7 June 2019
Minister Didiza meets with agri-SOEs

The new Ministry of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development led by Minister Thoko Didiza, Deputy Minister Sdumo Dlamini and Deputy Minister Mcebisi Skwatsha held their first engagement with the executive of the five agriculture state-owned entities. Chairpersons and chief executives of the Agricultural Research Council (ARC), the Office of the Valuer General, the National Agricultural Marketing Council (NAMC), Onderstepoort Biological Products (OBP) and the Perishable Products Export Control Board (PPECB) attended the meeting. Minister Didiza asserted the need for the SOEs to support the governing party mandate in transforming agriculture, developing the agricultural economy and ensuring food security. The new leadership will meet the entities individually in the weeks to come. Please click here to peruse. 
Grocery Retail Market Inquiry: key preliminary findings and recommendations

The Competition Commission has initiated a market inquiry into the South African grocery retail sector. The inquiry was established on 30 October 2015. The Commission has initiated the inquiry as it has reason to believe that there are features present within this sector that may prevent, distort or restrict competition, and to pursue the purpose of the Competition Act. The Grocery Retail Market Inquiry published its preliminary report on 29 May 2019. Broadly, the inquiry found that there is a combination of features in the South African grocery retail sector that may prevent, distort or restrict competition. In particular, there are three principal areas of concern that warrant remedial action, namely long-term exclusive lease agreements and buyer power; competitiveness of small and independent retailers; and the regulatory landscape. Please click here for the media statement on the inquiry and on Grocery Retail Market Inquiry to peruse the report.
Agbiz discusses developments in agri sector

Agbiz chief economist Wandile Sihlobo and Theo Vorster of Galileo Capital discussed developments in agriculture and what the new agriculture minister could potentially prioritise in the near term with Waldimar Pelser in KykNET's programme KykNET Verslag earlier this week . Please click here to watch the interview.
Agriculture's negative contribution to the disastrous GDP figure driven mainly by drought

The agricultural economy, by nature, is wobbly relative to other sectors of the economy as its fortunes are largely driven by a factor beyond the control of humankind - the weather. And in the recent past weather conditions have increasingly been a challenge as exemplified by frequent drought in South Africa. Drought has been a major factor in agricultural production in recent years, and 2019 was no different.Please click here for Agbiz chief economist Wandile Sihlobo's article, written for and first published on Daily Maverick.
Excessive rainfall in the US could weigh on global maize and soybean supplies

When the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) released its preliminary estimates for the 2019/20 global grains and oilseeds production, the sentiment in the global agricultural market was that there will be large food supplies, and most analysts focused on other key risks such as the US-China trade dispute. The USDA estimated a 1% annual uptick in 2019/20 global maize production to 1.1 billion tonnes. The 2019/20 global soybean production was estimated at 356 million tonnes, down by 2% from the previous season, but still higher than the average long-term production. But this picture is likely to change in this month's update, which will be released on 11 June 2019, owing to slow progress in plantings in the United States. This is on the back of wet weather conditions in the country's farm belt. Wandile Sihlobo elaborates in the linked article  written for and first published on Daily Maverick.
Some positive developments in Zimbabwe's agriculture

Without trying to sweet talk Zimbabwe - after all, they have big economic problems to contemplate on - it is worth noting that there were some positive developments in their agricultural sector this year. Zimbabwe's sugar industry has remained resilient in the midst of all the significant declines in the production of most key agricultural commodities since the ill-conceived land reform policies in the early 2000s.  The country's 2019/20 sugar cane production could increase by 4% year on year to 3.7 million tonnes, according to data from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Wandile Sihlobo shares the facts in the linked blogpost.
How African swine fever is likely to hit global meat prices

While the discussion about African swine fever has largely focused on China, the likes of Vietnam are also reeling from its effects. The Vietnamese authorities are now asking farmers to diversify away from pork to other livestock - a difficult task, I imagine, for a nation that is among the world's top ten highest per capita pork consumers.  But there is progress in this diversification approach. Vietnamese farmers are now switching to raise ducks, ostrich and chickens instead. This is done in the hope of finding a substitute for pork, and still providing affordable meat to consumers. Wandile Sihlobo elaborates in the linked article, written for and first published on Fin 24.
Corteva Agriscience completes separation from DowDuPont 

In a press statement, Corteva, Inc. (NYSE: CTVA) announced that it has successfully completed its separation from DowDuPont, becoming a global pure-play agriculture company that offers the solutions farmers need to maximise yield and profitability. Corteva Agriscience was launched with global scale and a balanced offering across seed and crop protection, underpinned by expanding digital capabilities and powered by a rich innovation pipeline in the industry.  Press release
The latest news from Vinpro

The latest edition of Vinpro's Business News explains how the smaller than expected 2019 crop - on the back of a low carryover stock - led to a significant reduction in export volumes, shortage in certain cultivars, upward trend in producer prices and perhaps, most positive, also a new wave of optimism in placing orders for planting material. A document detailing bulkwine prices, 2018 vs YTD 2019, was also included. 
Winetech and SA Innovation Summit launch agritech startup competition

The SA Innovation Summit has partnered with wine industry body, Winetech in search for innovators and disrupters - providing unique solutions and products which can be commercialised, to wine producers and the agri-tech industries.  The competition will focus on the following areas: climate change; water reclamation and resourcing; genetics; machine learning, AI and big data; and any other areas which increase efficiency, profitability and environmental sustainability.  The finalists of the competition will go through to the Winetech Pitching Den which will take place at the 2019 SA Innovation Summit, to be held in Cape Town. Please click here for more information.
Netafim brings the next irrigation revolution to South Africa

Netafim South Africa officially launched NetBeat™, the first irrigation system with a brain, for implementation in South Africa and SADC countries. The launch took place at Landtscap Estate in Devon Valley, Stellenbosch on 5 June 2019. NetBeat allows you to leverage data, making it work for you to maximise your farm's true potential while minimising water usage and gaining greater piece of mind. The platform tracks the plant's developmental stage, based on crop physiology models, it then recalibrates itself according to actual and forecasted environmental data from multiple sources, such as weather, soil, crop sensors and remote imagery. Press release
Subtrop Transformation Summit 2019
19 June 2019 | Ingwenyama Conference & Sports Resort | White River

Trade Development Forum
24-25 June 2019 | Gallagher Convention Centre | Johannesburg

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

Agbiz Grain 2019 Symposium 
14 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

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

Agritec Africa
19-21 June 2019 | Kenyatta International Conference & Convention Center (KICC), Nairobi  | Kenya

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