News archive

News archive - February-2019

Conference puts the spotlight on a better agri trade deal for Africa

The overarching theme of  the 2019 Agribusiness Africa Conference hosted by Farmer's Weekly this week, was market access, and one of the key discussion topics was how to secure a better deal for African countries within the global agricultural trade environment. 

12.07.2019 / Agbiz in the news

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The agricultural value chain and the climate crisis

The effects of the changing climate, which is, of course, a global challenge, have been felt in sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Asia in the recent past. This has been through erratic rainfalls and more frequent occurrences of droughts and floods. For countries whose economies are largely dependent on agricultural fortunes, the impact of climate change has largely been felt through smaller harvests, poorer grazing conditions for livestock and ultimately food price inflation. However, less discussed but equally important is the impact of climate change on value-chain industries such as agricultural inputs and equipment providers, agricultural financiers, and food processing companies, amongst others. - Wandile Sihlobo, Agbiz chief economist *Written for and first published on Daily Maverick

11.07.2019 / Agbiz in the news

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Climate change adds to uncertainty over global maize supplies

Erratic weather conditions and more frequent droughts and floods are exacerbating uncertainty in the agricultural sector. While these have largely been a phenomenon of sub-Saharan Africa and Asian countries, the Americas are also starting to experience these harsh conditions. The hallmark of changing climate in 2019 has been the prolonged excessive wet weather conditions in the US, which led to delayed plantings in a number of areas. By mid-June 2019 there were fears of possible tight global maize supplies, which saw maize prices rally because of slow plantings. - Wandile Sihlobo, Agbiz chief economist *Written for and first published in Business Day

10.07.2019 / Agbiz in the news

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Biofuels - a quick win that ticks all the right boxes

The Department of Minerals and Energy published a National Industrial Strategy on biofuel production in South Africa as far back as 2007. Sadly, this strategy received widespread opposition from certain groupings based on a misunderstanding of its potential impact on food security. As such, the strategy has still not been finalised. The biofuels industry has the potential to create in excess of 25 000 jobs and contribute indirectly to land reform, rural development, reduce the negative environmental impact of transport fuel, and reducing our reliance on imported fossil fuels. It therefore, ticks the boxes from a social, economic and environmental point of view. With our economy under distress, tough decisions need to be made and it may be time to look critically at the validity of opposing comments in light of empirical data. -Theo Boshoff, Agbiz head of Legal Intelligence

06.07.2019 / Agbiz in the news

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Changes to Amended COGP Gazette 42496

On 31 May 2019 a composite 396-page Government Gazette was published containing dozens of notices and legislative changes from across many different ministries that appears to be an effort to reduce gazetting costs and to dispense with outstanding matters prior to the new cabinet ministers taking over. 

05.07.2019 / Agbiz in the news

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Agbiz chief economist ranked amongst Top 200 Young South Africans

Agbiz chief economist Wandile Sihlobo was nominated as one of Mail & Guardian's Top 200 Young South Africans. The names of 200 trailblazing young South Africans was announced at a gala event in Sandton.

05.07.2019 / Agbiz in the news

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Practical steps to make the SONA vision a reality

The State of the Nation address delivered by President Ramaphosa set out five fundamental goals for South Africa. Three of these goals, namely; eliminating hunger, growing the economy faster than the population growth rate and creating 2 million job opportunities, are partially premised on economic growth in the agricultural and agribusiness subsectors. To enable the private sector to grow and create job opportunities, the President stressed the need to improve the ease and speed of doing business. As a business association, this is music to our ears. To get the ball rolling, a few quick-wins are listed that should be prioritised to improve business conditions for the agribusiness sector. - Theo Boshoff, Agbiz head of Legal Intelligence

28.06.2019 / Agbiz in the news

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Agbiz’s reaction on the SONA

“In these tough economic times, it was refreshing to hear President Ramaphosa’s recommitment to placing South Africa’s economic growth at the forefront of the sixth administration's agenda,” an Agbiz spokesperson said. “We were also pleased to hear the president’s re-emphasis of the need to implement the National Development Plan (NDP) and the country’s commitment to vision 2030. In this vision, the agricultural value chain plays a crucial role in the growth and stability of rural economies.” Agbiz has long supported and argued for the implementation of Chapter six of the NDP over the past few years as it is the roadmap to inclusive growth in the sector and will address the triple challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality. - Agbiz media statement issued on 20 June 2019

21.06.2019 / Media Releases

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Agbiz responds to the appointment of the Cabinet by President Cyril Ramaphosa

“Agbiz has noted the appointment of the new Cabinet for the sixth Administration of democratic South Africa by President Cyril Ramaphosa today, and in general, welcomes the appointments to key ministries and congratulates the ministers on their appointment. It is, however, the reduction of 36 ministries to 28 that is especially welcomed in order to cut costs but also to ensure greater government coordination and efficiency,” Dr John Purchase, CEO of Agbiz, said today.

30.05.2019 / Agbiz in the news

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Finally, some good news for the SA wool industry

The South Africa-China wool trade story is back in the headlines, but this time around in a good way. Nearly two months since the Chinese authorities temporarily suspended wool imports from South Africa because of the foot-and-mouth disease outbreak earlier in the year, the country's authorities issued a notification on 8 May stating that the ban will be lifted that same day. This news was warmly welcomed by Cape Wools SA, stating that the lifting of the ban implies that any scoured wool or mohair could be exported to China, but that the conditions under which greasy wool could be exported, will be subject to World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) "Safe Commodities" regulations. - Wandile Sihlobo, Agbiz chief economist

17.05.2019 / Agbiz in the news

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Land reform talks also on the agenda at agri trade fair

Aside from the robust policy discussions at Nampo, the agricultural machinery role players are likely to be downbeat at this year's event. The drought earlier this year in the central and western parts of South Africa led to reduced plantings, and now expectations are for a lower summer grains harvest. This is likely to weigh on farmers' finances, and thus agricultural machinery sales. In fact, tractor and combine harvester sales figures for the first four months of 2019 were already lower compared with the previous year's performance. - Wandile Sihlobo, Agbiz chief economist *Written for and first published in Business Day

17.05.2019 / Agbiz in the news

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Public-private partnerships the key to economic growth

Agbiz CEO Dr John Purchase participated in a live Nation in Conversation panel discussion at Nampo on the importance of public-private partnerships for sustainable economic growth. 

17.05.2019 / Agbiz in the news

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What happens after the elections?

What happens after the 2019 elections? Political commentator, Theo Venter discussed the build-up to the elections as well as possible scenarios that could unfold with Agbiz CEO Dr John Purchase. 

17.05.2019 / Agbiz in the news

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Where does SA agriculture stand in the world?

There are multiple new opportunities for local producers to enter the world with their agricultural products, but South African farmers are not always sufficiently equipped to maximise those opportunities. How can this be overcome, and new markets be secured for the South African farming community? 

17.05.2019 / Agbiz in the news

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The SA fruit industry's protection lies in visibility

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.

17.05.2019 / Agbiz in the news

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M&G brings together stakeholders to discuss progress on land reform

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. 

05.04.2019 / Agbiz in the news

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Agbiz and the IFC host workshop on water use efficiency in agri-processing

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

29.03.2019 / Agbiz in the news

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Port damage will hinder Mozambique grain imports

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

29.03.2019 / Agbiz in the news

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SA’s summer grains and oilseeds production estimates lifted marginally

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

27.03.2019 / Agbiz in the news

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The Saudis are in town for SA agriculture

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

05.03.2019 / Agbiz in the news

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