News archive

News archive - May-2018

2018 Agbiz Congress - Water: urgent call to action

Without intervention the national water deficit will be around 17% by 2030. Water availability could also deteriorate as supply contracts and demand escalate due to growth, urbanisation, inefficient use, degradation of wetlands, water losses and the negative impact of climate change. This was the opinion of Trevor Balzer, deputy director general: Strategic and Emergency Projects of the Department of Water and Sanitation, at the 2018 Agbiz Congress.

11.07.2018 / Agbiz in the news

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2018 Agbiz Congress - Technology opens new landscapes

Farmers face an ever-changing landscape, while constantly striving for higher yield, resilience and desirability. They need seeds and crop protection products that address their challenges – not just by country or region, but that are laser-focused down to the acre. This was the message at the 2018 Agbiz Congress of Dr Neal Gutterson, chief technical officer R&D and product development of Corteva Agriscience.

11.07.2018 / Agbiz in the news

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2018 Agbiz Congress - Restoration of dignity is key to land reform

"Agbiz input with regard to land reform so far was primarily viewed from a commercial perspective, thus the creation of successful and viable new entrants. This is only one part of the story. The restoration of dignity is also key to the debate, but how does one do this practically?" Theo Boshoff, Agbiz head of Legal Intelligence discussed the current policy environment for land reform and the relevant legislation at the 2018 Agbiz Congress and said that Agbiz is closely involved in many land reform forums.

11.07.2018 / Agbiz in the news

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2018 Agbiz Congress - Model will help to identify export opportunities

Trade facilitation and cost reduction strategies can help to unlock South Africa’s economic potential through increased exports and more scientific fact-based market intelligence. This should be at the centre of strategic decision-making and trade facilitation initiatives, increasing trade in goods and services between South Africa and the rest of the world. The same applies to agro-industry related stakeholders. This was the message to the 2018 Agbiz Congress of Prof Wilma Viviers, director of the TRADE research entity and World Trade Organization chair holder at the North-West University, and Martin Cameron, managing director of the TRADE Research Advisory. 

11.07.2018 / Agbiz in the news

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2018 Agbiz Congress - President Ramaphosa has done well so far, but an uphill battle lies ahead

President Cyril Ramaphosa has taken a number of important steps so far this year in stage one of the Ramaphosa reform era. These include recalibrating key areas of economic and institutional importance. He also overhauled the security cluster, said Goolam Ballim, chief economist of Standard Bank, at the 2018 Agbiz Congress.

11.07.2018 / Agbiz in the news

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2018 Agbiz Congress - Partnerships are important, but must ‘be meaningful’

Mike Mlengana, director general of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries delivered the keynote address at the 2018 Agbiz Congress and placed public–private partnerships in the spotlight.  “These partnerships are important for the South African economy, but they must be meaningful and they must have a meaningful impact on people’s lives. We must have a strategy and a clear vision about these partnerships,” he said.

11.07.2018 / Agbiz in the news

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2018 Agbiz Congress - Not a time to sit back and relax

“Don’t be too excited that the Zuma error has been terminated. Change, however, could be intoxicating. Agribusinesses must invest in building confidence. Now is not the time to sit back and relax under Ramaphoria. The president is crying for help.” This was the opinion of Mpumelelo Mkhabela, political analyst and a fellow at the Centre for the Study of Governance Innovation at the University of Pretoria, at the 2018 Agbiz Congress. 

11.07.2018 / Agbiz in the news

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2018 Agbiz Congress - Land reform: what can the private sector contribute?

Current programmes of smallholder support from the private sector are built on shaky foundations. They are often based on problematic assumptions and normative ideas informed by the experience of a successful (white) and large-scale commercial farming sector in South Africa. A fundamental rethink is required, said Prof Ben Cousins, DST/NRF research chair in Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies at the University of the Western Cape, at the 2018 Agbiz Congress.

11.07.2018 / Agbiz in the news

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2018 Agbiz Congress - Agricultural markets will grow but prices will remain the same

Agricultural markets will grow but prices will stay more or less as they are today. The only way for agricultural producers to remain in business is to build their margins. This was the message of Prof Marcos Fava Neves, professor at the Business School of Economics, Business Administration and Accounting at the University of São Paulo, Brazil, to the 2018 Agbiz Congress.

11.07.2018 / Agbiz in the news

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2018 Agbiz Congress - Agriculture cannot be measured in terms of money alone

Agriculture and agribusinesses annually contribute around 14% of total GDP to the economy of South Africa but the value of these sectors cannot be measured in money alone. They make a huge contribution to rural development and sustainable employment. At last calculation, the turnover of Agbiz members, including lending exposure of financial institutions, was in the region of R400 billion per annum, considerably greater than the total farm-gate value of agricutural production in South Africa. The participation of Agbiz members is, therefore, crucial to take agriculture and agribusiness forward in South Africa, said Dr John Purchase, CEO of Agbiz in his opening address at the 2018 Agbiz Congress.

11.07.2018 / Agbiz in the news

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South African tractor sales grew by 19% y/y in June 2018

The South African tractor sales increased by 19% y/y in June, with 569 units sold, which is the highest sales figure for the corresponding month in a dataset starting from 2014. This far exceeds our expectations of modest sales of 471 units, which is a surprise given that June is a fairly quiet month in terms of planting for both summer and winter crop areas. – Wandile Sihlobo, Agbiz economist

09.07.2018 / Agbiz in the news

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SA agricultural economy contracted by 24.2% q/q in the first quarter of 2018

The negative effects of the Western Cape drought are evident in the first quarter GDP data, which showed that South Africa’s agricultural economy contracted by 24.2% q/q.1 This far exceeds our expectations of a modest contraction of about 11% q/q. – Wandile Sihlobo, Agbiz economist

09.07.2018 / Agbiz in the news

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SA maize and soybean production forecasts revised upwards

South Africa is in for a fairly good harvest in 2017/18 production season, albeit being less than the record achieved in 2016/17 season. This was confirmed by the fifth production forecasts released by the National Crop Estimate Committee earlier. Most summer crop production forecasts were revised upwards from previous month’s levels, with the exception of sunflower seed, sorghum and dry beans which were left unchanged. – Wandile Sihlobo, Agbiz economist

09.07.2018 / Agbiz in the news

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Agbiz gearing up for the President’s proposed jobs summit

At his maiden State of the Nation Address in February, President Ramaphosa announced that a jobs summit would be convened in 2018 to elevate the key challenge of unemployment, with a special emphasis on youth unemployment, to the top of the national agenda. The aim of the summit is not limited to creating formal employment opportunities but rather to creating viable economic opportunities, including the creation of new enterprises and self-employment opportunities. The summit seeks to address the constraints to job creation, affirm targets and commitments from different entities and solicit proposals for specific projects. To this end, government has enlisted the help of social partners at Nedlac where Agbiz will play a leading role through Business Unity South Africa (BUSA). – Theo Boshoff, Head: Legal Intelligence

06.07.2018 / Agbiz in the news

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Scope for growth and employment in agricultural sector

I recently posted a graph on Twitter showing the past 100 years of South African agricultural employment, which has of course been declining for some time, in line with the international trend. The feedback from a couple of interactions suggested that the agricultural sector is a nonstarter when it comes to job creation. – Wandile Sihlobo, Agbiz economist *Written for and first published in the Business Day on 21 June 2018.

06.07.2018 / Agbiz in the news

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Dryland wheat farming in Eastern Cape needs support

Almost every Sunday afternoon I make a couple of phone calls to a number of farmers across the country to catch up on regional news and agricultural conditions. This past weekend I followed that routine, with a number of farmers briefing me about summer crop harvest progress.Wandile Sihlolo, Agbiz economist *Written for and first appeared on Business Day on 05 July 2018

06.07.2018 / Agbiz in the news

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SA sugar industry appeals for stronger tariff protection

The members of the South African Sugar Association (SASA), which includes sugarcane farmers and millers, have applied to the International Trade Administration Commission (ITAC) for a 51% increase in the sugar tariff (dollar-based reference price of US$ 856.32/ton) to help the industry against the increasing sugar imports. – Sifiso Ntombela, Head: Trade and Investment Intelligence

06.07.2018 / Agbiz in the news

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If Zimbabwe lifts maize ban, South Africa can step in

I keep a close eye on the Zimbabwe agricultural sector because of its potential impact on regional demand. Since the collapse of the sector after the land reform programme in the early 2000s, the country has been one of the key markets for South African maize. – Wandile Sihlobo, Agbiz economist *Written for and first published in the Business Times on 01 July 2018.

06.07.2018 / Agbiz in the news

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Clear criteria needed for beneficiary selection in agricultural land redistribution

Some of the successful land reform programmes in the world took place in countries where the beneficiaries were those who occupied the land at the time of the reform. This may be true for the provision of secure tenure to occupiers living under legally insecure tenure arrangements in communal areas, however, the context is quite different for the redistribution and restitution programmes in South Africa. – Wandile Sihlobo and Prof Johann Kirsten[i] *Written for and first published on Business Day on 25 June 2018.  

06.07.2018 / Agbiz in the news

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Agbiz/IDC Agribusiness Confidence Index Declines in Q2, 2018

Subsequent to an uptick to 58 index points in the first quarter of this year, the Agbiz/IDC Agribusiness Confidence Index declined to 54 in the second quarter. With the results still above the neutral 50-point mark, albeit having declined marginally, this means that the agribusiness sector is still optimistic about business conditions in South Africa - Wandile Sihlobo, Head Agbiz Economic Research

18.06.2018 / Agbiz in the news

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