We are pleased to announce another international keynote speaker, Dr Neal Gutterson, Chief Technical Officer at Corteva Agriscience™, Agriculture Division of DowDuPont™. Dr Gutterson will bring us valuable insight on research and development, as well as product development in relation to our congress theme of ‘Uncertainty Creates Opportunity’.
Estimates by Fischer and Shah (2010) suggest that the world has 446 million hectares of potentially available uncultivated land. Of this, sub-Saharan Africa accounts for 202 million hectares or 45 percent - Dr Tinashe Kapuya and Mr Wandile Sihlobo
Wandile Sihlobo, Agbiz economist, commended SA’s food security status in his personal blog in February. This was after the Economist Intelligence Unit placed South Africa at 44th place out of 133 countries worldwide in the 2017 Global Food Security Index. This essentially makes South Africa the most food secure country in the continent. "Some conflated the blog post with land reform issues, arguing that the proposed expropriation without compensation policy would tamper with the progress made thus far. But, my intention was to shed light on the meaning of food security," he wrote.
Leading scholars and academics, members of civil society, politicians and representatives from the agricultural, agribusiness and banking industries met at the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) this week for the first National Dialogue on Land. Academics from the Nelson Mandela University and GIBS took the initiative to arrange an open dialog to ensure that academics and intellectuals do not get side-lined in the process of debating the review of section 25 of the Constitution. Dr John Purchase served as a panellist and made a presentation highlighting the role of agribusiness in the economy, the link with property rights and the manner in which the sector can contribute to land reform within the context of inclusive growth - Theo Boshoff, Agbiz Head: Legal Intelligence
The National Crop Estimates Committee reaffirmed its view that South Africa is in for a good grain and oilseed harvest this season (albeit being less than the record achieved in 2016/17 season). The Committee revised its production estimates upwards by 2% from last month to 14.8 million tonnes. The notable uptick was on white maize, sunflower seed, sorghum and soybeans production - Wandile Sihlobo, Agbiz Economist
The recent mergers of several large global agrochemical and seed companies, their diversification and highly progressive technological approach bring new, innovative technology to agriculture. To keep up with this, the role of the handlers/storage facilities of grain and oilseeds will gradually be expanded - Mariana Purnell, Agbiz Grain
Trade wars can be costly and devastating on the economies of those countries involved as they often limit the exchange of products and service, subsequently reducing countries’ ability to exports and generate incomes. From the South Africa’s agricultural perspective, international trade expands business opportunities, increases access to alternate inputs and improves productivity in the sector - Sifiso Ntombela, Agbiz Head: International Trade and Investment
South Africa’s agricultural sector is continuously influenced by global and local demand and supply conditions, weather patterns and exchange rate fluctuations. This season, weather conditions are once again playing a bigger role with the drought in the Western Cape and the delayed onset of rainfall in Free State and North-West provinces which affected production negatively - Wandile Sihlobo, Agbiz economist
As has been widely reported in the media, a cross-cutting National Minimum Wage (NMW) is set to be implemented on the 1st of May 2018. For the first time in South Africa, a minimum wage will be applicable to all sectors and will therefore replace the previous system of sectoral determinations. Initially the minimum wage will be set at R20 per hour with a special dispensation of R18 for agriculture. Despite the concession for agricultural sector, there are legitimate concerns that not all employers will be able to afford the minimum wage - Theo Boshoff, Agbiz Head: Legal intelligence
The recently signed African Continental Free Trade Agreement (CFTA) is one of the world's largest free trade blocs and there are a number of reasons to be excited about this development - DrTinashe Kapuya and Wandile Sihlobo