Golf day bookings are selling fast! Book your four ball today

The Agbiz Congress 2020 will kick-off on 15 July 2020 with a golf day at the Lost City Country Club.  Golfers of all abilities will undoubtedly enjoy the wide fairways and receptive greens on offer, as well as the thrill of playing one of the rare "downhill" courses in South Africa. We cannot recommend a more thrilling game of golf and we encourage you to book your four ball.

Please click here for more information and to book.
7 February 2020
Six charts explain South Africa's inequality

The South African government has used different tools to tackle the stubborn levels of inequality that have plagued the country, including through progressive fiscal redistribution.
Efforts to reduce inequality have focused on higher social spending, targeted government transfers, and affirmative action to diversify wealth ownership and promote entrepreneurship among the previously marginalised. These measures need to be complemented with reforms that promote private investment, jobs, and inclusive growth. The six charts in the linked IMF article that tell the story of South Africa's inequality.
Minister Didiza reassures Parliament about FMD situation

Earlier this week, Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Minister Thoko Didiza briefed the portfolio committee on agriculture, land reform and rural development on progress regarding the foot-and-mouth disease outbreak in Molemole in Limpopo. The minister assured members of the committee that the veterinary services team is doing everything possible to ensure the situation does not cause any further economic harm. Since the outbreak, in November 2019, the team has followed up on over 140 properties with possible links to specific auctions and affected properties. To date 130, properties have been investigated, and precautionary quarantine notices lifted on 87 properties. Please click here to peruse.
South Africa celebrates the International Year of Plant Health 2020

The year 2020 has been internationally recognised and declared as the International Year of Plant Health - a year to celebrate plant health under the slogan of "Protecting Plants, Protecting Life." South Africa joins countries in the world to celebrate plant health as part of recognising the importance of plants to our health, animal health, environmental care and biodiversity socioeconomic, agriculture and rural development. Media statement.
Amendment to leave provisions
The President, on 23 December 2018, proclaimed 1 January 2020 as the date on which the amendments to the leave provisions in the Basic Conditions of Employment Act  75 of 1997 will become effective.
The practical effect of this is that employees will as of 1 January 2020 be entitled to a number of new types of leave not previously provided for. Please click here for more information on the new provisions.
Rainfall across SA gets summer crops off to a good start
Wandile Sihlobo's last column two weeks ago painted a bleak picture of SA's 2019/2020 agricultural outlook, highlighting prospects of drought in some regions of the country. Lately, conditions have improved notably, and farmers managed to plant the area they intended. This was confirmed by the preliminary plantings data released last week by SA's Crop Estimates Committee (CEC), which put the 2019/2020 summer crop area at 3.97-million hectares. This encompasses yellow maize, white maize, sunflower seed, soya beans, groundnuts, sorghum and dry beans. Agbiz chief economist Wandile Sihlobo shares his insights in the  linked article.
Zimbabwe's decision to lift a ban on GM maize imports could benefit SA in the near term
For years Zimbabwe has maintained a ban on the importation or growing of genetically modified (GM) maize. While the policy disadvantaged farmers who couldn't produce higher yields from GM seeds as neighbouring South Africa, it also provided protection through phyto-sanitary barriers that protected the country's non-GM maize producers. The policy also disadvantaged consumers who were compelled to purchase higher-priced maize and its products, which would have been relatively cheaper if the country produced higher volumes from GM seed. Wandile Sihlobo discusses this subject in the linked article.
Thailand, a key SA rice supplier, expects a poor harvest. Should South Africans be worried? 
Consumption of rice in South Africa is increasing, however, climate conditions in the country are not conducive to growing these grains. We fully depend on imports for all our annual requirements. In 2020, South Africa's rice imports are set to increase by 10% y/y to 1.1 million tonnes. Thailand has consistently been a main supplier of rice to South Africa, accounting for an average 65% share of imports over the past five years. Hence, concern started to build when estimates from the United States Department of Agriculture indicated that Thailand could harvest its second-lowest rice crop in a decade this year. The country's harvest is estimated at 18.0 million tonnes. There, however, will still be a substantial volume of rice to export, roughly 7.6 million tonnes. While this looks decent, it is 31% lower than the volume of rice Thailand exported in 2018.  Wandile Sihlobo elaborates on this topic in the linked article .
Fundamental pillars of cannabis market
With the cannabis discussion steaming up in South Africa, Wandile Sihlobo has been monitoring developments in other countries that have liberalised this plant. South Africa still has a tough road to walk in formulating the proper regulatory system for the entire cannabis value chain. The encouraging part, however, is that various government departments are considering this plant for the Master Plans, that are being drafted, with the hope of stimulating growth.
What caught his attention is an article from New Frontier Data. It spells out nine foundational pillars for establishing the stable and healthy development of a new legal cannabis market. These include; policy, regulation, taxation, compliance, lab testing, data and reporting, cultivation, and education. Read more in the linked article written by Wandile Sihlobo.
Proudly SA wines to be on show in Russia

Proudly South African wines will be on display at the Prodexpo international trade show in Moscow, Russia from 10 to 14 February 2020. Prodexpo is the largest international show for the food and drinks sector in Russia and Eastern Europe. The Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) has organised a mission for the South African companies from the agro-processing sector to showcase their products at the trade fair and create awareness about the proudly South African wines. The mission is funded through the department's Export Marketing and Investment Assistance (EMIA) Scheme, whose objective is to develop export markets for South African products and services. Read more in the linked dti media statement.
US farm bankruptcies hit an eight-year high: court data

US farm bankruptcy rates jumped 20% in 2019 - to an eight-year high - as financial woes in the US agricultural economy continued in spite of massive federal bail-out funding.  According to data released this week by the United States Courts, family farmers filed 595 Chapter 12 bankruptcies in 2019, up from 498 filings a year earlier. The data also shows that such filings - known as "family farmer" bankruptcies - have steadily increased every year for the past five years.  Farmers across the nation also have retired or sold their farms because of the financial strains, changing the face of Midwestern towns and concentrating the business in fewer hands. Please click on the linked Reuters article  to peruse.
A call for compliant wood-packaging material in international trade

In the context of ensuring fair and safe trade as well as observing the International Year of Plant Health 2020, the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) is making a clarion call to the exporters, importers and all other role players involved in the international trading of agricultural and non-agricultural products involving wood-packaging material to comply with ISPM 15 (International Standard for Phytosanitary Measures - Guidelines for regulating wood-packaging material in international trade). Untreated wood-packaging material can be a pathway for the introduction of pests of economic concern, which may negatively affect the country's natural resources, agriculture and forestry in particular. Regulated wood-packaging material includes coniferous and non-coniferous raw wood-packaging material. This covers wood-packaging material such as pallets, dunnage, crating, packing blocks, drums, cases, loading boards, pallet collars and skids, which can be present in any imported/exported consignments. Please click on the  media statement for more information.
Global portal to information on chemical substances

The OECD announced the release of eChemPortal version 3.0. This new version includes a modernisation of the user interface architecture, a refreshed design, improved navigation and the alignment of eChemPortal to OECD Harmonised Template (OHT) 2018. The user experience is now more fluid and the user can search for chemical information more efficiently.  N ew features include quick search functionality from the homepage, filtering and sorting on results tables, and a preliminary indication of the number of results expected in a search by chemical properties. The searches also have been harmonised to be more intuitive for the user. Please click here to peruse.
Seasonal climate and weather watch

In light of the seasonal climate watch as produced by the South African Weather Service (SAWS), the some advisory guidelines are suggested. It is emphasised that these advisories are broad guidelines and should be interpreted considering the local aspects of the region such as soil types, cultural preferences and farming systems. Depending on the particular region, the prioritisation of the guidelines will differ. The basic strategy to follow would be to minimise and diversify risk, optimise soil water availability and to manage the renewable resources (rain water and grazing) to uphold sound farming objectives. Long-term mitigation strategies should be considered by implementing techniques to enhance in-field water harvesting by reducing run-off and improving infiltration. Reduced tillage methods are very important in this regard, as is basin tillage, to capture rainwater in the drier areas. Media statement
FoodBev calls for nominations for leadership development programmes

The Food and Beverages Manufacturing SETA (FoodBev) is excited to be partnering with the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) in delivering the International Executive Development Programme (IEDP) and the International Management Development Programme (IMDP). These programmes aim to develop current and future leaders, and to promote the development of a network of empowered executives that can leverage each other's experiences for the betterment of their own organisations strategic and operational sustainability. Each successful candidate will have a number of coaching sessions with a dedicated executive coach, to assist in translating the knowledge acquired and skills gained when back at work. FoodBev, therefore, request your company/organisation to nominate a suitable candidate to participate in these programmes. When considering a potential nominee, kindly refer to the minimum requirements for each programme listed in the linked article.
Latest news from the PSM

The Private Sector Mechanism (PSM), of which Agbiz is a member, is an open platform providing a permanent seat for the broad agri-food business value chain at the UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS). Since the reform of the CFS in 2009, the PSM represents private sector organisations through participation at the CFS Plenary and the Advisory Group, and sits along with other Non-State Actors and Member Countries of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations in the Open-Ended Working Groups (and their Technical Task Teams) which develop, by consensus, policy positions and recommendations for consideration and decision by CFS Plenary. Please click here for the latest PSM newsletter.
Report on SRCC's transformation projects

Read more about the Sunday River Citrus Company's transformation projects in the latest edition of the SRCC's Transformation Times.
Africa Agri Tech South Africa
18-20 February 2020  | Time Square | Menlyn Maine | Pretoria
More information

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

Women in Tech Africa 2020 Conference 
18-19 March  | Century City Conference Centre  | Cape Town

GOSA Symposium 2020
19-20 March 2020 | Diaz Hotel & Resort | Mossel Bay
Theme: "2020 and beyond"

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

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

Soya Bean for Human Consumption Symposium
17 September 2020  | Pretoria
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.

                                      Like us on Facebook            Follow us on Twitter            View our profile on LinkedIn                                    
The Agbiz Newsletter may contain a few links to websites that belong to third parties unrelated to us.  By making these links available, we are not endorsing third-party websites, their content, products, services or their events.  Agbiz seeks to protect the integrity of its newsletter and links used in it, and therefore welcomes any feedback.
In this newsletter