The Constitutional Review Committee yesterday revealed their decision to recommend an amendment to section 25 of the Constitution to ‘clarify’ that expropriation without compensation can take place under section 25 of the Constitution. The details of this proposal are still unclear and one will only be able to fully assess the impacts of such an amendment once the conditions are made public, however, it is worth dissecting what a ‘clarification’ amendment could entail. - Theo Boshoff, Agbiz head of Legal Intelligence
“Agbiz has noted with disappointment and concern the recommendation by the Constitutional Review Committee (CRC) to amend the Constitution of South Africa to explicitly make provision for land expropriation without compensation. Agbiz has consistently maintained that it is not necessary to amend the Constitution to effect land reform in South Africa, and this proposed amendment to the Constitution will impact negatively on much-needed investment and harm the economy”, Dr John Purchase, CEO of Agbiz, said today. - Agbiz media statement, issued 16 November 2018
New Namibian GMO Food Labeling Regulations will affect all future grain exports to Namibia. This was according to the CEO of the National Commission on Research, Science and Technology (NCRST) and GM of Innovation, Technology and Development in Namibia who recently addressed grain value chain role players on the impact of the new legislation and the GMO list that was compiled for maize, soybean, canola, wheat, cotton and rice. The Biosafety Act 2006 of Namibia provides measures to regulate the activities that involve research, development, production, marketing, transportation, applications and other uses of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), as well as specific products derived from these GMOs as they are harnessed safely.
The collapse of Zimbabwe’s agricultural sector from the early 2000s is well documented, and largely attributed to ill-conceived land reform policies. But as the spirit of political change sweeps across the country, albeit with lingering economic underperformance, it is worth looking at what agricultural products Zimbabwe imports in large quantities and whether import substitution would be a possibility in the near to medium term. - By Wandile Sihlobo, Agbiz head of Agribusiness Research *Written for and first published on Business Day
On Thursday, 1 November Agbiz hosted a half-day information session focusing on the current challenges in the policy and legislative environment, as well as developments and opportunities in the agribusiness sector. Close to 100 role players and stakeholders, representing agribusinesses, financiers, producers and agri-associations attended the event at Leriba Hotel in Centurion.
Admittedly, it is too early to tell how most Southern African countries will cope with the expected weak El Niño in the summer season. Typically, an El Niño weather phenomenon would lead to drier weather conditions in most countries on the continent, almost similar to what we witnessed in the 2015-16 drought years. However, when it is weak, as expected, the impact could be minimal. - Wandile Sihlobo, Agbiz head of Agribusiness Research *Written for and first published in Business Day
The draft National Policy on Comprehensive Producer Support published by DAFF on the 3rd of August 2018 has now been referred to Nedlac where organised business, labour and government can engage on its contents. Agbiz forms a central part of the business delegation. The policy seeks to coordinate the producer support initiatives undertaken by government with that of the private sector to ensure that the greatest impact is achieved. As a general point of departure, business welcomed the initiative by government and placed special emphasis on the cooperative nature in which DAFF seeks to drive producer support going forward. - Theo Boshoff, Agbiz head of Legal Intelligence
After experiencing a double-digit decline in August 2018 due to delayed harvest, amongst other factors, South African tractor sales recovered by 11% y/y in September 2018, with 612 units sold (Figure 1). This somewhat signals farmers’ readiness for the 2018/19 summer crop production season which commenced this month, although planting activity hasn’t progressed much thus far. Broadly speaking, this is an encouraging reading as we continue to monitor the investment path in the South African agricultural sector following a slowdown in the Agribusiness Confidence Index in the third quarter due to continued uncertainty underpinned by the current land policy reform proposal, amongst other issues. - Wandile Sihlobo, Agbiz head of Agribusiness Research
Today the Crop Estimate Committee released its final production estimates for the 2017/18 summer crop and second production estimated for 2018/19 winter crop. In terms of summer crops, the major oilseeds such as soybeans and sunflower seed were left unchanged from the previous month, whilst the commercial maize production estimate was revised down by 2% from the previous estimate to 12.9 million tonnes, which is somewhat in line with our expectations. From a winter crop perspective, the wheat production estimate was revised up by 2% from last month to 1.8 million tonnes – all thanks to good rainfall in parts of the Western Cape and an expansion in area planted in the Free State. - Wandile Sihlobo, Agbiz head of Agribusiness Research
These are challenging times for SA farmers, whether viewed from the perspective of rising input costs or the weather outlook. In a few weeks the 2018-2019 summer crop production season will start on a negative note, partly due to rising costs of agricultural inputs such as fertiliser and fuel. - Wandile Sihlobo, Agbiz head of Agribusiness Resarch * Written for and first published on Business Day