4 September 2020
Food affordability tracker - food inflation trends in July 2020
Official year-on-year food and non-alcoholic beverage inflation reflected a slight increase from 4.2% in June to 4.3% in July. If food without the beverage component is considered, the official year-on-year increase was 4.6%. This figure remains stubbornly high, with constrained demand supporting expectations, prior to the release of the figures, of lower inflation rates. The Food Affordability Tracker explores month-on-month and year-on-year changes in food inflation and its respective subcategories and shows which of the subcategories were the major contributors to the relatively strong growth in prices.Please click here for the report, compiled by a number of collaborating researchers from the Bureau for Food and Agricultural Policy, the Department of Agricultural Economics, Extension and Rural Development at the University of Pretoria, the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and
Rural Development.
dtic launches new mechanism to monitor export barriers
This past week, the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (dtic) launched its Exports Barrier Monitoring Mechanism (EBMM) during a Zoom webinar. The EBMM will offer a single channel to report export barriers, dedicated resolution support, long-term integration into economy diplomacy and clustering of priority barriers. Please click on the link to peruse. To report any export barrier, email ExportBarriers@thedtic.gov.za, or use the (soon to be available) online form on the dtic website.
2020 a good year for agriculture with bumper harvests and record exports expected
With South Africa's GDP expected to be a bloodbath this year, there is a glimmer of hope in the agricultural sector. This year is good year for agriculture with bumper harvests and record exports expected. For more on this, Ayanda Nyathi of Newsroom Africa chatted to Agbiz CEO Dr John Purchase. Please click here to view the interview.
Covid-19: cargo movement update
Business Unity SA (BUSA) has published an update on cargo movement  - the sixth of its kind. The report provides a consolidated overview of the flow of air, sea and road freight to and from South Africa over the course of the last week, as well as an overview of the current situation with trade regionally and internationally. Please click here to peruse.
Recent judgement recalibrates the requirements for lawful evictions
On 25 August the Western Cape High Court handed down judgement in the case of the South African Human Rights Commission and Others v City of Cape Town and Others. This judgement further developed the legal position relating to the eviction of unlawful land occupiers. The linked article by Agbiz head of Legal Intelligence Theo Boshoff contains a brief summary of the judgement and its implications for landowners.
South Africa's leading horticultural crops with higher employment 

Agriculture is one of the sectors that will help create employment and economic activity in rural South Africa. In previous blog entries, Agbiz chief economist Wandile Sihlobo has argued that the South African government should instead recast its vision of agricultural development using Chapter Six of the National Development Plan as a point of departure. This specifically applies to the former homeland regions and underutilised land reform farms, as these are the areas that still carry the potential for agricultural expansions. This developmental ambition will require that South Africa confront various infrastructure and governance constraints that have hindered development and growth of agriculture over the past two decades. Read more in Wandile Sihlobo's linked blogpost.
SA set to have the largest wheat harvest in a decade, and largest canola and barley harvest on record

We now have further evidence that the good rains that the Western Cape received over the past couple of months will have a meaningful contribution to South Africa's 2020/21 winter crop production. The data released by the Crop Estimates Committee on August 27 shows that South Africa's 2020/21 wheat, barley and canola production could increase by 28% y/y, 46% y/y and 29%, respectively, to 1.96 million tonnes, 505 215 tonnes and 122 820 tonnes. To bring some colour on this, the aforementioned wheat harvest will be the largest in a decade, while barley and canola harvests are the largest on record. The conversations I have recently had with farmers in the province confirm this great crop. Some argue that if there are favourable rains in September, the country will be looking at a nice recovery in production this year. Read more in Wandile Sihlobo's linked article.
Will Zimbabwe's ambition to notably lift its maize production in 2020/21 materialise?

Maize is one of the key agricultural commodities that Zimbabwe continues to import, however the country has favourable climatic conditions to change this dynamic. In the period between 2015 and 2019, Zimbabwe's maize imports averaged 17% of overall agricultural imports which were valued at US$795 million, according to data from Trade Map. But this past week, the Zimbabwean government made an important statement aiming to boost its maize production. The government aims to encourage farmers to plant 1.5 million hectares of maize, which would be a 3% increase from the five-year average area. This is plausible as the country managed to plant 1.9 and 1.7 million hectares in 2017/18 and 2018/19, respectively. But what makes this particular announcement significant is the yield target. The government has set a target of 2.4 tonnes per hectare. Wandile Sihlobo elaborates in the linked article.
Poor weather has caused less damage to global grain crops than feared

Though South Africa is a net exporter of some grains, such as maize and barley, the country is not insulated from developments in the global grains market. International price movements in these commodities do influence trading conditions in the domestic market to an extent. For rice, wheat and soybean meal, of which South Africa is a net importer, global market conditions matter even more. The livestock and poultry industries, which rely heavily on maize and soybean meal for feed, often bear the brunt of global grain market aftershocks. Wandile Sihlobo discusses this subject in the linked article, written for and first published in Business Day.
Know your responsibilities in cases of occupationally acquired Covid-19
Given the fact that more employers might be exposed to cases of occupationally acquired Covid-19, it is a good thing to brush up on the provisions of the legislative framework surrounding workplace injuries and illnesses. In the linked document, Jahni de Villiers of Labour Amplified gives a summary of the Compensation for Occupational Injury and Diseases Act, no. 130 of 1993 (as amended). The Act will be referred to as COIDA. The Act governs compensation of employees who suffer injuries or diseases contracted at work as well as compensation for employees who die because of work-related injuries or diseases. This means that COIDA is compulsory insurance for employers in case any of their workers die, sustain an injury or contract an occupational disease during the course of their employment.
African farmers are younger than you think. Here is why
Over the past 20 years sub-Saharan Africa has registered the highest rate of agricultural production in the world. There have been knock-on effects with the region also seeing the fastest growth in off-farm employment and non-farm labour productivity. There's a widely held view that Africa's agricultural growth trajectory could be jeopardised by an ageing farm population because young people are fleeing from farming. Several sources indicate that the average age of Africans in farming has risen to 60 years or more. But we are unaware of any empirical evidence to support this claim. Read more in the linked article, written for and first published on The Conversation.
Zimbabwe to give back land to some white farmers who have not been compensated 
About 200 foreign white farmers in Zimbabwe, whose land was seized under the country's controversial land reform programme, can now register to be allocated farms in the event that the government fails to pay compensation.
This was announced by finance minister Mthuli Ncube and agriculture minister Anxious Masuka during a joint media briefing this week. The deal applies only to about 200 farmers who were protected by agreements between Zimbabwe and other countries at the time the state acquired the land. Read more in the linked article, written for and first published in Business Day.
AgriCAREERConnect goes virtual
Following the success of AgriCAREERConnect (ACC) events last year and considering the restrictions on public events due to Covid-19, ACC Virtual 2020 will be taking place at the universities of Pretoria on 8 October and Stellenbosch on 15 October this year. The target is undergraduate and postgraduate students in the fields of agriculture, food and consumer sciences, as well as first year BSc Biological Science students, BEng (Industrial), IT and BCom students. ACC Virtual 2020 events comprise of short pre-recorded talks/presentations by participating companies, showcasing the company and the industry, and career opportunities. Presentations are compiled in three different industry tracks, running simultaneously, in webinar format, followed by pre-organised virtual meetings between companies and students and graduates. Students can switch from one track to another or view tracks afterwards. Please click on the linked media statement 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.
Get the latest news from the FPEF

Keeping it Fresh, the newsletter of the Fresh Produce Exporters' Forum, contains all the recent relevant news and developments. Please click here for the latest edition.

For more information, please visit the congress web page. 
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 Virtual Annual National Congress
4 November  2020 
Contact Julie McLachlan: julie@mpo.co.za or 083 740 2720

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
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