News archive

News archive - November-2018

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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Joint update statement by DAFF and the red meat industry on the FMD outbreak in Vhembe district delivered by Minister Senzeni Zokwana

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.

As a result of the FMD outbreak, South Africa lost its OIE recognised FMD free zone without vaccination status. This has had a devastating effect on trade of cloven hoofed animals and their products from South Africa. While some countries instituted official bans, trade was further disrupted as a result of the inability to certify for any exports where FMD free zone attestation is required.

04.02.2019 / Agbiz in the news

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Agbiz establishes new desk for the fruit industry

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.

11.01.2019 / Media Releases

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Agbiz establishes new desk for the fruit industry

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 Fuit 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.

10.01.2019 / Agbiz in the news

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Agricultural water management scenarios for South Africa

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.

13.12.2018 / Agbiz in the news

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South Africa’s agricultural machinery sales slow in November 2018

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

11.12.2018 / Agbiz in the news

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Agribusiness Outlook for 2019

“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

05.12.2018 / Media Releases

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Agbiz confirms its position on property rights and inclusive growth

“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

 

03.12.2018 / Media Releases

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Agbiz confirms its position on property rights and inclusive growth

“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

03.12.2018 / Agbiz in the news

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President signs Labour Law Amendment Acts into law

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

29.11.2018 / Agbiz in the news

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Land reform: Status update

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. 

29.11.2018 / Agbiz in the news

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Carbon Tax Bill introduced into the National Assembly

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

23.11.2018 / Agbiz in the news

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