This has not been a good year for the global wool industry. The world’s top two wool-producing countries – Australia and South Africa — are experiencing different, yet growth-constraining, challenges. In South Africa, the challenge is trade-related. Earlier this year, China, which accounts for roughly 71% of South Africa’s wool exports, temporarily stopped buying the country’s wool. This was because of a foot-and-mouth disease outbreak in Limpopo. The impact of this ban was immediately felt across the industry and sheep-farming communities of South Africa. The local authorities responded to the cries and started engaging with their Chinese counterparts in efforts to ensure that wool trade resumes between the two countries. But there hasn’t been a complete success thus far. - Wandile Sihlobo, Agbiz chief economist
Preliminary data from South Africa’s Crop Estimates Committee (CEC) suggest that the country could harvest 1.92 million tonnes of wheat in the 2019/20 production season. If this materialises, it would be the biggest harvest in a decade. The catalyst for the optimistic outlook is both the increase in area planted and also prospects for good weather conditions, which in turn would potentially boost the yields. - Wandile Sihlobo, Agbiz chief economist
On Sunday, the Presidency released the final report of the Advisory Panel on Land Reform and Agriculture. The release of this report was highly anticipated and therefore attracted a flurry of media coverage. At this juncture it is worth taking stock of the process and considering the effect which the recommendations may have on land reform policy. Theo Boshoff, Agbiz head of Legal Intelligence
The latest Quarterly Labour Force Survey data (Q2: 2019) show that South Africa’s primary agricultural employment fell by 0.2% from the corresponding period last year to 842 000. The subsectors that faced a notable reduction were mainly field crops, the game industry and forestry. In the case of field crops, the reduction in employment was unsurprising following a reduction in activity in the fields on the back of a poor harvest in the 2018/19 season, all of which is underpinned by unfavourable weather conditions earlier in the season. From a regional perspective, a notable decline in employment was recorded in the Northern Cape, Free State and Limpopo, whilst other provinces saw a marginal uptick. - Wandile Sihlobo, Agbiz chief economist.
“The Agricultural Business Chamber (Agbiz) has noted the release of the report by the Presidential Land Reform and Agriculture Advisory Panel for public comment today. Agbiz will study the report and its recommendations in detail and respond according to its mandated policy positions on land reform and agriculture,” Dr John Purchase, CEO of Agbiz, said today. - Agbiz media statement
Business Unity South Africa (BUSA), of which Agbiz is a member, recently launched an innovative, web-based resource on labour matters in conjunction with the CCMA. The web tool is designed to assist small businesses who do not have the resources required to hire in-house legal council or HR managers with key aspects relating to labour law.
The draft National Ports Amendment Bill, published for comment last week Friday, seeks to give effect to the 'user-pays' principle by allowing the National Ports Authority to raise revenue through levies. The pros and cons of this approach should be carefully considered when public submission on the Bill are made. It is no secret that key agricultural commodities such as citrus, deciduous fruit, wool and others are banking on demand from overseas markets to maintain growth. South Africa's climatic conditions and sophisticated production methods position us well to produce these popular commodities, but any export-led growth strategy relies on an efficient port system to facilitate trade. Sadly, disruptions and an aging infrastructure have hampered this strategy of late. - Theo Boshoff, head of Agbiz Legal Intelligence
Cannabis has now been decriminalised in over 50 countries in the world, with others joining the bandwagon. Canada has been one of the leading countries in developing the sector, with stocks such as Canopy Growth, Aurora Cannabis, and Aphria attracting attention. Many Canadian entrepreneurs and investors have been streaming into Lesotho and some are waiting for the floodgates of this new wealth to open across the continent. Green Fund estimates that the global cannabis market is worth $150bn and the forecast by Barclays places the value of the sector at $272bn by 2028. Please click here to listen to a 702 radio interview with Wandile Sihlobo on this topic. - Agbiz chief economist Wandile Sihlobo and Prof. Mzukisi Qobo, associate professor at Wits Business School *Written for and first published in Business Day.
The Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Reform, Thoko Didiza, together with the deputy ministers, Mcebisi Skwatsha and Sdumo Dlamini, tabled the department's programmes implementation plans for the 2019/20 financial year during the budget vote speech on 16 July 2019.