5 July 2019
Agbiz chief economist ranked amongst Top 200 Young South Africans

Agbiz chief economist Wandile Sihlobo was nominated as one of Mail & Guardian's Top 200 Young South Africans. The names of 200 trailblazing young South Africans was announced at a gala event in Sandton. This year, the Mail & Guardian received more than 6 000 nominations from the public of young South Africans who are pushing barriers, making giant strides, and doing truly good work. According to the judges it was incredibly difficult to narrow the nominations down to the final 200. Agbiz is very proud that Wandile ranks amongst  the dream-chasers and change-makers that will build South Africa into everything it has the potential to be. Please click here to peruse.
NWU Business School Policy Uncertainty Index declines slightly from 53.4 in 1Q to 52.9 in 2Q

The Policy Uncertainty Index (PUI) decreased slightly from 53.4 in 1Q 2019 to 52.9 in 2Q 2019 (base line 50). Policy uncertainty therefore remained strongly elevated and stayed well in negative territory during this period. There is still potential to reverse the trend in the months ahead. The biggest single factor negatively affecting the PUI in this period was probably the ANC controversy around the status and role of the SA Reserve Bank, which injected palpable uncertainty into the markets and the economy in the past quarter. Please click NWU Business School Policy Uncertainty Index to peruse.
Changes to Amended COGP Gazette 42496

On 31 May 2019 a composite 396-page Government Gazette was published containing dozens of notices and legislative changes from across many different ministries that appears to be an effort to reduce gazetting costs and to dispense with outstanding matters prior to the new cabinet ministers taking over.  Embedded in this Gazette are four BEE Gazettes as below:
  • Revised Code 000 General Principles
  • Interpretation and Definitions Revised Schedule 1
  • Skills Development Revised Code 300
  • Enterprise & Supplier Development Revised Code 400
Please click here for communication from the Signa Group in this regard. The Agbiz Transformation Committee will give feedback regarding the legislative changes, as well as the implications on the sector codes, at the AgriBEE Workshop on 2 August. 
New White Paper on Science, Technology and Innovation

The South African government has now adopted the 2019 White Paper on Science, Technology and Innovation, 23 years after the previous White Paper on Science and Technology in 1996. Mariana Purnell, general manager of Agbiz Grain and Exco member of the National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF) attended the stakeholders awareness workshop on the 2019 White Paper on Science, Technology and Innovation which forms part of the Innovation for Inclusive Development seminar series. The White Paper will be guided by a decadal plan which will prioritise programmes and projects to implement the White Paper, envisage the outputs of the programmes and projects, define the roles and responsibilities of NSI partners, outline timelines and resources as well as provide indicators of success. There will be at least three funds established to support relevant initiatives, namely a Sovereign Innovation Fund, a fund for inclusive development and a fund for infrastructure. Purnell welcomes the fact that the decadal plan will also include sector specific workshops as science, technology and innovation plays a major role in agriculture.
Biofuels - a quick win that ticks all the right boxes

The Department of Minerals and Energy published a National Industrial Strategy on biofuel production in South Africa as far back as 2007. Sadly, this strategy received widespread opposition from certain groupings based on a misunderstanding of its potential impact on food security. As such, the strategy has still not been finalised. The biofuels industry has the potential to create in excess of 25 000 jobs and contribute indirectly to land reform, rural development, reduce the negative environmental impact of transport fuel, and reducing our reliance on imported fossil fuels. It therefore, ticks the boxes from a social, economic and environmental point of view. With our economy under distress, tough decisions need to be made and it may be time to look critically at the validity of opposing comments in light of empirical data. Agbiz head of Legal Intelligence Theo Boshoff provides more insight in the linked article.
Thoughts on the US maize market

The sentiment in the agricultural market can change very quickly. Just a few weeks ago, agricultural analysts across the world were concerned that the excessive wet weather conditions in the US would lead fewer plantings and poor yields. This would have subsequently led to tight global maize supplies.  But when the US Department of Agriculture released its acreage report last week, there was soon a realisation that the market misread the situation on the ground. The US government indicated that farmers planted 37.1 million hectares in 2019/20 season, up by 3% year-on-year. Agbiz chief economist Wandile Sihlobo shares his thoughts in the linked blogpost.
Zimbabwe's maize experiment: who will be the winner?

In economics, natural experiments are hard to come by, but once in a while, you hit a jackpot without even paying a lottery ticket. For agricultural policymakers in South Africa and the continent at large, the recent developments in Zimbabwe are one such experiment. On Friday 28 June 2019, we learned that the Zimbabwean government has banned sales of maize by farmers to anyone other than the government's Grain Marketing Board. This will be at a prescribed price, which we do not know at this point. This move follows a poor harvest after another season of unfavourable weather conditions, which has left Zimbabwe as a net-importer of maize. Please click here for Wandile Sihlobo's blogpost on this topic.
Salient facts: African swine fever

Wandile Sihlobo's comments on the spreading of African Swine Fever in Asian countries have largely been on the market perspective - what the virus means for the global pork supply, consumer prices, etc. But he has noticed that some readers were concerned about the human health implication of this virus. In the linked blogpost he shares the views of  Dr Peter Evans, a veterinarian and animal production specialist on African swine fever.
Grobank appoints new CEO

Grobank is pleased to announce the appointment of Bennie van Rooy as chief executive officer (CEO) with effect from 1 July 2019. The appointment is a strong statement that demonstrates the bank's determination to execute its stated growth strategy, which is aimed at driving the food and agri-business banking, business banking, SME and alliance banking segments of the bank. Press release
Save the date: Agbiz AgriBEE Workshop

Agbiz will be hosting a workshop on AgriBEE on 2 August 2019. Topics for discussion will include feedback relating to the latest proposals relating to an industry norm as well as a general discussion on AgriBEE as requested by members at the Council meeting held on 26 April. More detail will be provided in due course.
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

Allergen Workshop
30 July 2019  | Emperors Palace | Kempton Park
Global Trade Show of Networking and Match-Making South Africa 2019 (GTS 2019) 
29 to 31 July 2019 | Gallagher Convention Centre | Midrand

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

Global Trade Show of Networking and Match-Making South Africa 2019 (GTS 2019)
29 to 31 July 2019 | Gallagher Convention Centre | Midrand
First African Conference on Edible Insects
14-16 August 2019  | Harare | Zimbabwe

Fertasa Soil Fertility & Plant Nutrition Symposium
Theme: "Back to basics for the future"
21 & 22 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

PSA Seed Growers' Forum & PSA Congress
17 & 18 September 2019 | Cape Sun Hotel  | Cape Town

AFMA Forum 2020
Theme: "Explore today for a better tomorrow"
3-5 March 2020 | Sun City | South Africa

Agritech Africa
17-19  June 2020 | Cape Town International Convention Centre  | Cape Town
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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