News archive

News archive - January-2019

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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Is South African agriculture really dominated by big commercial farms?

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.

05.03.2019 / Agbiz in the news

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Compendium of essays on land reform in South Africa

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

26.02.2019 / Agbiz in the news

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Only 13% of SA’s land surface is suitable for agriculture, so use it wisely

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

22.02.2019 / Agbiz in the news

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Changing weather patterns a challenge for farmers

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

22.02.2019 / Agbiz in the news

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Ministerial consultation sheds light on the direction of water management in SA

On the 15th of February, Minister Nkwinti from the Department of Water and Sanitation hosted a consultative forum on transformation in the water sector. Although the size and nature of the consultation made it difficult to meaningfully participate, the consultation shed some light on four key aspects related to water management in South Africa. - Theo Boshoff, Agbiz head of Legal Intelligence

22.02.2019 / Agbiz in the news

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Agbiz responds to Minister Mboweni’s 2019 Budget Speech

This year’s Budget Speech comes against the background of tough macroeconomic conditions, characterised by weak economic growth, less effective tax administration and collection, and rising demand for government expenditure, amongst other factors. The frank assessment by Minister Mboweni, as well as the recognition that economic growth is fundamental to fiscal sustainability, is welcomed.  - Agbiz media statement issued on 20 February 2019

20.02.2019 / Media Releases

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Agbiz announces recipient of 2019 Agbiz Centenary Bursary

Agbiz has awarded the Agbiz Centenary Bursary for 2019 to 24-year old Lerato Ramafoko who has completed a BSc Agriculture degree with an agricultural economics major, at North-West University. Lerato is now enrolled at Stellenbosch University for a master’s degree in agricultural economics with Prof Nick Vink as her supervisor. Her proposed research will focus on the trade-off relationship between food security and the environment.  - Agbiz media statement issued on 18 February 2019

18.02.2019 / Media Releases

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Slight improvement in SA agricultural jobs

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

15.02.2019 / Agbiz in the news

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