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.
9 April 2020
Latest confirmed cases in SA at 1 845 as death toll rises
The rate of Covid-19 infections rose by 96 from 7 April to 1 845 on 8 April, according to the Health Department and the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD). 
It was also confirmed that the total number of Covid-19 tests conducted to date is 63 776, according to Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize.  In addition, five more deaths - the most reported on one day, to date - were reported, bringing the Covid-19 deaths in South Africa to 18. Please click Ministry of Health's media statement for the latest update.
Critical PPE secured for frontline healthcare workers
Together the Motsepe Foundation and associated companies, Business for South Africa and the Solidarity Fund have secured critical stock of 200 000 three-ply masks, 100 000 KN95 masks and sterile gloves and surgical masks for use by frontline doctors, nurses and healthcare workers. This stock is immediately available in South Africa, and will be prioritised for use in the public healthcare sector across the country. Please click Business for South Africa media statement to peruse.
Government's economic response to Covid-19
South Africa finds itself confronted not only by a virus that has infected more than a million people across the globe but also by the prospects of a very deep economic recession that will cause businesses to close and many people to lose their jobs. The South African government has put  measures in place to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on the country's economy. Please click here to peruse.
Minister Didiza announces interventions to assist agricultural sector during lockdown
Earlier this week, Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Thoko Didiza announced the department's interventions to mitigate the impact of the Covid-19.  The department has ring-fenced R1.2 billion for assistance to mainly target financially distressed small-scale farmers. Of the R1.2 billion, R400 million has been allocated for farmers within the Proactive Land Acquisition Strategy (PLAS) programme and the remainder will be channelled towards all other farmers that are mainly within the following commodity sectors:
  • Poultry: Day old chicks, point of lay chickens, feed, medication and sawdust;
  • Other livestock: Feed and medication.
  • Vegetables: Seedlings, fertilizer, pesticides, herbicides and soil correction.
Other commodity sectors will be evaluated on a case by case basis, as the department continuously monitors the impact of Covid-19 on the sector at large. Please click here to peruse.
Ryk van Niekerk of RSG Geldsake spoke to Agbiz CEO Dr John Purchase about government's interventions for small-scale farmers. Click here to listen to the interview.
Draft Land Donations Policy requires out-of-the-box thinking
One of the many recommendations made by the Presidential Advisory Panel on Agriculture and Land Reform was to incentivize owners to donate excess, unused land for land redistribution. Unfortunately, it seems as if only one of those elements was taken on board as the draft Land Donations Policy deals at length with the manner in which donated land would be allocated, but leaves out the part about incentives entirely. Agbiz head of Legal Intelligence Theo Boshoff discusses this subject in the linked article.
Will Covid-19 structurally change the agricultural labour market? 

Most European and North American countries are generally regarded as food secure and hold a prominent place in the Global Food Security Index. This means these regions should be able to weather the Covid-19 pandemic with minimal concerns about food security. However, the growing challenge in the agricultural sector in countries like Germany, Italy, France and the Netherlands, among others, is the shortage of farmworkers due to border closures which attempt to contain the spread of Covid-19.  This will have immediate and significant implications since it will limit the movement of many farmworkers from Eastern Europe. This challenge is not limited to Europe; parts of the US also fear the shortage of labour which is typically seasonal from Mexico. Agbiz chief economist Wandile Sihlobo elaborates on this subject in the linked article, written for and first published on Daily Maverick.
SA tractor sales to remain weak over the foreseeable future

South Africa's tractor sales have been under pressure since the start of the year. The latest data released by the South African Agricultural Machinery Association show that tractors sales were down by 28% y/y in March 2020, with 433 units sold. This is the lowest sales level for this particular month on record in a dataset starting from 2014. The subdued tractor sales are a continuation of the 2019 trend when farmers' finances were constrained because of poor harvest on the back of a drought. Read more in the linked article by Wandile Sihlobo.
Trade set to plunge as Covid-19 pandemic upends global economy

World trade is expected to fall by between 13% and 32% in 2020 as the Covid-19 pandemic disrupts normal economic activity and life around the world, according to a new analysis by the WTO. The wide range of possibilities for the predicted decline is explained by the unprecedented nature of this health crisis and the uncertainty around its precise economic impact. But WTO economists believe the decline will likely exceed the trade slump brought on by the global financial crisis of 2008-09. Estimates of the expected recovery in 2021 are equally uncertain, with outcomes depending largely on the duration of the outbreak and the effectiveness of the policy responses. Please click WTO press release to peruse.
Freshfel Europe concerned over increasing financial burden and long-term stability of European fresh fruit and vegetable supply

Freshfel Europe is concerned over the increasing financial burden being carried by the European fresh fruit and vegetable sector as a result of the coronavirus crisis. Increasing costs associated with the implementation of necessary measures across the supply chain to cope with the Covid-19 pandemic as well as current and future non-harvesting of products if seasonal workers are not available are set to
have considerable ramifications for the long-term stability of the sector. Freshfel Europe calls for new support measures to secure the supply of fresh produce to consumers over the coming summer months and into the latter half of 2020 and beyond. Please click here to read more.
Low-hanging fruit in SA's agriculture sector

South Africa's agricultural sector has much to offer. It's time for the government to focus on the practicalities to unlock that value, states Xhanti Payi in the linked article, written for and first published in Business Day. In the article Payi draws from Wandile Sihlobo's first book Finding Common Ground: Land, Equity and Agriculture, that provides insights on how we can foster employment by looking at agriculture not as one uniform conglomeration of crops and livestock but as subsectors that represent particular opportunities.
The effect of Covid-19 on the dairy industry

South Africans can rest assured that our milk farmers and milk processors are working ceaselessly even in
these very difficult circumstances to meet the country's need for dairy products. Securing the food supply is
seen as a critical service that is needed to support the health and safety of our citizens and for this reason
milk production and processing will continue even during the 21-day lockdown. Please click on MPO media statement to peruse.
Indian rice exports suspended as lockdown disrupts supply chain

Indian rice traders have stopped signing new export contracts amid the nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus, as labour shortages and logistics disruptions have hampered the delivery of even existing contracts, industry officials said.  The halt in exports from the world's biggest exporter is allowing rival countries such as Thailand to raise shipments in the short term and lift global prices, forcing millions of poor consumers in Africa to pay higher prices. Read more in the linked article, first published on India Today.
Rice and wheat price volatility surges due to pandemic

Countries rallying to ensure local food supply are restricting exports amid uncertainty over how long the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) global pandemic will last and continue to affect trade.  Rice and wheat were the latest crops to see export restrictions, with Vietnam, Russia and Kazakhstan limiting trade in the short term to ensure sufficient domestic food supply during the lockdown.  It was uncertain how long the trade restrictions would last. Read more in the linked article by Lindi Botha, written for and first published in Farmer's Weekly.
Identifying South African buyers interested in regional products

USAID's Southern Africa Trade & Investment Hub (the Hub) is soliciting expression of interest (EOI) from organisations to identify South African firms with an interest in importing products from targeted southern African countries in the region. The Hub engages with partners across the region to increase sustainable economic growth, global export competitiveness, and trade in targeted southern African countries.The Hub aims to contribute substantively to filling knowledge gaps in the trade eco-system through a range of interventions. Please click here for more information.
Croplife SA Covid-19 poster for farmers

Croplife South Africa has designed a poster for preventing the spread of Covid-19 for farmers (click here to download). Please circulate this to your clients as Covid-19 is not just a human health issue, but a food security issue as well.
Novel coronavirus implementations in the workplace

According the Regulations published under the Disaster Management Act, businesses responsible for providing an essential service shall be in operation during the lockdown. In the linked article, Emily Nathi, Law and Public Policy Intern at Agbiz, discusses recommendations for employers to prevent the spread of the virus within their workplace.

Crop quality reports now available

The following crop reports as well as quality data is available on the Southern African Grain Laboratory NPC (SAGL)website. Follow the links below in order to access the reports and/or quality data per region:
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. 
NSTF Plant Health discussion forum - IYPH 2020
6-7 May 2020 | Future Africa  | University of Pretoria | South St  | Koedoespoort

Transport Forum
Theme: "Answering the climate action challenge at scale"
2 April 2020  | 23 Melle Street (corner De Korte Street) Braamfontein  OR
WWF | 1st floor Bridge House | Boundary Terraces Mariendahl Lane (corner Campground Rd) Newlands
17-19  June 2020 | Cape Town International Convention Centre  | Cape Town

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

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

Soya Bean for Human Consumption Symposium
17 September 2020  | Pretoria

Second International Congress of Biological Control (ICBC2) 
26-30 April 2021 |  Davos, Switzerland

Agbiz Congress 2021
Theme: "Building resilient and sustainable agri-food ecosystems".
7-9 April 2021 | 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.
  • 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