4 October 2019
A sleeping giant: the Eastern Cape and its agriculture

Agbiz chief economist Wandile Sihlobo visited the Eastern Cape on the invitation of The Co-op - an agribusiness based In Humansdorp last week. He used the visit to scan the agricultural activities in the province, with an intention to assess whether there is an increase in activity (and transformation). He  met with commercial black farmers who are involved in citrus, lucerne, sheep, pineapples, peppers and blueberry farming. They are all running commercial entities - exporting some of their produce - and have created jobs for a number of people. He discusses the importance of a joint-venture approach to South Africa's agricultural and rural development in the linked blogpost.
Applications for Agbiz Centenary Bursary 2020 are now open

In celebration of a number of Agbiz members who celebrated their 100 years existence, an annual Agbiz Centenary Bursary Fund was established. The primary objective of the bursary is to promote master's, or PhD level research in agribusiness related fields and Agbiz certainly is proud to be associated with and supporting the set research of Agbiz Centenary Bursary holders.  The annual bursary of R36 000.00 is available to a South African student registered for a master's or PhD degree in either agricultural economics or agribusiness management related fields, at any recognised South African university. Terms and conditions apply. More information is available here.
Streamline SA agriculture policy to enable growth and job creation
Agribusinesses and farmers have in various forums expressed a willingness to collaborate with the government in growing South Africa's agricultural sector. This willingness should be welcomed as it promises to address some of the challenges at farm level, including skills transfer, access to finance and links to market. Wandile Sihlobo explores this subject in the linked article, written for and first published on Daily Maverick.
Amid the grim news, agriculture bears fruit
It has been 25 years since the dawn of democracy and the general mood in the country is pessimistic owing to poor economic fortunes and elevated joblessness, among other long-standing challenges. As an agricultural economist, it is not unusual to hear statements that suggest South Africa's agricultural sector is in bad shape compared to the past few years because of uncertainties over land reform policy, water rights, biosecurity risks and the changing climate, all of which make agriculture increasingly risky. Wandile Sihlobo discusses this subject in the linked article, written for and first published in Business Day.
Private grain imports now legal in Zimbabwe

The Zimbabwean government has lifted the ban on private grain sales and granted the nod to individuals and corporates with free funds to import quantities of their choice to complement Treasury's efforts in ensuring adequate national grain reserves. The intervention comes at a time when Zimbabwe has suffered reduced yields as a result of drought experienced last season. The country needs an estimated 800 000 tonnes of maize imports to cover the gap up to the next harvest and government has assured the nation that no one will starve. Please click on the linked article first published in The Herald to peruse.
Digital currencies: the rise of stablecoins

Adoption of new forms of money will depend on their attractiveness as a store of value and a means of payment. New entrants like stablecoins, however, are significantly different from the popular incumbents: cash or bank deposits.  While many stablecoins continue to be claims on the issuing institution or its underlying assets, and many also offer redemption guarantees at face value (a coin bought for 10 euros can be exchanged back for a 10-euro note, like a bank account), government-backing is absent. Trust must be generated privately by backing coin issuance with safe and liquid assets. And the settlement technology is usually decentralised, based on the blockchain model. Please click on IMFBlog - the first in a two-part series on IMFBlog covering digital currencies - to peruse.
Kenya intends to rescind GMO ban

Kenya, that has had a ban on genetically modified technology in place since 2012, is set to soon allow genetically modified organism (GMO) crops and products. Kenyan officials have revealed intentions to lift the ban to allow the country to accrue the benefits of the technology. While Kenya has made significant progress on GMOs in terms of enacting watertight regulations and controlled research on crops such as Bt maize, Bt cotton, cassava, sorghum, and sweet potato, the ban has meant the country cannot progress to the commercialisation stage. Please click here for the complete article, first published on Agribusiness Global.
AFGRI Technology Services forms partnership with Aerobotics

AFGRI Technology Services (ATS), the strategic innovation and growth division of AFGRI Agri Services, has partnered with Aerobotics, the Cape Town based start-up that processes data from drone and satellite imagery through its proprietary artificial intelligence software to bring the latest technology to a broader section of South Africa's farmers.The partnership aims to provide critical tools to support the growing market of tree crop farmers to ensure they are optimising how they make decisions, manage risk and operate their farming business. Media release
Agricultural technical and vocational education and training

The Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) has partnered with the NEPAD Agency to implement the Agricultural Technical and Vocational Education and Training (ATVET) project within the Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP). An ATVET private sector workshop was held on 19 and 20 September where the strategy document  developed by DALRRD was distributed to industry stakeholders. DALRRD also provided a VET Strategy Implementation Questionnaire  which all industry role players should respond to as soon as possible. The department  commissioned an appraisal study to analyse the current ATVET landscape in South Africa: policies governing ATVET, stakeholders and gaps as well as making recommendations on where the ATVET project can focus implementation on. It is on this premise that the department held the stakeholder inception workshop for the appraisal study on implementing the CAADP-ATVET project in South Africa. The workshop served a dual purpose of introducing the project to the key potential stakeholders and partners, as well as to validate the consultants' methodology and approach to carry out the appraisal study. Please send comments on the strategy and your responses to the questionnaire to Magezi Russia Maluleke, senior policy practitioner in the Directorate: Sector Education and Training of DALRRD at RussiaM@daff.gov.za If you have any questions, you may contact the chief director at DALRRD who is in charge of this project, Lebogang Botsheleng at 012 319 6921.
SA wheat crop quality report 

The Southern African Grain Laboratory (SAGL) crop quality report of the 2018/2019 wheat production season is now available. This report provides the details of the 21st annual wheat crop quality survey performed by the SAGL. The SAGL analysed 337 wheat samples in total. Samples were selected in a way that provides a proportional representation of the wheat crop from the different production regions in South Africa during the 2018/2019 production season. Specific wheat quality results per region per season as well as data on wheat imported for domestic use is available. These results for imported wheat are provided per country of origin per season.Crop and imported wheat quality surveys are conducted with the financial support of the Winter Cereal Trust.
SA's advanced manufacturing industry takes charge

The latest media release from the National Science and Technology Forum explores the topics of 4IR and South Africa's advance manufacturing industry. Please click here  to peruse.
Agbiz Information Days - register today!

Agbiz will once again be hosting Information Days in Pretoria and Paarl during  November to inform role players and stakeholders of the current challenges in  the policy and legislative environment, as well as highlight developments and opportunities in the  agribusiness sector.  Prof. Ferdi Meyer, director of the Bureau for Agricultural Policy (BFAP), and  Theo Venter, political and policy specialist and lecturer at the NWU Business School, will be guest speakers. 

PLEASE NOTE - The Agbiz Information Day, scheduled to be hosted in Klerksdorp on 1 November, has been postponed to early 2020. 

Agbiz Congress 2020 registration now open

It is our pleasure to inform you that the Agbiz Congress 2020 will be held at Sun City in North West from 15 to 17 July 2020.  Held every second year, the Agbiz Congress 2020 is one of the major events on the food, feed, fibre and wine sectors' agenda in South Africa. We anticipate attracting more than 400 delegates to the 2020 congress, which will feature presentations and discussion panels from local and international speakers, as well as a student case competition and various networking opportunities.

Themed "Building resilient and sustainable agri-food ecosystems", the congress will provide the key forum for identifying the critical developments needed over the coming decades to ensure agri-food value chains are managed sustainably for the benefit of current and future generations. New practices, methods and technologies are required to build robust and inclusive value chains, and thus sustainable agri-food networks and food security.

Don't miss out on this exciting opportunity to engage in these critical discussions, and showcase and promote your business on the agribusiness stage. We are looking forward to seeing you at the Agbiz Congress 2020 from 15 to 17 July 2020 at Sun City!

Please click here for more information and to register.
Workshops on AARTO legislation

The AARTO legislation has remained in the news over the last few weeks, and everyone is awaiting the implementation of the legislation. The  Road Traffic Infringement Authority (RTIA)  indicated that the Regulations, in terms of the AARTO  Act, as it is amended by Act 4 of 2019, will be published by the end of September 2019. AARTO w orkshops are scheduled for middle October 2019 onwards.
Vehicle Telematics and Intelligent Mobility Conference
17-18 October 2019 | Emperors Palace Convention Centre | Kempton Park

2019 AFMA Symposium
29 October 2019  | CSIR International Convention Centre | Pretoria

4.0 Industrial Revolution Agri Tech Conference 2019
28-29 November 2019  | The Lanzerac | Stellenbosch
More information
Africa Agri Tech South Africa
18-20 February 2020  | Time Square | Menlyn Maine | Pretoria

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

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
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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