4 August 2017
The well-respected Bureau for Food and Agricultural Policy (BFAP) launched its 2017 Baseline Report at the University of Pretoria on 2 August 2017. BFAP exists with the sole purpose to objectively inform and support decision-making of stakeholders in the agro-food, fibre and beverage sectors of Africa. It provides independent, rigorously tested, research-based market and policy analyses. With a vast and deep network consisting of 45 employees and associates spanning the African continent, BFAP has developed a firm reputation of delivering upon its commitment of informing and supporting decision makers in government, industry bodies, NGO's, and private sector. BFAP collaborates with various internationally acclaimed institutions including the FAO, FAPRI, the OECD, BER and is a founding partner in the Regional Network of Agricultural Policy Research Institutes (ReNAPRI) in Eastern and Southern Africa.
In his closing comments at the launch, Dr John Purchase, CEO of Agbiz, stated the following: "Dr Meyer and Team, I think I can speak on behalf of all present in congratulating BFAP on the outstanding work you have once again presented here today. But we also want to thank you for this work as it provides an authoritative basis for evidence-based policy and legislation formulation, as well as for strategic planning by many agribusinesses, farmers and other agricultural entities. Your credibility and depth of research is further borne out by your impressive list of collaborators. We have all become aware of your governance upgrades and development, as well as the broadening of your value proposition to now also include Value Chain Solutions, headed up by Thinus van Schoor and formerly of SAB Miller, and IVIS (Integrated Value Information System, and its development initially funded by the Maize Trust, I may add), and headed up by Gerhard van den Burgh. We also wish you well with these initiatives, and we look forward to even greater collaboration on our country's interesting journey ahead. The challenges are many and often complex, but the solutions to our development also lie within our capabilities and ambition. We need to mobilize and collaborate even better to grasp the opportunities at hand".
Please click on BFAP Baseline 2017 to peruse a most interesting report.

On the 27th of July, Agbiz attended a public consultation forum hosted by the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) on the recommended framework to combat climate change post 2020. The Department has recently published a plethora of draft policies, Bills and regulations all related to climate change, but just how the proposed carbon tax, carbon budgets, Sector Emission Targets or Desired Emission Reduction Target, Green House Gas (GHG) Emissions Regulations and a GHG inventory speak to one another is something of a puzzle that is still being rewritten as we progress. Theo Boshoff, Agbiz Head: Legal intelligence, provides more information the linked article»

On 3 August, Agbiz participated in a seminar on land reform hosted by Werksmans firm of attorneys at their office in Sandton.   The three topics that seemed to make the biggest impression and therefore influenced the debate centered around the transfer of title deeds to land reform beneficiaries, the debate about the costs associated in acquiring land in the context of an inadequate and shrinking budget, and finally the idea of providing strategic direction to land reform as a whole so that its diverse programs work towards a common goal.   Theo Boshoff, Agbiz Head: Legal intelligence, provides more information in the linked report»
Women deserve more credit in farming

There was little mention of the fact that almost two-thirds of the 44,000 people who lost agricultural jobs in the first quarter of 2017 were women.  It is distressing that women continue to be so vulnerable as workers, especially if we consider the role women play in the agricultural sector. As the World Farmers' Organisation points out, 80% of Africa's agricultural production is produced by smallholder farmers and a large part of it is by women.  These are important developments, not only because it is Women's Month, but for the simple reason that we need diversity in all key positions of the agricultural sector. Click here to read Wandile Sihlobo's column, which was published in BusinessDay on 3 August 2017.
South Africa will experience a shrinkage in regional demand, as well as new competitors for existing markets

The most recent data from the US Department of Agriculture highlights a number of interesting dynamics in Southern Africa's maize production, with Zambia and Malawi becoming increasingly important players in the region's maize sector. Their 2017 production is set to reach 3,3 million tons, and 3,6 million tons respectively.   Wandile Sihlobo, Agbiz economist provides more information in the linked article which was published this week in Farmer's Weekly.
REMINDER: Agbiz / IDC Agribusiness Confidence Index Survey

Agbiz members are reminded to complete and submit the Agbiz / IDC Agribusiness Confidence Index Survey for the third quarter of 2017 by Tuesday, 8 August 2017.  The  survey  is linked here» 

The Land Bank launched its Integrated Annual Report at a function at the JSE on Thursday, 3 August 2017. Dr John Purchase, Agbiz CEO, attended the launch. He says: "It is important to note that the Land Bank has continued to improve on its good performance over the past few years, to the point that it could basically double-up on its developmental loan book in the 20116/17 financial year.  This is despite headwinds such as a once-in-a-century drought over basically the whole country, as well as challenges in the capital markets and political volatility. It must be emphasized that the Land Bank has to raise its funding from the capital markets, and receives no direct funding from government, but only government guarantees which it can use to leverage additional funding. The Land Bank has admirably grown its Loan Book by 12,6% from R36.4billion to R41.0billion from 2015/16 to2016/17, while also reporting a profit of R367 million. The Land Bank is an example of an SOE that is an asset to South Africa, and this is in stark contrast to various SOE's that are a major burden to South Africa, and especially its taxpayers"
Please click on Annual Report presentation to peruse presentations made at the launch. The full 248 page Land Bank Integrated Annual Report 2017 is linked here»

On 14 July 2017, the Government Gazette published a notice in terms of the provisions of the Plant Breeders' Rights Act, 1976, outlining a number of new applications for recognition of plant breeders' rights in terms of the Act. Interested and effected parties can submit comments to DAFF by Friday, 13 October 2017 - Click to open the notice»
Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative

As part of the G20 initiatives last week, the World Bank's Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative, or We-Fi, was launched. We-Fi seeks to empower women entrepreneurs in developing countries through access to finance, mentorships and technical training, as well as public policy advocacy and reforms on gender equality -   Read more»
- www.saiia.org.za
Deepening SACU Integration: The Potential Contribution of a Regional Development Fund

Member states of the Southern African Customs Union are discussing industrial policy and the need to develop regional value chains. Officials have been tasked to identify projects that could anchor cross-border trade and investment within the union -  Read more»
- www.gegafrica.org
Agbiz Grain Mini-Symposium 
Registration closes on 4 August 2017
15 August 2017 |  CSIR, Pretoria
More information

PMA Fresh Connections Southern Africa Conference and Trade Show
16-17 August 2017 |  CTICC | Cape Town

Soil Fertility and Plant Nutrition Symposium
23 August 2017 | CSIR, Pretoria
Enquiries: candice@fertasa.co.za

Agro-processing Investment & Technology Summit
29-31 August 2017 | Premier Hotel | OR Tambo International Airport | Johannesburg 
Skills Development Summit
31 Aug - 1 September 2017 | CSIR | Pretoria

South African Association for Food Science & Technology (SAAFoST) 22nd Biennial International Congress and Exhibition 
3-6 September 2017 | Century City Convention Centre | Cape Town

SA Innovation Summit
6-8 September 2017 | Cape Town

Agricultural Economics Association of South Africa (AEASA) 55th Annual Conference
19-21 September 2017 | Elangeni Hotel | Durban
More information

MPO National Congress
20 September 2017 | Protea Hotel King George | George
Contact:  Julie McLachlan on julie@mpo.co.za

Potatoes SA Congress
28 September 2017 | Premier Hotel OR Tambo | Johannesburg

Agbiz information session for agribusinesses
5 October 2017 | Western Cape
More information will follow soon

East and Southern Africa Fertilizer Agribusiness Conference 2017
9-11 October 2017 | Maputo | Mozambique
More information

AGRI 5 Commodities Workshop & Expo
20-21 October 2017 |  East London Show Grounds
More information:  info@atoneworks.co.za

13th SIAMAP International Show
31 October to 5 November 2017 | Tunisia

International Conference on Global Food Security 
3-6 December 2017 | CTICC | Cape Town
Conference Theme: Food Security: Global challenges, local solutions
More information
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