News archive

News archive - March-2019

Agbiz reaction on 2020 Budget: Challenging times for South Africa

This was yet another challenging budget for South Africa. It was tabled at a time of low economic growth, constrained tax revenue and higher unemployment. At the core of reviving South Africa’s economic fortunes is the sustainability of the power supply. While mismanagement of Eskom over the past few years is regrettable, we are encouraged that the government is committed to “do whatever it takes” to ensure stable electricity supply in South Africa. We hope this does not only mean a fixation to Eskom, but acceleration to the already ongoing reforms in the energy sector. The rising government debt related to especially Eskom remains a major concern. - Agbiz media statement issued on 26 February 2020

27.02.2020 / Media Releases

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South Africa’s food price inflation to remain subdued in 2020

South Africa’s food prices increased at a relatively slower pace in January 2020 compared to December 2019. The data released this morning by Statistics South Africa shows that the country’s food price inflation was at 3.7% y/y in January 2020, while the previous month was 3.8% y/y. This deceleration, however, was not across the food basket. Only price inflation of bread and cereals; fish; and vegetables decelerated. But this was enough to overshadow the increases in meat; milk, eggs and cheese; oil and fats; fruit; sugar, sweets and desserts. - Wandile Sihlobo, Agbiz chief economist

19.02.2020 / Agbiz in the news

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Agbiz responds to the 2020 State of the Nation Address (SONA) by President Cyril Ramaphosa

“Agbiz welcomes the greater realism articulated in the State of the Nation Address (SONA) by President Cyril Ramaphosa, and especially welcomes the emphasis on inclusive economic growth to address key challenges facing South Africa. Considerable reference was made to developing social compacts between government, business, labour and communities to answer these numerous challenges, including especially the high unemployment rate. Agbiz is involved in a number of these initiatives, including the development of a master plan for the agriculture and agro-processing sector, and supports this approach by the government,” Dr John Purchase, CEO of Agbiz, indicated. - Agbiz media statement issued on 14 February 2020

14.02.2020 / Media Releases

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SA agriculture jobs up marginally in Q4, 2019

The Quarterly Labour Force Survey data for the fourth quarter of 2019 show that South Africa’s primary agricultural employment increased by 4.2% (or 36 000 jobs) from the corresponding period last year to 885 000 (see Exhibit 1). The notable job gains were mainly in the Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Free State and Limpopo. This was largely in the horticulture, field crops and livestock subsectors. These activities, however, were not evenly spread across all provinces. - Wandile Sihlobo, Agbiz chief economist

11.02.2020 / Agbiz in the news

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SA tractor sales down notably in January 2020

The South African agricultural machinery market started the year on a bad footing. Tractor sales were down 14% y/y, with 333 units sold. This is the lowest monthly sales data that has been recorded over the past six years. This sales data is, however, unsurprising as it is a continuation of the 2019 tractor sales trend. -Wandile Sihlobo, Agbiz chief economist

07.02.2020 / Agbiz in the news

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Rainfall across SA gets summer crops off to a good start

My last column two weeks ago painted a bleak picture of SA’s 2019/2020 agricultural outlook, highlighting prospects of drought in some regions of the country. Lately, conditions have improved notably, and farmers managed to plant the area they intended.- Wandile Sihlobo, Agbiz chief economist *Written for and first published in Business Day

05.02.2020 / Agbiz in the news

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Zimbabwe’s decision to lift a ban on GM maize imports could benefit SA in the near term

For years Zimbabwe has maintained a ban on the importation or growing of genetically modified (GM) maize. While the policy disadvantaged farmers who couldn’t produce higher yields from GM seeds as neighbouring South Africa, it also provided protection through phyto-sanitary barriers that protected the country’s non-GM maize producers. The policy also disadvantaged consumers who were compelled to purchase higher-priced maize and its products, which would have been relatively cheaper if the country produced higher volumes from GM seed. -Wandile Sihlobo, Agbiz chief economist

03.02.2020 / Agbiz in the news

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Agbiz represented on the International Bar Association's Agricultural Law Section

In September 2019, Agbiz head of Legal Intelligence, Theo Boshoff, was granted the opportunity to present on climate change, Africa and the role of agricultural law at the International Bar Association (IBA)'s annual conference in Seoul, South Korea. Following this conference, the IBA has confirmed that Theo will serve a two-year term ending in December 2021 on the Legal Practice Division's Agricultural Law Section.

31.01.2020 / Agbiz in the news

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There’s optimism about SA’s 2019/20 summer crop season

While South Africa’s 2019/20 summer crop production season started on a negative footing with delayed rainfall across the country, farmers managed to plant the area they intended. This was confirmed by the preliminary plantings data released this afternoon by South Africa’s Crop Estimate Committee (CEC) which shows South Africa’s 2019/20 summer crop area at 3.97 million hectares. This is up 1% and 8% from the intentions to plant data released in October 2019 and area planted in 2018/19 season, respectively. There is an improvement in area plantings of all crops with the exception of sorghum and dry beans whose area planting fell by 28% y/y and 13% y/y, respectively. - Wandile Sihlobo, Agbiz chief economist

31.01.2020 / Agbiz in the news

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Agbiz submits written inputs on Draft Constitution Eighteenth Amendment Bill, 2019

Agbiz has submitted its written inputs on the Draft Constitution Eighteenth Amendment Bill to amend section 25 of the Constitution to allow expropriation without compensation to the chairperson of the Ad Hoc Commitee, Dr Mathole Motshekga. The Bill was approved in early December before it was opened for public comment. In the submission, Agbiz reiterated its position that land reform objectives can be achieved without resorting to expropriation at nil compensation, if the administrative process is overhauled to ensure efficient administration.

31.01.2020 / Agbiz in the news

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DWS requires the compulsory installation of water meters and monthly reporting of water used for commercial irrigation

On Friday 17 January, the acting director general of the Department of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation (DWS) published a notice in the Government Gazette requiring all irrigators to install water meters and report their monthly consumption. This notice specifically relates to those water users who do not form part of a water user association nor an irrigation board. Water users were given 30 working days to comply. - Theo Boshoff, Agbiz head of Legal Intelligence

24.01.2020 / Agbiz in the news

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What to expect from food price inflation this year

South Africa’s food price inflation averaged 3.1% y/y in 2019, which is well below market expectations. What many analysts seem to have underestimated was the length of the period that meat prices would remain subdued for, and its influence thereafter on the overall food price inflation headline number. This is because meat contributes 35% of the food inflation basket – a significant share. - Wandile Sihlobo, Agbiz chief economist *Written for and first published on Fin 24

23.01.2020 / Agbiz in the news

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South Africa must get on China’s agricultural radar

One of the key themes that dominated agricultural markets in 2019 was US-China trade tension. This caused trade diversion, as Chinese agricultural traders looked at other markets for goods they would have imported from the US. One of the countries that benefited most was Brazil, which saw its agricultural exports to China grow 35% between 2017 and 2018, to $31bn. - Wandile Sihlobo, Agbiz chief economist *Written for and first published in Business Day

21.01.2020 / Agbiz in the news

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Agbiz comments on the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement

This year’s Medium Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) sees a marked deterioration in the budget deficit which is now at 6.2% of GDP from 4.7% in the February budget speech, which is far worse than expected. The key problem has largely been the lack of economic growth as well as mismanagement of Eskom finances. South Africa’s economy is now projected to grow by sub-1% this year and improve marginally to 1.2% in 2020. The efficient collection of tax remains a challenge but we trust this will change with the appointment of a new SARS Commissioner who is focused on rebuilding the institution. - Agbiz media statement

31.10.2019 / Media Releases

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These are challenging times for the global wool industry

This has not been a good year for the global wool industry. The world’s top two wool-producing countries – Australia and South Africa — are experiencing different, yet growth-constraining, challenges. In South Africa, the challenge is trade-related. Earlier this year, China, which accounts for roughly 71% of South Africa’s wool exports, temporarily stopped buying the country’s wool. This was because of a foot-and-mouth disease outbreak in Limpopo. The impact of this ban was immediately felt across the industry and sheep-farming communities of South Africa. The local authorities responded to the cries and started engaging with their Chinese counterparts in efforts to ensure that wool trade resumes between the two countries. But there hasn’t been a complete success thus far. - Wandile Sihlobo, Agbiz chief economist 

13.09.2019 / Agbiz in the news

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Land reform: Status update (August 2019)

Expropriation is merely one element of the broader land reform debate. There are several outstanding issues which predate the expropriation debate and which are vital to the success or failure of land reform in South Africa. 

03.09.2019 / Agbiz in the news

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SA could see biggest wheat harvest in a decade

Preliminary data from South Africa’s Crop Estimates Committee (CEC) suggest that the country could harvest 1.92 million tonnes of wheat in the 2019/20 production season. If this materialises, it would be the biggest harvest in a decade. The catalyst for the optimistic outlook is both the increase in area planted and also prospects for good weather conditions, which in turn would potentially boost the yields. - Wandile Sihlobo, Agbiz chief economist

27.08.2019 / Agbiz in the news

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Presidential advisory panel's report on land reform: why context is important

On Sunday, the Presidency released the final report of the Advisory Panel on Land Reform and Agriculture. The release of this report was highly anticipated and therefore attracted a flurry of media coverage. At this juncture it is worth taking stock of the process and considering the effect which the recommendations may have on land reform policy. Theo Boshoff, Agbiz head of Legal Intelligence

30.07.2019 / Agbiz in the news

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What’s needed for SA agriculture to boost jobs?

The latest Quarterly Labour Force Survey data (Q2: 2019) show that South Africa’s primary agricultural employment fell by 0.2% from the corresponding period last year to 842 000. The subsectors that faced a notable reduction were mainly field crops, the game industry and forestry. In the case of field crops, the reduction in employment was unsurprising following a reduction in activity in the fields on the back of a poor harvest in the 2018/19 season, all of which is underpinned by unfavourable weather conditions earlier in the season. From a regional perspective, a notable decline in employment was recorded in the Northern Cape, Free State and Limpopo, whilst other provinces saw a marginal uptick. - Wandile Sihlobo, Agbiz chief economist.

30.07.2019 / Agbiz in the news

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Agbiz responds to the release of the Presidential Land Reform and Agriculture Advisory Panel Report

“The Agricultural Business Chamber (Agbiz) has noted the release of the report by the Presidential Land Reform and Agriculture Advisory Panel for public comment today. Agbiz will study the report and its recommendations in detail and respond according to its mandated policy positions on land reform and agriculture,” Dr John Purchase, CEO of Agbiz, said today. - Agbiz media statement

28.07.2019 / Media Releases

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