After experiencing a double-digit decline in August 2018 due to delayed harvest, amongst other factors, South African tractor sales recovered by 11% y/y in September 2018, with 612 units sold (Figure 1). This somewhat signals farmers’ readiness for the 2018/19 summer crop production season which commenced this month, although planting activity hasn’t progressed much thus far. Broadly speaking, this is an encouraging reading as we continue to monitor the investment path in the South African agricultural sector following a slowdown in the Agribusiness Confidence Index in the third quarter due to continued uncertainty underpinned by the current land policy reform proposal, amongst other issues. - Wandile Sihlobo, Agbiz head of Agribusiness Research
Today the Crop Estimate Committee released its final production estimates for the 2017/18 summer crop and second production estimated for 2018/19 winter crop. In terms of summer crops, the major oilseeds such as soybeans and sunflower seed were left unchanged from the previous month, whilst the commercial maize production estimate was revised down by 2% from the previous estimate to 12.9 million tonnes, which is somewhat in line with our expectations. From a winter crop perspective, the wheat production estimate was revised up by 2% from last month to 1.8 million tonnes – all thanks to good rainfall in parts of the Western Cape and an expansion in area planted in the Free State. - Wandile Sihlobo, Agbiz head of Agribusiness Research
These are challenging times for SA farmers, whether viewed from the perspective of rising input costs or the weather outlook. In a few weeks the 2018-2019 summer crop production season will start on a negative note, partly due to rising costs of agricultural inputs such as fertiliser and fuel. - Wandile Sihlobo, Agbiz head of Agribusiness Resarch * Written for and first published on Business Day
On the 3rd of August the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) published the draft National Policy on Comprehensive Producer Development Support for public comments. The policy is designed to bring together producer support from both government and private sector in a coordinated manner. A first look at the policy shows positive signs, but the methodology may need a bit of work. - Theo Boshoff, Agbiz head of Legal Intelligence
After showing solid recovery from drought in the previous and current marketing seasons with above-average maize and soybean production, the debate on climate-related challenges could resurface as the opening of the summer crop planting window fast-approaches in the next two to three weeks. - Wandile Sihlobo, Agbiz head of Agribusiness Research *Written for and first published in Business Day
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.