There is a tendency to treat social transformation and economic growth as two distinct matters, but Stephanie van der Walt believes that the two are inseparable, both are non-negotiable, and that the South African fruit industry is proof of that. As the first general manager of the newly created Fruit Desk, her mandate is to share her holistic understanding of trade, economics, development and agriculture in radial ways, through representing the fruit industry in debates on policy at government level, through communicating the complexities of international trade and treaties with the farming sector. - Article written for and first published on Fresh Plaza.
Mail & Guardian hosted an event last week with various speakers, including Dr Vuyo Mahlati, chairperson of Advisory Panel on Land Reform and Bulelwa Mabasa, also a member of the advisory panel, who discussed the progress on land reform and what to expect in the next few weeks. Agbiz head of Legal Intelligence Theo Boshoff also presented. The event was moderated by Michael Avery, anchor of Classic Business on Classic FM. The event was attended by various stakeholders in the agricucltural industry.
On 25 March, Agbiz and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, jointly hosted a workshop on water use efficiency in agri-processing. Agbiz members and other companies involved in the agricultural, manufacturing, paper and pulp value chains gained insight into the matter through presentations and panel discussions that included representatives from the IFC, private companies, industry associations, academia, government and community cooperatives. - Theo Boshoff, Agbiz head of Legal Intelligence
The situation in Mozambique is devastating. Tropical Cyclone Idai, which hit the coastline of Mozambique on March 14, has caused a heavy loss of lives and affected more than 600,000 people, according to some estimates. The number will most likely rise after on-ground assessments. Amid continuing efforts to find survivors, one of the key concerns in the next days will be food insecurity due to damage to crop fields and port infrastructure. - Wandile Sihlobo, Agbiz chief economist *Written for and first published in Business Day
South Africa’s Crop Estimates Committee (CEC) lifted its estimates for the country’s 2018/19 grains and oilseeds production by 0.4% from last month to 12.7 million tonnes. There were no adjustments in most commodities’ production estimates with the exception of sorghum which was lowered by 3% from last month, while the maize estimate was lifted marginally, and thus overshowed the decline in sorghum, resulting into an overall increase in the grains and oilseeds estimate (see Figure 1). With that said, the overall grains and oilseeds production estimate is still 16% lower than the 2017/18 harvest due to a reduction in area planted, and expectations of relatively lower yields in some areas. - Wandile Sihlobo, Agbiz chief economist
The Saudis were in town this last week, and seemingly had an interesting engagement with South Africa’s Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries. The main purpose of the visit was to discuss a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on technical cooperation in the field of agriculture, fisheries and aquaculture, and also to identify potential areas for investment (side note: The Ministry should be thankful we are not the United States, President Trump is apparently not a fan of MoU’s, see here). - Wandile Sihlobo, Agbiz head of Agribusiness Research
Behind some of the policy proposals and discussions on land redistribution in South Africa is a persistent notion that the country should establish 'small-scale farms' so that there could be more participants, and increase in productivity. This view was further shared by some participants at a conference organised by the Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (Plaas) at the University of the Western Cape on 4 and 5 February 2019. - Wandile Sihlobo, Agbiz head of Agribusiness Research, and Prof Johann Kirsten, director of the Bureau for Economic Research at Stellenbosch University, written for and first published on News 24.
Land reform is necessary in South Africa, but that is about the only issue regarding land reform on which there is consensus. When we start unpacking why land reform is necessary, some people say it is because the majority of South Africans were disenfranchised and disempowered through years of colonial conquest, segregation and apartheid, while others will argue that it is to contribute to economic growth or to alleviate poverty and achieve greater income equality. Some even think it is to put agriculture on a more sustainable growth path. - Wandile Sihlobo and Prof Johann Kirsten
On February 6, Business Day published a piece by Wandile Sihlobo in which he detailed the growing trend in the communal areas of the Eastern Cape where agricultural land is increasingly being used for settlement purposes. This article struck a chord as it could easily have been written about any province in SA, such is the magnitude of the trend. SA may be a rather large country but only 13% of our land surface is suitable for crop production, with only 2% to 3% truly being regarded as high potential. - Theo Boshoff, Agbiz head of Legal Intelligence *Written for and first published in Business Day
Last month I painted a bleak picture of South Africa’s grain and oilseed crop conditions due to then dryness in the central and western parts of South Africa. Therefore, it is only fair that I present an update following the good rainfall over the first two weeks of February. Crop conditions have generally improved across the country, and are likely to be in good shape for some time as the precipitation forecasts for the next couple of weeks are positive, according to the South African Weather Service. The local weather bureau sees a possibility of abovenormal rainfall over the next two months in summer rainfall areas, which should support the late-planted areas. While this is a welcome development, it is worth noting that this is not a normal rainfall pattern for South Africa. The crop would typically be maturing around April, but this time things are different due to late plantings, on the back of delayed rainfall. - Wandile Sihlobo, Agbiz head of Agribusiness Research *Written for and first published in Business Day