News archive

News archive - July-2018

Predicting the El Niño effect

Admittedly, it is too early to tell how most Southern African countries will cope with the expected weak El Niño in the summer season. Typically, an El Niño weather phenomenon would lead to drier weather conditions in most countries on the continent, almost similar to what we witnessed in the 2015-16 drought years. However, when it is weak, as expected, the impact could be minimal. - Wandile Sihlobo, Agbiz head of Agribusiness Research *Written for and first published in Business Day

02.11.2018 / Agbiz in the news

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Comprehensive producer support policy heads to Nedlac

The draft National Policy on Comprehensive Producer Support published by DAFF on the 3rd of August 2018 has now been referred to Nedlac where organised business, labour and government can engage on its contents. Agbiz forms a central part of the business delegation. The policy seeks to coordinate the producer support initiatives undertaken by government with that of the private sector to ensure that the greatest impact is achieved. As a general point of departure, business welcomed the initiative by government and placed special emphasis on the cooperative nature in which DAFF seeks to drive producer support going forward. - Theo Boshoff, Agbiz head of Legal Intelligence

02.11.2018 / Agbiz in the news

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Solid recovery in South African tractor sales in September 2018

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

09.10.2018 / Agbiz in the news

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Maize production estimate revised down, while wheat was lifted from last month

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

27.09.2018 / Agbiz in the news

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SA farmers face twin blow of rising input costs and possible drought

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

27.09.2018 / Agbiz in the news

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Comprehensive Development Support Policy prioritises partnerships

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

27.09.2018 / Agbiz in the news

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El Niño return threatens summer crop

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

13.09.2018 / Agbiz in the news

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South African tractor sales fell by 18% y/y in August 2018

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.  

 

12.09.2018 / Agbiz in the news

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South African tractor sales grew by 5% y/y in July 2018

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.

12.09.2018 / Agbiz in the news

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Agbiz engages with CRC on the review of Section 25 of the Constitution

“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

06.09.2018 / Media Releases

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Agri SA and Agbiz meet with President Ramaphosa and Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma on growth and employment

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

22.08.2018 / Media Releases

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Fresh perspectives at PMA Fresh Connections

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.

17.08.2018 / Agbiz in the news

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BFAP Baseline 2018 released

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.

16.08.2018 / Agbiz in the news

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Does size matter in South African farming?

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

16.08.2018 / Agbiz in the news

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How private sector can supply land in a way that makes reform work

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

16.08.2018 / Agbiz in the news

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Trade war trumps usual focus on harvests and weather

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

16.08.2018 / Agbiz in the news

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Women’s work on African farms

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.

09.08.2018 / Agbiz in the news

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The female face of agriculture

From the classroom to the farm to the boardroom, women in agriculture not only play an important role in feeding the world, but they are affecting positive change in the agricultural space. Women fill many roles across the agricultural spectrum where they influence the agricultural agenda and decision-making. They are farmers and farmworkers, agricultural researchers, educators, journalists and agri-business people.  - Karen Grobler, Agbiz marketing and communications manager

08.08.2018 / Agbiz in the news

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The subtle art of saying everything and nothing at the same time

The title of this article may ruffle a few feathers, and perhaps it is a bit mischievous to do so, but it is exactly what is currently happening with statements related to amending the Constitution to allow for expropriation without compensation. - Theo Boshoff, Agbiz head of Legal Intelligence * Written for and first published on Media 24

08.08.2018 / Agbiz in the news

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Is expropriation a red herring for traditional leaders?

Traditional leadership and land expropriation are two very thorny issues in their own right, but once the two became conflated it was bound to ruffle some feathers. The issue came to the fore after the recent comments made by King Goodwill Zwelithini regarding the Ingonyama Trust, but are these issues really related? - Theo Boshoff, Agbiz head of Legal Intelligence * Written for and first published in Mail & Guardian

02.08.2018 / Agbiz in the news

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