Following a solid positive growth over the past five months, South African tractor sales fell by 18% y/y last month, with 487 units sold. This decline, which far exceeds our expectations of a 5% y/y drop, was partially underpinned by delayed summer grain harvesting activity which partially strained farmers’ cash flows. The harvest process, however, did not inspire a notable uptick in combine harvester sales either as the data shows a 25% y/y decline, with nine units sold. This could be explained by the fact that the 2017/18 crop is well below the record levels seen in the previous production season.
The South African tractor sales continued to rise in July, albeit at a slower pace than the previous month, up by 5% y/y with 525 units sold. While lower than our expectations of 578 units, this is the highest tractor sales figure for the corresponding month since 2015. In the same period, the harvester sales declined by 8% y/y, with 12 units sold. This data is unsurprising as this is a relatively quiet period in the agricultural sector as the summer crop harvest process approaches completion, while the new season planting process will only commence in two months’ time.
“Agbiz today had the opportunity to make an oral submission to the Constitutional Review Committee (CRC) on its position in terms of the review of section 25 of the Constitution,” Dr John Purchase, CEO of Agbiz said. The Agbiz delegation was led by the chairman, Francois Strydom, and further comprised the CEO of Agbiz, Dr John Purchase, Wandile Sihlobo and Theo Boshoff, who presented the submission to the CRC. The following is the position of Agbiz as summarised in the presentation. - Agbiz press release, issued 4 September 2018
As part of a broader and comprehensive initiative, the agro-food value chain, as a major role player in the economy of South Africa, as well as a major employer, met firstly with Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma on 15 August, and then with President Ramaphosa and Minister Dlamini-Zuma in the afternoon of 21 August. The purpose of the meeting was to introduce a sector-based approach to inclusive growth and employment specifically for the agro-food value chain. *Joint media statement by Agri SA and Agbiz
The Produce Marketing Association (PMA) hosted its 8th annual Fresh Connections: Southern Africa Conference and Trade Show from 15 to 16 August 2018 at the CSIR International Convention Centre in Pretoria. It included an expanded trade show, top conference speakers, industry sessions and the opportunity to network with over 600 decision makers from 14 countries in the local and global fresh produce supply chain.
The Bureau for Food and Agricultural Policy (BFAP) launched its Baseline 2018 and Agricultural Outlook 2018-2027 on 15 August. The outlook covers agricultural production, consumption, prices and trade in South Africa for the period 2018 to 2027. It was also a celebration of the 15th year that BFAP has guided the policy arena, generating intelligence for the agro-food industry, partnering with private and public sector stakeholders, and to inform on relevant issues. BFAP used this opportunity to launch a brand-new corporate identity that personifies its objective of producing rigorous multi-disciplinary analyses to support strategic and operational decision-making.
Seeing that fellow South Africans are talking about farm sizes today, I thought it would be useful to brush up a short essay I wrote a few months back in this subject. In May 2018, I participated in a panel discussion hosted by Nation in Conversation at NAMPO in Bothaville. The discussion focused on the importance of the economies of scale and question we had to answer was down to this: does farm size matter in South Africa? - Wandile Sihlobo, Agbiz head of Agribusiness Research *Written for and first published on Business Day
Throughout our series of bi-weekly articles in Business Day over the last 10 weeks we have endeavoured to constructively contribute to the land reform debate. While we flagged some unintended consequences of the proposed expropriation without compensation policy, we always argued for an efficient land reform process, with minimal State involvement to quickly restore land rights to the majority of South Africans. - 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 Business Day, 13 August 2018
At this time of the year in the agricultural markets, the harvest prospects for the northern hemisphere and weather forecasts for the southern hemisphere are typically discussed, as the 2018/19 planting season is fast approaching for the latter. But this time around the typical discussion has been eclipsed by the uncertainty in the global trade environment caused by the trade dispute between the US and China. - Wandile Sihlobo, Agbiz head of Agribusiness Research *Written for and first published on Business Day on 16 August 2018
The World Bank recently released an interesting book titled Agriculture in Africa: Telling Myths from Facts. It covers a wide range of topics from smallholder land access, post-harvest losses, financing of agricultural inputs, agricultural labour productivity and women’s work in agriculture amongst others. Having recently written an article on women’s contribution to the South African agricultural sector, I was quickly drawn in on the chapter that dealt with the subject. The book puts women’s share of labour in crop production at an average 40 percent, with variations across countries. Worth noting, however, is that the data does not cover the entire continent, but selected countries, namely: Ethiopia, Malawi, Niger, Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda. With that said, the countries cover a wide array of the continent’s farming zones. - Wandile Sihlobo, Agbiz head of Agribusiness Research.