Media Releases

ABC hosts high level US delegation

The Agricultural Business Chamber (ABC) was pleased to host a high-level delegation from

the United States (US) on 7 June 2011. The US delegation was led by Mr Jose Fernandez,

Assistant Secretary of State, Economic, Energy, and Business Affairs; US Department of State;

and consisted of Mr Jack Bobo, Foreign Affairs Officer; Mr Ross Kreamer, Minister-Counselor

of US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Services (FAS), and a number of

other US Officials from the US Embassy in Pretoria. The ABC was represented by Mr Schalk

Pienaar, Chairman of the ABC and MD of Suidwes Landbou, Ms Elaine Alexander, CEO of

South African Table Grape Industry (SATGI), Mr Ronald Ramabulana, CEO of the National

Agricultural Marketing Council (NAMC), Mr William Malan, Deputy Head of Absa

Agribusiness (all ABC Board members), and Prof Vaughan Hattingh of Citrus Research

International, together with ABC officials.

07.06.2011 / Media Releases

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ABC Centenary Bursary funding student for further studies in the field of agribusiness

The Agricultural Business Chamber (ABC) has strengthened its existing links with South African

Universities through the introduction of the Centenary Bursary for a student registered for a

Masters or PhD degree in either agricultural economics or agribusiness management at any

recognised SA university.

The Centenary Bursary has been launched in honour of those ABC members who recently

celebrated their Centenary, i.e. NWK, Suidwes Landbou, Senwes and NTK. The bursary is

intended to inspire students to contribute towards a positive agribusiness sector in South Africa,

through the knowledge gained by their studies.

27.05.2011 / Media Releases

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ABC’s expectations, based on the Monetary Policy Review, May 2011

The ABC attended the Monetary Policy Forum on Tuesday, 24 May 2011, at the Reserve Bank. Governor

Gill Marcus and the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) members presented the Monetary Policy Review

for May 2011, released on the day.

A lot of speculation regarding the possible increase in interest rates has lately been going on amongst

decision makers and in the media. The MPC presented their views (as per the Review document),

identified some important aspects they base their decisions on and provided just enough to say much, but

reveal nothing – leaving one to “read between the lines” towards expected changes in monetary policy.

The MPC perceive the global economic recovery to be on track, taking in consideration the number of

vulnerabilities continuing to characterise the global economy. Global inflation risks have also increased,

particularly in emerging market economies. Many emerging market economies have recently tightened

their monetary policies (with other words increased their interest rates) in response. The domestic

growth prognosis has also improved, even though growth remains below potential.

27.05.2011 / Media Releases

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From the “highs” in 2008, to the “lows” in 2009 and again the “highs” in 2011

Agribusinesses in South Africa have had positive business confidence for a year now; peaking since the beginning

of 2011. According to the results from the ABC/IDC Agribusiness Confidence Index, agribusinesses’ confidence

increased to 62.7 index points in the second quarter of 2011. It is a mere 1% higher than the first quarter of 2011

and 12% higher than the same quarter of the previous year.

Last year this time (second quarter of 2010), the ABC/IDC Agribusiness Confidence Index reached 55,7 index

points - it was the first time to be in positive territory (being above the neutral level of 50 basis points) since the

third quarter of 2008.

27.05.2011 / Media Releases

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Positive confidence levels maintained for almost a year now

The ABC / IDC Agribusiness Confidence Index reached its highest level in more than three years. The index

measured at 62 basis points in the first quarter of 2011; which is 13% higher than the preceding quarter and

43% higher than the same quarter of the previous year.

The positive confidence is largely due to higher commodity prices, increased international demand, the

recovery of the South African economy from the recession, and a significant improvement of general

agricultural conditions, when compared to last year. Government’s indication to work with the commercial

agriculture sector on the New Growth Path may be a further contributing factor to positive sentiment.

However, some looming constraints, such as cost of capital, infrastructure and service delivery, still inhibit

employment and capital expenditure, while both floods and droughts in certain areas have impacted

negatively on certain industries.

14.03.2011 / Media Releases

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Agricultural Business Chamber’s Response to Minister Gordhan’s Budget Speech

The Agricultural Business Chamber (ABC) found the Minister of Finance,

Min Pravin Gordhan’s Budget Speech on 23 February 2011 to be predictable and positive. It is

responsive and reflective towards the challenges faced in South Africa and in consideration of the

global economic changes. This predictability and stability is essential for business and is therefore

welcomed by the ABC.

The Minister’s focus on addressing the slow economic recovery and high unemployment is

encouraging. The mentioned collaborative approach between the Monetary and Fiscal Policy is also

welcomed considering the stimulus effect required from the fiscal policy and the management of price

and financial stability by the monetary policy. Notably, the Minister took cognisance of the risky

inflation outlook, especially considering the increase food inflation.

23.02.2011 / Media Releases

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ABC comments on medium term budgetary policy statement

The Agricultural Business Chamber (ABC) is filled with a sense of sanctuary after the Medium Term

Budgetary Policy Statement by the Minister of Finance, Minister Pravin Gordhan, on 27 October

2010. The stated assessment and expectations by the Minister of Finance on both the global and

domestic economic outlook was generally accepted to be fair and realistic. The ABC agrees that SA’s

economy finds itself in a fragile and slow recovery stage and states that the 3% growth projection

throughout the remaining part of the year might be slightly over-optimistic.

28.10.2010 / Media Releases

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Positive Agribusiness Confidence does not yet excite

Agribusiness confidence is measured quarterly by the Agricultural Business Chamber (ABC) and

the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) through their quarterly ABC/IDC Agribusiness

Confidence Index. The confidence level in the third quarter of 2010 is 53% higher than the same

quarter of the previous year, which happened to be the all-time lowest level observed. This

significant increase was expected, considering the low basis it was measured from. The

confidence, however, decreased with 5% since the previous quarter, being the second quarter of

2010. This is of concern and definitely inhibits the excitement of the significant year-on-year

increase. A further decrease is not necessarily expected, however, this small quarter-to-quarter

decrease might indicate that confidence might remain in the low, positive range.

02.09.2010 / Media Releases

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Food Security: How does SA measure up to CAAPD's 4 pillars?

The roles of the agribusiness sector and African governments in food security were discussed at a meeting recently held by the Agricultural Business Chamber (ABC) and NEPAD Business Foundation (NBF) in Pretoria.

Through its programme for the revitalisation of the agricultural sector in Africa, the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP), NEPAD has set a target of raising agricultural productivity by at least 6% per year and increasing public investment in agriculture to 10% of national budgets per year, as agreed in the Maputo Declaration.  The CAADP’s focus areas for improving Africa’s agriculture fall under 4 pillars, each dealing with key issues, namely land and water management, market access, food supply and hunger, and agricultural research.

13.05.2010 / Media Releases

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