since 23 March 2019. According to the report, the renewable programme and Eskom's new build programme continue to contribute towards adding capacity to the system. Currently there are four non-commercial units supporting the grid. Please click here to peruse the status overview.
Carbon tax enters into operation

On 22 May 2019, President Cyril Ramaphosa signed the Carbon Tax Act 15 of 2019 into law. The assent came just in time as the Act puts forth 1 June 2019 as the official implementation date. It is well known that the carbon tax is intended to form a critical component of South Africa's broader plan to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions with the aim of meeting our international commitments to make a nationally determined contribution towards mitigating climate change. The mechanics of how exactly the tax will work, is a little more complicated. Agbiz head of Legal Intelligence gives more information in the linked article .
South African ports need revamp to sustain agriculture exports

There is a need for improved and well-functioning ports infrastructure as the growth of South Africa's agricultural sector is export-led, and its sustainability depends on exports - a point that is well understood by policymakers. In his State of the Nation address earlier in 2019, President Cyril Ramaphosa acknowledged the importance of agricultural exports and specifically noted that "in the coming year the government will continue to focus on high-value agricultural products with export potential such as the fruit, wine and vegetable industries, as well as poultry and red meat". Agbiz chief economist Wandile Sihlobo discusses this topic in the linked article, written for and first published in Business Day.
SA maize harvest estimate lifted by 2% from last month

South Africa's maize supplies for the 2018/19 production year are shaping up better than we previously feared at the beginning of the year when dryness in the western parts of the country led to delayed plantings. Figures released by South Africa's Crop Estimates Committee earlier this week show that 2018/19 maize harvest could amount to 10.9 million tonnes, which is a 2%  increase from last month's estimate. Please click here for Wandile Sihlobo's article.
From land reform to job creation, here's how we should boost SA's small towns

Phumulo Masualle, former Premier of the Eastern Cape, pencilled an essay in 2017 calling for the revitalisation of rural, small towns.  In short, he argued that the demise of South Africa's rural small towns stems from the lack of economic opportunities and declining quality, owing to poor infrastructure and a lack of new private investment - in turn partially constrained by a reluctance to transfer excess public land and tenure issues, among other factors. Wandile Sihlobo provides more insight in the linked article, written for and first published on Fin 24 .
SA agricultural trade surplus expands by 11% year-on-year in the first quarter of 2019

South Africa reported an agricultural trade surplus of US$660 million in the first quarter of this year. This is up by 11% from the corresponding period in 2018. This was primarily due to an 18% year-on-year decline in the value of imports to US$1.45 billion, not an uptick in exports. South Africa's agricultural exports were down by 10% from the first quarter of 2018, recorded at US$2.11 billion. Wandile Sihlobo elaborates in the linked blogpost.
FMD outbreak officially over

While control measures remain in place in the high surveillance area of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) has declared the end of the outbreak. The department confirmed on Tuesday that there have not been any new cases of FMD detected in the declared disease management area in Limpopo since February, and more than three incubation periods have lapsed with no new cases being observed. "Intensive surveillance has demonstrated that the virus is no longer circulating. However, control measures remain in place in the area. The farming community and public are urged to remain vigilant," DAFF said in a joint statement with the livestock industry.
Anthrax outbreaks in Lesotho
The Veterinary Authority of Lesotho has reported three anthrax outbreaks to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE). The first outbreak started on 12 May 2019 and a total of 24 cattle were reported to have died of anthrax. The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) Directorate: Animal Health is in contact with the Veterinary Authority of Lesotho to ensure safe trade while the anthrax outbreaks are ongoing. A ban has been imposed on imports from Lesotho into South Africa of live animals susceptible to anthrax and products of these animals, including wool. Press release
Recommendations for commodity futures delivery on 
the JSE

The JSE has presented to the grain industry the recommendations by Prof. Matt Roberts for commodity futures delivery on our market. This report is now available for comments and queries from the grain value chain role players. Prof Roberts had been requested by the JSE to revisit his earlier work and to specifically look at the following:
  • Do the findings and recommendations of the 2009 study still apply, if not, what changes were identified?
  • Should the JSE consider changing the reference points for each of the commodity products based on the changes in processing capacity? This could imply a unique reference point per commodity.
  • Should location differentials (LD) be applied to the JSE soya contract? Although a recent industry workshop did not support changing the contract to reference a single point, what are your opinions regarding future growth of this contract and the number of registered delivery points?
  • What can the JSE do to improve participation by market participants of the spot basis functionality thereby improving transparency of basis premiums during the delivery month.
  • Any recommendations regarding the current methodology used to determine the location differentials to improve its accuracy or the efficiency in the manner it is calculated.
The report is very detailed and self-explanatory as it attempts to address the questions at hand. The JSE is still in the process of studying the recommendations further and consulting broadly with its constituencies to see how best to respond to them. However, the JSE would like to afford the market similar time to study the report and will allow the grain industry one month up to Monday, 1 July 2019 for comments and suggestions. Kindly send all your submissions and/or any queries to the Commodities Team at commodities@jse.co.za
Once all submissions are received, the JSE will call a dedicated meeting to agree on how best to implement these recommendations.
New laboratory puts dairy standards under the microscope

On 22 May 2019, the dairy industry reached an important milestone with the official opening of the Dairy Standard Agency's (DSA) independent laboratory, DSA Lab Services, in Centurion. The primary goal of the new laboratory is to address the lack of a standardised system at national level for the calibration of laboratory instruments which measure and analyse raw milk parameters namely fat, protein, lactose, milk urea nitrogen (MUN), somatic cell count (SCC) and other quality traits of milk. Secondary to the production and import of calibration standards, this laboratory will also focus on compliance monitoring of milk and other dairy products in respect of product composition, food safety and metrology standards. Press release.
Register now for IFAMA World Conference in China

The International Food and Agribusiness Management Association (IFAMA) will be hosting its 2019 World Conference in Hangzhou, China from 22 - 27 June 2019. To qualify for the early bird registration fee, be sure to register before 30 May. Prof Johan van Rooyen of Stellenbosch University shares a few of the conference highlights that will make the trip to Hangzhou worthwhile.
SA Large Herds Conference
3-5 June 2019  The Boardwalk  Port Elizabeth

Subtrop Transformation Summit 2019
19 June 2019 | Ingwenyama Conference & Sports Resort | White River

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
More information

13th Agribusiness Africa Conference 
10 July 2019 Premier Hotel | OR Tambo Airport
More information

PMA Fresh Connections: SA Conference and Trade Show  
30-31 July 2019 | Century City | Cape Town

Emerging Farmers and Agro Processing Conference 2019
30-31 July 2019 | CSIR International Convention Centre | Pretoria

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

Peritum Agri-HR Summit 2019
21-22 August 2019 Bloemfontein

ARC Agri Indaba
29-30 August 2019 | Animal Production Campus Irene | 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

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.

                                      Like us on Facebook            Follow us on Twitter            View our profile on LinkedIn                                    
The Agbiz Newsletter may contain a few links to websites that belong to third parties unrelated to us.  By making these links available, we are not endorsing third-party websites, their content, products, services or their events.  Agbiz seeks to protect the integrity of its newsletter and links used in it, and therefore welcomes any feedback.
In this newsletter