During the lockdown the Agbiz office will be closed,  but all staff members are operating remotely and will be conducting their roles as normal from home offices.
5 June 2020
BUSA reacts to ANC's economic recovery plan
South Africa's ruling party, the ANC, has released a recovery economic strategy to revive an economy ravaged by the coronavirus and a two-month lockdown to curb its spread. The ANC document dated May 22 proposes encouraging the use of pension funds and the central bank to finance infrastructure spending to drive economic growth. In its reaction on the document, Business Unity South Africa (BUSA) says the document revives old ideology and dogma of a significantly increased role in the economy for the state, interfering in the mandate and independence of the South African Reserve Bank, supporting ailing and un-strategic state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and creating new ones. "In all instances we will need to persuade society that there is a fundamental and rational basis for any such moves, consistent with an inclusive, mixed, and sustainable economic growth trajectory,"   BUSA chief executive officer Cas Coovadia said in the statement.
Phasing out lockdown requires focus on trade-offs, fears and trust
As South Africa moves to level 3 of the national lockdown it is even more apparent that successfully phasing out a lockdown is vastly more complicated than imposing one, writes Prof. Raymond Parsons of the North-West University Business School. It requires carefully balancing trade-offs, handling fears and maintaining trust - all on the basis of shifting evidence and inadequate information, but with profound economic consequences.  Even if effectively implemented, well-intentioned economic support measures will not offset the socio-economic costs that have already been incurred; nor will they arrest the irreversible economic damage that is already evident. Please click here for the full article, written for and first published in Business Day.
Taking control - how the fresh produce sector Is mitigating Covid-19

The fruit-and-vegetable industry has been one of the most affected by the coronavirus epidemic. European Supermarket Magazine caught up with Freshfel (the European forum for the fresh produce industry) general delegate, Philippe Binard, to discuss how the sector is seeking to take back control. This article first appeared in European Supermarket Magazine Issue 3 2020.
France is attractive destination for industrial investment

Business France has published its 2019 Annual Report: Foreign investment in France. The 2019 report highlights how France has become the most attractive country in Europe for the first time in 20 years. I n 2019, 1 468 investment projects were registered, up 11% compared with 2018 and rising more than 50% in five years, creating or maintaining 39 542 jobs (up 30% compared with 2018). More than a confirmation, France's attractiveness is a real statement, showcasing the solidity of its economic fundamentals on which the PostCovid19 Recovery Plan will be able to rely on. Please click here for an infographic summary of the report.
SA's agricultural trade expected to remain vibrant in 2020 despite lockdowns 

The ongoing Covid-19 crisis has brought uncertainty to global trade because of disruptions in supply chains and weakening demand.  South Africa's agricultural sector, which is export-oriented, is one of the sectors Wandile Sihlobo feared would be disrupted by the pandemic. So far, however, there have been minimal disruptions as the global agricultural and food sector has generally stayed operational. Agbiz chief economist Wandile Sihlobo discusses this topic in the linked article, written for and first published on Fin24.
Large global grains supply

"I've recently cautioned that dryness in parts of Europe and North America could lead to poor grain yields, which would mean that anticipated record harvests in 2020/21 might fail to materialise. But data released by the International Grains Council (IGC) last week proved the opposite of what I had expected," states Wandile Sihlobo in the linked blogpost. He says the IGC maintained its view that there are large grain supplies in the global market and that the 2020/21 season promises an even larger harvest (with the previous month's high estimates being revised upwards).
Agri-food sector plays vital role in SA

Wessel Lemmer, senior agricultural economist at Absa Bank and newly appointed general manager of Agbiz Grain, presented two talks during a virtual webinar of the GCRF AgriFood Africa programme. His first presentation highlighted the strategic importance of the agri-food sector for South Africa and his second presentation focused on the profile of the South African agri-food landscape.
Solving coronavirus food shortages

A Potchefstroom engineering company, CFAM Technologies, a spin-off company of the Faculty of Engineering of the North-West University, specialises  in a process in which raw materials like maize meal are cooked at high pressure and heat in an extruder to produce a cooked, dry product within a few seconds. Because of the rapid cooking process, the digestibility and absorption of nutrients by and palatability of the product to the human body are enhanced. H owever, CFAM took their innovation to a higher level and recently developed their first food auto bank. It consists of a recycled shipping container that is filled with this dried porridge and placed in a strategic location in a residential area. The linked YouTube video provides more information on this local innovation. 
Soybeans near three-week high on upbeat demand, wheat extends gains
Chicago soybean futures eased on Thursday, though the market hovered near a three-week high with prices supported by strong demand for US cargoes.  Wheat gained for a second session with a softer greenback making US products competitive in the global market.  "The USDA reported more hefty export sales of US soybeans," said Tobin Gorey, director of agriculture strategy at Commonwealth Bank of Australia. Read more in the linked Reuters article.
Policy responses in emerging market and developing economies to the Covid-19 pandemic
The coronavirus crisis is a crisis like no other, and for emerging market and developing economies (EMDE), it has triggered a policy response like no other, both in scope and magnitude. 
Economic activity in EMDEs has decelerated at a pace unseen in at least 50 years as the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic ravages the global economy. Several countries are experiencing a sharp decline in trade and capital flows, and the impact of an unprecedented decline in oil and other commodity prices. A spate of sovereign downgrades has occurred.  The IMF's Policy Tracker summarises key policy responses to the Covid-19 pandemic, and within these responses, there are some common threads. Read more in the linked IMF blogpost.
In single Brazilian state, some 2 400 meat plant workers catch coronavirus
More than a quarter of the confirmed novel coronavirus cases in Brazil's southernmost state of Rio Grande do Sul are among meat plant workers, the labour prosecutors' office said earlier this week.  The prosecutors said in a statement that an estimated 2 399 employees from 24 slaughterhouses in 18 municipalities of the state have been infected. That equates to 25.7% of the 9 332 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Rio Grande do Sul as of Sunday, according to health ministry statistics. The linked Reuters article elaborates on this subject.
How will Covid-19 impact Africa's trade and market opportunities? 

The Covid-19 pandemic is expected to hit African economies extremely hard. According to the World Bank biannual Africa's Pulse report, as a result of the pandemic, economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa will decline from 2.4% in 2019 to between -2.1% and -5.1% in 2020, depending on the success of measures taken to mitigate the pandemic's effects. This means that the region will experience its first recession in 25 years.  The decline will be primarily due to large contractions in South Africa, Nigeria, and Angola driven by their reliance on exports of commodities whose prices have crashed as well as other structural issues. This will inevitably affect Africa's participation in trade and value chains as well as reduce foreign financing flows. Please click here to read the full article, published as a World Bank blogpost.
How the great lockdown saved lives 

Since the Covid-19 outbreak was first reported in Wuhan, China in late December 2019, the disease has spread to more than 200 countries and territories. In the absence of a vaccine or effective treatment, governments worldwide have responded by implementing unprecedented containment and mitigation measures -the Great Lockdown. This in turn has resulted in large short-term economic losses, and a decline in global economic activity not seen since the Great Depression. Did it work? Read more in the linked IMF blogpost.
Food safety is everyone's business

The second World Food Safety Day (WFSD) will be celebrated on 7 June 2020 to draw attention and inspire action to help prevent, detect and manage foodborne risks, contributing to food security, human health, economic prosperity, agriculture, market access, tourism and sustainable development. 
Following the success of the first celebration in 2019, this year again WFSD reinforces the call to strengthen commitment to scale up food safety made by the Addis Ababa Conference and the Geneva Forum in 2019 under the umbrella of "The Future of Food Safety". The World Health Organization, in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is pleased to facilitate Member States efforts to celebrate the World Food Safety Day.
Corteva Agriscience announces 2030 sustainability goals to increase agricultural resiliency
Corteva Agriscience announced its 10-year commitments to advance sustainability throughout the global food system earlier this week. The goals span a wide range of initiatives for farmers, the land, communities where employees and customers live and work, and in its own operations. Improvements in soil health, on-farm productivity, climate action, water stewardship, biodiversity, supply chain transparency and worker safety, among others, are included. "Our mission to lead the entire agriculture industry toward better, more sustainable outcomes across the world is more important now than ever," said Corteva Agriscience Chief Executive Officer James C. Collins, Jr. "We believe there is no better time to commit to protecting and preserving the source of our food, and helping our communities thrive. We support those who provide for us all." Read more in the linked Corteva Agriscience media statement.
GWK Veewinkel: well-known, trusted online platform now released for livestock auctions 
A collaboration between GWK Auctions and Wildswinkel, combining their extensive experience in auctions, made it possible to now launch a new online platform for livestock auctions that is sure to turn the industry upside down, in a very good way. In a world where saving costs is becoming increasingly important for an industry now also facing unique challenges during the coronavirus crisis, solutions are needed to continue service delivery to livestock farmers in an easier, more cost-effective way. The GWK Veewinkel app creates a platform to host virtual, online livestock auctions in real time. For more information, please click GWK media statement.
News from the global avocado industry
The World Avocado Organisation (WAO) has elaborated on steps taken by the global avocado industry to respond to the coronavirsu pandemic. In a statement the WAO states:  "Our members are operating in a responsible manner to safeguard our personnel and crops in all aspects of our internal supply chain. Such operations, from orchard to packing house to table, are being carried out with the appropriate safety measures and in coordination with government authorities," says  Zac Bard, chairman of the WAO, and CEO of Westvalia Fruit Africa.  
PMA participates in World Food Safety Day webinar
"Consumers need to understand that there is no such thing as a totally safe food.  There are risks inherent in everything," says Deon Mahoney, head of food safety at the Produce Marketing Association (PMA) Australia-New Zeeland.  "Most vegetables are peeled then cooked - these processes will remove any contamination if it exists, whereas washing fruits before consumption will be good enough too."  Mahoney, participated in a webinar this week as part of  South Africa's programme of events leading up to World Food Day on 7 June 2020. Read more in the linked PMA media statement.
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.
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. 
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. 
Join Marsh for Covid-19 webinar series
Join Marsh for their Covid-19 webinar series on Tuesday, 09 June 2020 at 11:00. The theme of the session is "People: A Reality Check - Report from the Frontline." You'll  hear directly from Dr Tshegofatso Moeletsi, clinical pathologist and HRD for Lancet Laboratories. Tamara Parker, CEO Mercer, Africa, will also be a special guest. Please click here to register for the webinar.
Virtual discussion on the agri value chain sparks debate around challenges and opportunities

Senwes, in collaboration with the Agricultural Business Chamber (Agbiz), hosted a virtual discussion series on the agricultural value chain.  The virtual discussion series platform went live on 24 April 2020 @ 16:00.  This platform will continue to be open to anyone who would like to join the virtual discussions in the new revolutionary series and follow these informative sessions with the different role players in the agriculture value chain. Please visit the link to register and to access the platform for more information on the topics and panellists. The first seven sessions are ready for you to view . Registered participants will be alerted by SMS when a new session becomes available. 
17-19  June 2020 | Cape Town International Convention Centre  | Cape Town

MPO webinar on the sensory evaluation of cheeses
24 June @ 10:00-12:00.
More information: Julie on 083 740 2720 or julie@mpo.co.za.

2020 AgriAllAfrica Agribusiness Conference and Exhibition
Theme: "Pioneering new agri horizons"
5 - 6 August 2020 | Diamond hall, CSIR | Pretoria
Enquiries: Marianna.duplessis@gmail.com | +27 063 076 9135

PMA Fresh Connections: Southern Africa Conference and Trade Show
19-20 August 2020  Sun Arena, Time Square, Menlyn Maine, Pretoria

MPO Annual National Congress, cheese-making course and AGMs
4 November  2020 | Lythwood Lodge | Lidgetton | KZN Midlands
Contact Julie McLachlan: julie@mpo.co.za or 083 740 2720

3rd African Symposium on Mycotoxicology joint MYTOXSOUTH conference 
6-9 September 2020 | Stellenbosch

Soya Bean for Human Consumption Symposium
17 September 2020  | Pretoria

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
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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