8 November 2019
Positive FMD results in Molemole district of Limpopo

On 1 November 2019, veterinary services were alerted to clinical signs suspicious for foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) in a herd of cattle on a farm in the Molemole district of Limpopo. This farm is located in the previous FMD free zone of South Africa. Samples were collected and FMD was confirmed on 1 November 2019 by the Onderstepoort Veterinary Research Transboundary Animal Disease Programme.  Further identification of the strain is in process to determine the likely origin of the virus. The affected farm was placed under quarantine. Clinical examination of animals on the farm is being conducted to determine the prevalence of the disease on the affected farm. Measures were implemented to prevent direct or indirect contact between the different groups of animals on the farm. Backward and forward tracing is in process to determine the possible origin of the virus, as well as locations to which the disease might have spread. Please click press release for more information.
Minister Didiza welcomes the signing of the poultry master plan

Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Minister Thoko Didiza, has welcomed the signing of the Poultry Sector Master Plan during the 2nd inaugural South African Investment Conference in Johannesburg earlier this week. The minister believes that the plan will provide a framework for a determined effort to grow jobs in the industry through a number of measures that will be implemented over a number of years. The plan has been developed in a close partnership between government and a number of stakeholders in the industry; drawn from poultry producers, farmers, processors, exporters, importers and organised labour. Read more in the department's linked press release.
World Bank diagnostic report highlights what South Africa needs for an economic recovery

The World Bank recently released its diagnostic report on South Africa. The diagnostic report is the culmination of years of research and consultation with government, academia and private sector which summarises the key strengths and weaknesses of the South African economy. The document is primarily used to assess the countries' viability as an investment destination for the World Bank and affiliated agencies, but it also provides an invaluable perspective on the changes needed to improve the country's investment potential.The report cuts across multiple sectors, assessing the key constraints and enablers both from a legislative point of view and also assesses the country's relative strengths and weaknesses. The manner in which this is done is by rating critical components of the economy in terms of its global competitiveness. Agbiz head of Legal Intelligence Theo Boshoff discusses some key issues from the diagnostic report in the linked article.
Drier weather conditions cast a worrying shadow over SA's agriculture sector
Over the past few months, I have written a few essays arguing that we shouldn't worry much about the current heatwave in South Africa and that rainfall could soon provide some relief. I made this argument, leaning on the South African Weather Services (SAWS) views contained in its Seasonal Climate Watch published on 30 September 2019. At the time, the agency indicated that the central and eastern regions of South Africa were likely to receive above-normal rainfall between November 2019 and January 2020. This, of course, would have been timely given that this is a critical period for planting decisions for most summer crops, particularly maize, sunflower seed, soybeans, sorghum, peanuts and dry beans. Agbiz chief economist Wandile Sihlobo explores this subject further in the linked article, written for and first published in Business Day.
India and China should be a key target for SA agricultural exports
South Africa's trade policy is underpinned by an export-led growth strategy. This means the country essentially wants to grow its economy by deepening and expanding its export markets.  Such efforts can be seen through South Africa's participation in trade negotiations which seek to increase market access with traditional trading partners such as the European Union (EU) and penetrate new markets in Africa through the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).  The focus on these two key regions comes as no surprise since they represent a significant portion of South Africa's export revenue, specifically in the case of the agricultural sector. More than two-thirds of South Africa's agricultural exports are concentrated within the African continent and the European Union (EU). Wandile Sihlobo provides insights in the linked article.
Capespan completes restructuring process of its fruit business

Capespan has reached a watershed moment in its drive to integrate and streamline its business to create a single global platform centred on servicing its market customers and grower partners.  The company has recently completed an alignment and restructuring process of its fruit business, which was the culmination of a strategy embarked on two years ago to simplify and re-focus the Capespan business. "Internal complexity within Capespan has created a fragmented customer strategy," explained Tonie Fuchs, Capespan managing director. "Capespan's main objective is to connect our customers at the two opposite ends of the supply chain, namely our grower partners and our market customers, as directly, seamlessly and efficiently as possible." Please click on the linked article published on Fresh Plaza to peruse.
Weather - an uncertain summer outlook 

At the start of the 2019/20 summer rainfall season, large parts of South Africa are in the grip of extreme drought, but in particular areas over Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal, North West, Mpumalanga, Eastern Cape and Northern Cape. These drought conditions extend northwards into much of the southern African region. The rainfall forecast for early-summer (Nov-Dec-Jan) from the South African Weather Service seasonal prediction system indicates enhanced probabilities of below-normal rainfall over the far eastern parts of the country, while above-normal rainfall is predicted to be more likely for the western to central parts. Towards mid-summer (Dec-Jan-Feb), predictions indicate an increased likelihood of below-normal rainfall conditions. Likewise, higher than normal temperatures are expected this summer. Please click the South African Weather Service press release to peruse.
A regional mindset stunts South Africa's growth

From time to time, it's easy to put oneself in a "feel-good" moment, by comparing our self with lower-performing countries, mainly on the basis that we are in the same region. For example, the 120-page report released by the government ahead of its investment conference that kicked off on Monday 4 November boasted that South Africa is the continent's second most competitive economy behind Mauritius. It's true. But this isn't necessarily a milestone. Of the 141 countries ranked in the 2019 World Economic Forum's (WEF) Global Competitiveness Index, only seven African countries are represented in the first 110 spots. Of the 30 lowest performers, 26 are African. Gracelin Baskaran,  a development economist, explores this subject in the linked article, published on Daily Maverick.
Rabbit farmers left in dire straits after Coniglio liquidation

Government and farmers are rallying to save the rabbit farming industry after one of its biggest role players, Coniglio Rabbit Meat Farms, was liquidated in October.  Various provincial agricultural departments had reportedly invested heavily in Coniglio to provide small-scale farmers with rabbit farming infrastructure and breeding stock. The losses could amount to over R56 million, while Coniglio's assets had been valued at around R3,6 million. Read more about this in the  linked Farmer's Weekly article.
The money farmers: how oligarchs and populists milk the EU for millions 

The European Union spends $65 billion a year subsidising agriculture. But a chunk of that money emboldens strongmen, enriches politicians and finances corrupt dealing. Every year, the 28-country bloc pays out $65 billion in farm subsidies intended to support farmers around the Continent and keep rural communities alive. But across Hungary and much of Central and Eastern Europe, the bulk goes to a connected and powerful few. The prime minister of the Czech Republic collected tens of millions of dollars in subsidies just last year. Subsidies have underwritten Mafia-style land grabs in Slovakia and Bulgaria. Read more on this subject in the linked article, published in The New York Times.
Get the latest news from SAPPO

For the latest news from the South African Pork Producers' Organisation, please click SAPPO Weekly Update to peruse.
Agbiz Congress 2020 registration now open

It is our pleasure to inform you that the Agbiz Congress 2020 will be held at Sun City in North West from 15 to 17 July 2020.  Held every second year, the Agbiz Congress 2020 is one of the major events on the food, feed, fibre and wine sectors' agenda in South Africa. We anticipate attracting more than 400 delegates to the 2020 congress, which will feature presentations and discussion panels from local and international speakers, as well as a student case competition and various networking opportunities.

Themed "Building resilient and sustainable agri-food ecosystems", the congress will provide the key forum for identifying the critical developments needed over the coming decades to ensure agri-food value chains are managed sustainably for the benefit of current and future generations. New practices, methods and technologies are required to build robust and inclusive value chains, and thus sustainable agri-food networks and food security.

Don't miss out on this exciting opportunity to engage in these critical discussions, and showcase and promote your business on the agribusiness stage. We are looking forward to seeing you at the Agbiz Congress 2020 from 15 to 17 July 2020 at Sun City!

Please click here for more information and to register.
Landbouweekblad and PALS' land symposium
14-15 November 2019 | Kaleo Guest Farm | Koue Bokkeveld
Enquiries: jacolette.kloppers@landbou.com

6th Annual ReNAPRI Stakeholder Conference
20-21 November 2019  | Protea Hotel by Marriot Kampala Skyz | Kampala, Uganda

4.0 Industrial Revolution Agri Tech Conference 2019
28-29 November 2019  | The Lanzerac | Stellenbosch
More information

Nedbank Vinpro Information Day
Theme: "Touch and change"
23 January 2020 | KIKS | Cape Town

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

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
Why join Agbiz?
  • Agbiz is the only organisation that serves the broader and common over-arching business interests of agribusinesses in South Africa.
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  • 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.
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