The 2018-2021 Agbiz Biennial Report was presented to our members amidst a sustained decline in South Africa’s economic growth and a severe long-term drought over practically the whole of South Africa. Gross maladministration by and state capture within the Zuma administration, and the consequent corruption, had taken an enormous toll on South Africans, as evidenced by the drop in the per capita GDP of more than 25%, namely from US$8066 to US$5261 from 2011 to 2016 (World Economic Forum, 2018).
The South African economy was particularly badly affected by low international commodity prices. At the time, Agbiz also expressed its grave concern for the massive drain on the fiscus due to badly managed state-owned enterprises, increased corruption and looting of public assets, and the then major drought in especially the summer rainfall areas. This drought was broken during the 2016/2017 summer crop season and a spectacular maize crop was harvested during 2017. Sadly, the drought in the Western and Eastern Cape has become worse and at the time of producing this report, the Western Cape and localised areas in adjacent provinces are hovering on the brink of a catastrophe due to its effects.
How quickly the landscape has changed from fairly optimistic and in some cases even a bullish outlook to a resurgence of economic growth following the 2008/09 international economic meltdown, to economic stagnation and a damaging slow-down in growth, massive unemployment and a concomitant increasing burden on the state in terms of welfare costs. in fact, South africa is teetering on the brink of a recession. there is a plethora of other symptoms to underline the dire situation in which the country fi nds itself. in addition, foreign direct investment in ventures of a capital nature that could alleviate the rising unemployment, has virtually dried up. Much of what we experience at present is also a knock-on effect of a lacklustre international economy.
After 20 years of democracy, South Africa has witnessed huge change and transformation, and mostly for the better. Various independent and scientific reports have indicated increased household income, better household living conditions and improved household food security.
In addition, the March 2014 Stats SA Report on "Poverty trends in South Africa: An examination of Absolute Poverty trends between 2006 and 2011", indicated that despite the 2008/09 economic downturn, South Africa succeeded in reducing poverty over this period.
Global and local business has witnessed unheralded transformation and change since the latter part of the 1900's. Not only has the geopolitical environment shown major shifts on a worldwide scale, but business has had to contend with economic power shifts, the rise of new markets on an unheralded scale as well as domestic developments brought about by new policies and strategies to maintain pace with increasing demands for food, energy, education, expectations for improved quality of life and technology to support the "new world"Agribusiness finds itself in the midst of all this – both internationally and nationally.
Agribusiness has to position itself to keep abreast of this new and exciting world order. It has to in order to remain relevant and to ensure its competitiveness and sustainability.