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1 September 2022

A deeper dive into the Agricultural and Agroprocessing Master Plan

A lot has been written about the Agricultural and Agroprocessing Master Plan (AAMP) of late. The debate, it seems, speaks to pros and cons and whether the proposals are enabling or whether they will harm the agricultural sector. These debates become slightly less relevant when you dive into the plan itself as most of the ‘proposals’ consist of work which various role players in the industry have been striving toward for years. Agbiz CEO Theo Boshoff takes a closer look at the proposals in the AAMP in the linked article, written for and first published in Farmer's Weekly.

Cooperation between the government and farmers over the wool ban is a template for other issues

The good news of the past week in South Africa's agricultural sector was the resumption of wool exports to China after nearly four months of suspension. China had cited the foot-and-mouth disease outbreak as a reason to suspend South Africa's wool imports. The suspension happened despite the existence of a unique protocol to handle the wool shipments and avoid any contamination during a foot-and-mouth disease outbreak in South Africa. The cooperation between government, industry and organised agriculture during the wool ban challenges is yet another example of the approach that should be used to deal with challenges facing the sector. For example, foot-and-mouth disease, which continues to affect the livestock industry, needs industry and regulators' view on assembling a plan for the sector. Agbiz chief economist Wandile Sihlobo elaborates on this subject in the linked article.

Sanctions as a weapon

Sanctions are not new, but they deliver bigger global shocks and are easier to avoid than at any time in history. In his latest book, The Economic Weapon, the Rise of Sanctions as a Tool of Modern War, Nicholas Mulder, an assistant professor of history at Cornell University, looks at sanctions regimes of the past to better understand the implications of today's sweeping sanctions against Russia. In this podcast, Mulder says we need to think more carefully about crafting macroeconomic policy at a global level to offset the negative effects that the sanctions are having on third countries. Please click here to read the article in Finance and Development or listen to the podcast here


Brief analysis of Unlawful Entry on Premises Bill

The Department of Justice and Correctional Services published the Unlawful Entry on Premises Bill for public comment on 12 August 2022. The due date for comments is 16 September. Agbiz has prepared draft comments that we have submitted to members for input and mandating. The main purpose of the Bill is to repeal and replace the Trespass Act, No. 6 of 1959 and to prohibit unlawful entry to or on premises. The Bill creates an offence of unlawful entry and prescribes the penalties to be imposed if a person is found to be guilty of the offence. It also deals with the duty of the owner or lawful occupier to inform an intruder of unlawful entry, the powers of the police and defences against the offence of unlawful entry. Agbiz head of Legal Intelligence discusses the contents of the Bill in the linked article.

Agbiz submits comments on plant breeders’ rights regulations

The Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development published draft regulations in terms of the Plant Breeders’ Rights Act for comment. The due date for submissions was 31 August. The draft regulations create certain exceptions to the protection of plant breeders’ rights, in terms whereof subsistence and smallholder farmers will be able to produce set maximum quantities of protected varieties of plants for propagating purposes. Medium and large-scale farmers may also produce certain quantities of protected varieties, although they have to do so only if they have legitimately obtained the material and informed and paid the holder of the breeder's right a reasonable remuneration. In its comments, Agbiz argues that the seed sector makes an important contribution to meeting the triple challenge facing food systems by supporting food security and nutrition, livelihoods, sustainable resource use and climate change mitigation and that plant breeding will also play a critical role in climate adaptation strategies. South Africa is a signatory to the International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants, which should guide these regulations. The international convention allows for the propagation of a variety by a farmer exclusively for the production of a food crop to be consumed entirely by that farmer and the dependents of the farmer living on that holding, which may be considered to fall within the meaning of acts done privately and for non-commercial purposes. The draft regulations are much broader and go beyond household production. Agbiz also argues that the maximum quantities allowed are unfair towards the holders of the plant breeders’ rights. For example, the maximum quantity of soybean and wheat is 2 500 kg and that of maize 3 000 kg.


CEC lifts South Africa's 2021/22 maize and soybeans harvest estimate further

While our attention is shifting towards the upcoming 2022/23 summer crop season for South Africa, monthly updates from the 2021/22 season are worth monitoring. For example, this afternoon, the Crop Estimates Committee (CEC) lifted its estimates for South Africa's 2021/22 maize production by 2% from July to 15,0 million tonnes. About 7,6 million are white maize, with 7,4 million being yellow maize. A harvest of 15,0 million tonnes is down by 8% from the 2020/21 season crop but well above the 10-year average maize harvest of 12,80 million tonnes and annual domestic consumption of 11,80 million tonnes. And thus, this implies that South Africa will remain a net exporter of maize, which we anticipate to be about 3,0 million tonnes in the 2022/23 marketing season (note: this marketing year corresponds with the 2021/22 production season). On 19 August 2022, about 12,0 million tonnes of the expected 15,0 million tonnes harvest had already been delivered to commercial silos. We expect further deliveries to continue in the coming weeks. The weather is favourable, with clear skies over South Africa over the next two weeks. Agbiz chief economist Wandile Sihlobo discusses the latest data in the linked article.

Challenges in SA farming

To understand the real challenges of farmers, it is necessary to spend a considerable amount of time on the ground talking to farmers and getting a better feel of the markets. In such engagements in the last week of August 2022, one theme that came up time and again in most discussions with role players in the sector is the need for the diversification of the export markets to non-traditional regions while retaining the sector’s foothold in key markets such as the European Union. Other issues that keep farmers sitting up and scratching their heads at night are the need to improve logistics – roads, rail and ports; expansion of agricultural finance, particularly developmental finance or flexible finance products for the new entrant farmers, and strengthening of trust between government and the industry. In this week’s podcast, Wandile Sihlobo takes a deeper look at these aspects and reflects on his recent engagements with farmers across South Africa.


Toward productive, inclusive, and sustainable farms and

agribusiness firms

Agrifood systems face several challenges that put inclusive growth and sustainable development at risk. Weak market links, fragmentation of production, and insufficient market integration of various actors contribute to low productivity and lead to low incomes and precarious living conditions for smallholders and small producers, especially in low-income countries (LIC). LICs’ high reliance on the production of low-value commodities for local markets also limits their potential to respond to the growing global demand for higher-value products (for example, fruits and vegetables). A new report by an Independent Evaluation Group (IEG) team explores how relevant and effective the Bank Group’s support to client countries has been on agrifood system development (AFSD) between 2010 and 2020. The report explores the challenges that agrifood systems face and offers recommendations for improving Bank Group's support to clients in meeting them. Please click here to peruse.

New record grain production on the horizon for Brazil

Brazilian grain producers are expected to begin planting in September. If the weather cooperates, the Brazilian harvest could result in its largest grain harvest in history. The first forecast for the 2022/2023 season from the National Supply Company (Conab), the country’s food supply and statistics agency, projects farmers will produce more than 300 million tons of soybeans, corn, cotton, rice, wheat, and beans. That number is 14% higher than last season when Brazilian farmers harvested an estimated 271.4 million tons of grains, an all-time high. The expected growth of the Brazilian crop is attributed to two factors: a 2.5% increase in planted area and 11% higher yields than in 2022. The 2022 yields were reduced by a severe drought that affected Brazil’s southern states. Although production costs are expected to be higher in the coming season, they will be in part offset by positive margins resulting from high commodity prices, robust global demand, and a favourable exchange rate. This article focuses on the first official government estimates for soybean and corn acreage and production in the 2022/2023 season, which has just started. Please click here to access the article, first published on farmdocdaily.com.

From war and inflation to food and cargo, charts chronicle volatile year

A strong chart that distils a compelling visualization of our world goes a long way toward helping illustrate what’s happening in the world’s economies and markets. That’s why the IMF Chart of the Week blog series is illuminating. It features various charts, from cargo prices and food costs to unrest, uncertainty, war, and inflation, these most-read blog posts reflect the eventful and often tumultuous year it’s already been. Please click here to peruse.

Port congestion continues to wreak havoc in the US and Canada

Ocean carriers continue to cite congestion at U.S. and Canadian ports as the reason for cancelling sailings in September, a cut in vessel service that has been flagged in previous CNBC reporting, and the latest CNBC Supply Chain Heat Map shows the congestion is not subsiding. “It comes as no surprise ocean carriers are blanking (cancelling) sailings,” said Alan Baer, CEO of OL USA. “It needs to be done to regain some sort of schedule reliability.” The result is that all of these vessels will now be out of position for return voyages, moving containers, loading US exports, and ultimately being in a position to load imports. Read more in the linked article, first published on freshfruitprotal.com.

BUSA Covid-19 cargo movement update

Port operations this past week were characterised by equipment breakdowns, congestion, inclement weather conditions, and the national strike (primarily affecting Durban, causing delays. The nationwide strike on Wednesday took its toll on operations at Pier 2 in Durban as the terminal operated at 50% workforce capacity for most of the day. Luckily, our other national ports were not affected by the strike and continued their operations normally. However, Richards Bay experienced severe delays due to vessel ranging this past week, while downtime of the NAVIS booking system disrupted straddle carrier operations in the Eastern Cape. Furthermore, Transnet continued to implement the four-hour review period for slot allocations this week while cancelled and wasted slots remained high. Read more in the latest BUSA Covid-19 Cargo Movement Update.

Minister Didiza gives FMD update

At the end of the first week of the country-wide movement ban on cattle, the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) took stock of the situation in order to consider the best way forward. During the week of 18 to 25 August 2022, 11 new outbreaks of FMD were confirmed by the laboratory, 5 in KZN, 5 in the Free State and 1 in Gauteng Provinces. This brings the total number of infected properties to 127. These new cases were likely already on the farms at the time when the standstill was initiated, and some are neighbours of already infected properties with contiguous spread. Given the incubation period and the delay in showing clinical signs, the effect of the standstill will be better appreciated after 2 weeks. Read more in the linked DALRRD media statement.

It's a wrap for smallholder cotton farmers

Smallholder cotton farmers in Matlerekeng, Limpopo, and Nkomazi, Mpumalanga, on Wednesday, 24 August 2022, wrapped up the season’s cotton harvest with the launch of locally manufactured and assembled cotton baling machines in Matlerekeng Village. The pink wrapping used in the demonstration of the baler was befitting of celebrating the women in the cotton industry during this Woman’s month. Approximately 60% of South Africa’s smallholder cotton farmers are women. These two baling machines were made possible through the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI)'s Agricultural Bioeconomy Innovation Partnership Programme (ABIPP). Read more in the linked Cotton SA media statement.


Ladismith youth introduced to agri career possibilities

Hortgro Dried Tree Fruit recently held a four-day long seminar themed the Kannaland Youth Week to introduce young people from Ladismith and surrounding communities to career possibilities in agriculture. Chris Krone and Christine Bombal from Agri Management Africa hosted the seminar on behalf of Hortgro Dried Tree Fruit. They spoke about different aspects of agriculture, including various job opportunities, finance models, and personal life and career choices. Various speakers spoke to the attendees about the value agriculture as an industry holds. The attendees were encouraged to actively participate in the discussion and ask questions. One of the themes was how to stay relevant in the workforce – specifically agriculture – as the world relies more heavily on technology. Please click here to peruse. 

Latest news from CGA

The Citrus Growers' Association of Southern Africa, shares the latest news in the citrus industry in its weekly update - From the desk of the CEO. Please click here to peruse

Get the latest news from the FPEF

Keeping it Fresh, the newsletter of the Fresh Produce Exporters Forum (FPEF) contains all the recent relevant news and developments. Please click here for the latest edition


Nampo Cape

14-17 September 2022 | Bredasdorp Park

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Smart Farming and Agtech Summit 2022 

15-16 September 2022  |  Protea Hotel | Sea Point  | Cape Town


AFMA Symposium 

Theme: "The future of protein | Staying relevant!"

18-19 October 2022 | Virtual

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Africa Agri Tech Conference and Exhibition

14-16 March 2023 | Sun Arena | Menlyn Maine | Pretoria

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Why join Agbiz?
  • Agbiz is the only organisation that serves the broader and common over-arching business interests of agribusinesses in South Africa.
  • Agbiz addresses the legislative and policy environment on the many fronts that it impacts on the agribusiness environment.
  • Agbiz facilitates considerable top-level networking opportunities so that South African agribusinesses can play an active and creative role within the local and international organised business environment.
  • Agbiz research provides sector-specific information for informed decision-making.
  • Agbiz newsletter publishes members' press releases and member product announcements.

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