South Africa’s primary agricultural employment improved marginally to 849 000 jobs in the last quarter of 2018 compared to the previous quarter. Although this data is encouraging in a climate where South Africa is exploring strategies that could unlock job creation in the agricultural sector, the country is still far behind its target of creating a million agricultural jobs by 2030 as envisaged in the National Development Plan. What's more, if the underutilised land in the former homelands and other parts of the country are not brought into full production with a key focus on labour-intensive sub-sectors, notable job creation in South Africa’s agriculture will not materialise. Fortunately, the President in his State of the Nation Address (SONA) signalled a positive message on this. - Wandile Sihlobo, Agbiz head of Agribusiness Research
On the 14th of January 2019, as the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, I convened a meeting with the Red Meat Association to engage on better responses on the outbreak of the Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) in Limpopo, Vhembe District. In this meeting we agreed on a collaborative approach between government and Industry in eliminating the spillage. I must commend the contributions so far from the industry in particular at technical committees’ level. The update we are giving today is a cumulative work of the collective past two weeks.
Stephanie van der Walt has been appointed as general manager of the Fruit Desk at Agbiz as of January 2019. The Fruit Desk is an initiative of Fruit South Africa, and specifically the Citrus Growers Association, Hortgro, SATI and the Fresh Produce Exporters Forum, in collaboration with Agbiz. The Fruit Desk is the third industry desk to be instituted at Agbiz. The purpose of the desk is to ensure that the South African fruit sector is represented in matters of policy, regulation and market access.
Water is the most critical resource for economic development and food security and more so in a water stressed South Africa. The Water Resource Commission (WRC) funds a project titled “Agricultural Water Management Scenarios for South Africa” and seeks to capture inputs and contributions from all agricultural water stake holders in South Africa. Mariana Purnell of Agbiz Grain recently participated in a meeting with the research team (from the University of the Free State) which is consulting all stakeholders through a series of small stakeholder workshops and two national symposia to develop scenarios for future agricultural water management in South Africa. The presentations were thought provoking. The WRC also anticipates that that these scenarios will influence future policy.
The decline in South Africa’s tractors and combine harvester sales to 428 and 9 units, respectively, in November 2018 comes as no surprise as most farmers bought some equipment in the past couple of months. This is evident from South Africa’s tractor sales for the first 11 months of this year, which amounted to 6 246 units, up by 4% higher than the corresponding period last year. Over the same period, the combine harvester sales amounted to 194 units, up by a percentage point from the first 11 months of 2017. - Wandile Sihlobo, Agbiz head of Agribusiness Research
“The damage done to the economy and the social fabric of society by the Zuma administration through so-called state capture over the past decade is enormous. It will take a mammoth effort by all South Africans respecting the Constitution and the rule of law to turn South Africa around on the road to growth and prosperity for all its people. By instituting the Zondo Commission of Enquiry into State Capture and the Nugent Commission of Enquiry into the South African Revenue Service (SARS), as well as appointing Advocate Shamila Batohi as National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP), President Ramaphosa has so far made good on his promise to fight corruption and clean up government and governance,” Dr John Purchase, CEO of Agbiz said today. - Agbiz media statement issued on 5 December 2018
“As stated in its comprehensive submission to the Constitutional Review Committee (CRC) in June 2018, the Agricultural Business Chamber (Agbiz) confirms its strong position on the protection and extension of property rights. Property rights underline the values and principles related to individual liberty and economic freedom. A strong property rights system is the enabler for fostering investment and economic growth, human capabilities, research and innovation, environmental performance, and the creation of social capital. Property rights are the key ingredient for the prosperity of society,” Dr John Purchase, CEO of Agbiz said today. - Agbiz media statement issued on 3 December 2018
President Ramaphosa has signed the Labour Law Amendments Acts, What does it mean for agriculture in general and the employer specifically Following are some frequently asked questions to look into the detail. - Elize van der Westhuizen, director of Comply Plus
On 15 November 2018 the Constitutional Review Committee made the recommendation that section 25 of the Constitution should be amended to ‘clarify’ that section 25 of the Constitution does make provision for expropriation without compensation. At this time the conditions under which this may happen are still unknown as Parliament is yet to draft and consult on the exact wording of the proposed amendment.
On Tuesday 20 November, the Minister of Finance formally introduced the Carbon Tax Bill into the National Assembly. The Speaker will outline the process that is to be followed from here. A number of changes has been made to the Bill, reportedly as a result of comments received during the public participation process. One of the principle points raised by the business community during the public participation process was the non-alignment between carbon budgets and the carbon tax. - Theo Boshoff, Agbiz head of Legal Intelligence