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.
7 August 2020
IMF loan is not SA's biggest debt problem
The South African economy is in a much more precarious position than had previously thought. The recession will be deeper, and the effects will linger longer than we had anticipated. High-frequency data that looks at affordability and consumer behaviour, such as vehicle and retail sales, is still in contraction and sectors such as manufacturing and mining, remain constrained. When forecasting economic growth, a consideration of the duration of the pandemic has to be made. "Should we experience a second wave of infections, just like in some of the northern hemisphere countries, recovery will be extremely difficult," writes Thabi Leoka, an independent economist and member of the Presidential Economic Advisory Council, in the linked article, first published on Fin 24.
An action plan for agricultural growth
There is a growing volume of literature outlining what ought to be done to reconstruct the economy after the devastation of the Covid-19 pandemic. In reality, however, it might be too early to place much emphasis on some of the plans that have been published by various institutions, as we are all still trying to fathom the full ramifications of this pandemic. It seems like we have thus far only seen a glimpse of the impact as only four provinces in South Africa have experienced higher infection numbers, namely, Gauteng, the Western Cape, the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal. One can only assume that other provinces are yet to experience surges in infection numbers. Agbiz chief economist Wandile Sihlobo explores this subject in the linked article, written for and first published on Fin24.
Restitution Commission looking for new settlement models

The Commission on the Restitution of Land Rights invited Agbiz and several of its members to a half-day consultation session on new settlement models for land restitution on 5 August 2020. Whilst there is a lot of work currently being done in parallel on the Agricultural and Agro-processing Master Plan, the Comprehensive Producer Development Support Policy and blended finance models for agricultural development and land redistribution, it is heartening to see that land restitution is not being left behind. In the linked article, Agbiz head of Legal Intelligence Theo Boshoff gives feedback on the consultation session.
Covid-19 threat small on mechanised farms

The South African agricultural sector has thus far successfully harvested summer crops with minimal interruption from the pandemic. However, farmers and agribusinesses had to adjust their usual work processes to comply with health regulations and limit the spread of the virus. In October the focus will shift to planting activity of 2020/2021 summer grains, oilseeds and various horticulture products. This will happen while the Covid-19 infection numbers are close to their peak, with the Western Cape, Gauteng, Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal the hotspots. These provinces also account for 60% of South Africa's agricultural output, which raises questions about whether the surge in infections could affect the planting season negatively. I doubt this will be the case. Agbiz chief economist Wandile Sihlobo discusses this subject in the linked article, written for and first published in Business Day
Declining area planted may present opportunities for US lumber exports to South Africa

The production of timber is forecast to decrease by 20 percent to 12.4 million tonnes in the 2020/21 marketing year (MY), based on the decrease in area planted, fire damage, pests/diseases, and the slow-down in industry logging rates caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. The area planted to timber is expected to continue its decline to 1.18 million hectares in the 2020/21 MY, based on the low replanting levels, stringent government restrictions on water licenses and environmental policies restricting plantations in protected areas, and farmers replacing timber with other crops such as citrus, macadamia and avocados. South Africa is a promising market for US exports of wood pulp and high-quality hard wood used in furniture making. The continued decline in timber area planted may also present opportunities for US exports of timber used for structural and industrial purposes if demand increases in the next five to 10 years. Read more in the linked USDA report.
Real harm, imaginary compensation for Zim's white farmers
Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa has promised to pull a very big rabbit out of a tiny hat with an agreement to pay roughly $3.5bn in compensation to white farmers who were evicted from their land under the redistribution programme of his predecessor, Robert Mugabe, two decades ago. The main problem with this ruse is that because the country is bankrupt - thanks in no small measure to what turned out to be a sort of scorched-earth policy rather than good agricultural practice - the state doesn't have the money to pay the farmers. Read more in the linked article by Paul Ash, first published in Business Day.
Swarm movements in the Horn of Africa as focus shifts to summer breeding areas
The locust situation remains a cause of extreme concern in the Horn of Africa and southwest Asia. Second-generation spring swarms continue to decline in northwest Kenya due to control operations and migration northwards. A few swarms last crossed into northeast Uganda on 22 July. At least one swarm appeared on 1 August in the southeast of South Sudan near Kapoeta in East Equatoria, and control operations are underway. A few more swarms could appear in the coming days and transit South Sudan to reach the summer breeding areas in Sudan. Other immature swarms have migrated northwards to Ethiopia to join existing swarms, some of which moved into the northern Ethiopian highlands and northwest Somalia where control operations continue against hopper bands and swarms. Two swarms from Yemen invaded northeast Ethiopia at the end of July. In southern Oman, control operations are in progress against local breeding near Salalah. Read more in the linked report, published on the FAO Locust Watch.
Register now for Croplife's crop protection course
Due to high demand and flexibility from the training service provider, we are able to take a second round of registrations for the Basic Crop Protection course. Registrations for this intake will open on 14 August and close on 30 August 2020. The course will commence on 1 September and examinations will take place from 1 to 20 November 2020. The cost remains R7 200 ex VAT per person. Please click here to register online. 
 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.

Agbiz Congress 2021

We are currently finding ourselves in challenging and unprecedented times, and the uncertainty around what the future holds makes it very difficult for any of us to plan ahead. This also applies to the arrangements for the Agbiz Congress, which was scheduled for July this year, but had to be postponed to April 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. We are soliciting advice from professional event organisers to assist us in finding the most suitable solution to host the congress next year, despite the uncertain times we find ourselves in. We will present the various options at the Council meeting on 28 August 2020 for input and recommendations from Council members. For more information, please visit the congress web page. 
Alcohol value chain under the spotlight

Session 13 in the Agri Value Chain Virtual Discussion Series, chaired by Agbiz CEO John Purchase, focuses on the South African alcohol value chain and the impact of the current prohibition on the sale of alcoholic beverages.
The virtual discussion series platform went live on 24 April 2020. This platform will continue to be open to anyone who would like to join the virtual discussions. Please follow the link to register and to access the platform for more information on the topics and panelists. Thirteen sessions are ready to view. Registered participants will be alerted by SMS when a new session becomes available. 
PMA Fresh Connections: Southern Africa Conference
18-20 August 2020 | Virtual event
More information

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 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

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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