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24 November 2022

How fiscal restraint can help dight inflation

Government support was vital to help people and firms survive pandemic lockdowns and support the economic recovery. Where inflation is high and persistent, across-the-board fiscal support is not warranted. Most governments have already dialed back pandemic support, as noted in the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) October Fiscal Monitor. With many people still struggling, governments should continue to prioritize helping the most vulnerable to cope with soaring food and energy bills and cover other costs—but governments should also avoid adding to aggregate demand that risks dialing up inflation. In many advanced and emerging economies, fiscal restraint can lower inflation while reducing debt. Read more in the linked IMF blogpost.

ANC delegates need to examine self-inflicted harm to South Africa’s farming sector

We are a few weeks away from the 55th national conference of the ANC, where new leadership will be elected and resolutions will be adopted on critical policy matters. Agricultural policy is likely to be among the prominent topics discussed at the conference, with burning issues of food security and land reform receiving much attention. The July 2022 policy conference outcome offers clues to the ANC’s approach to agriculture, food security, and land reform matters. It is widely accepted that agriculture is a vital sector of the SA economy, especially the rural economy, as it has the potential to lift many South Africans out of poverty through increased production and rapid, responsible, and effective land reform. The ANC’s overall position on the agricultural sector gives us much-needed hope that there will be policy certainty and that more investments could flow into this critical sector of the economy. However, in SA good political intentions, speeches and debates do not always translate into favourable outcomes. Read more in the linked article by Wandile Sihlobo and Prof. Johann Kirsten, professor in agricultural economics at Stellenbosch University, written for and first published in Business Day.

Agbiz participates at Stats SA’s African Statistics Day

On Friday, November 18, 2022, Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) commemorated African Statistics Day. The African Statistics Day was adopted in May 1990 by the 16th Meeting of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa Conference of African Ministers for Planning and Economic Development. This day is celebrated annually, and the theme for 2022 was “Strengthening data systems by modernizing the production and use of agricultural statistics: informing policies to improve resilience in #agriculture, nutrition & food security in Africa”. Agbiz chief economist and member of the Council of Statistics South Africa participated in the event alongside Mr Joe de Beer, deputy director general: of Economic Statistics of Stats SA, Ellen Manyani, Director of Statistics and Economic Analysis at the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) and Christo van der Rheede, Executive Director of Agri SA. The event reflected on South Africa’s agricultural statistics and the gaps that need to be filled. In the discussions, Sihlobo emphasized the need for a complete agricultural census, including smallholder farmers, as this will improve policy making and various development programmes design. He also noted that Stats SA should be fully funded (by the government) to do this work and further pointed out that Stats SA should ideally also be providing land patterns stats if there was sufficient funding. Sihlobo also noted that South African policymakers should ensure that they use Stats SA reports and that the country commits to evidence-based policymaking to ensure long-term development


Initial impressions on the impact of the early summer rains on SA agriculture

The start of South Africa's 2022/23 summer season has brought heavy rains across most regions with varied agricultural implications. For the horticultural industry, specifically fruit, we have been keenly watching whether the heavy rains would damage the orchards. Fortunately, there hasn't been any significant damage thus far to our knowledge. This is with the exception of damage in banana and macadamia fields in some areas of Mpumalanga following heavy winds and rains. Positively, the rains have improved the dam levels, which will be helpful for irrigation. In the livestock industry, however, there is an increased risk of diseases with heavy rains that tend to be followed by significantly warm temperatures. In the linked article, Agbiz chief economist Wandile Sihlobo discusses this topic.

The International Grains Council maintained a roughly unchanged picture of 2022/23 grains and oilseeds from October forecasts

Last week, the International Grains Council (IGC) released its monthly update of the 2022/23 global grains and oilseeds production forecast. The numbers remain roughly unchanged from October estimates, with the exception of wheat and soybeans. Wheat production estimates were revised down marginally, while soybeans were lifted. On balance, this left the overall grain production volumes unchanged from the estimate released at the end of October. In this now, we briefly highlight the estimates. The IGC maintained a broadly optimistic view of the 2022/23 global grains and oilseeds production, estimated at 2,26 billion tonnes, which is roughly unchanged from October data. This harvest is only 1% lower than the 2021/22 season but still the second-largest crop on record. Read more in the linked article by Wandile Sihlobo.

Heavy rains in SA agriculture

In this week’s podcast segment, agricultural economist Wandile Sihlobo shares his observations of how the heavy rains in South Africa influence farm activity. He provides granular insights into each agricultural subsector. For example, the rains have had a mixed impact on fruits, where Banana and macadamia fields were distracted in parts of Mpumalanga. In contrast, the overall country and other fruits were left untouched. In the field crops, the sugarcane fields thrive in these rains, while maize farmers in the Free State are experiencing excessively wet conditions that delay plantings. He also dives into the livestock industry issues, outlining possibilities of disease occurrences in this period.

Broadly, this week’s segment is a necessary update on South Africa’s agricultural conditions from an on-the-ground perspective. Please click here to listen to the podcast.


Internet fraud can be costly

The costs associated with fraud in the grain and oilseed value chain are not only the direct monetary losses of millions of rands. It also disrupts everyone who gets involved in trying to tackle the crime as it costs time that rather could be given to operational matters. Businesses are not always knowledgeable in tackling crime after it happened. In the linked article, written for and first published in Landbouweekblad, Agbiz Grain general manager Wessel Lemmer, discusses this topic.


Twelve fastest growing economies in Africa

Africa's economy started recovering in 2021 following the disastrous consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. Its gross domestic output increased significantly in 2021 by an estimated 6.9%. The anticipated real GDP growth for Africa in 2021 was higher than both the global average and other regions' growth rates. Four of Africa's top six countries had an increase in their Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) readings, indicating an improvement in economic activity. Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa's PMI values in 2021 (which collectively accounted for 52% of Africa's GDP in 2021) were usually over the 50-point threshold and closer to pre-pandemic levels. This comes after the continent saw a 1.6% shrinkage brought on by the pandemic in 2020. North Africa (11.7%) and East Africa (4.8%) had the fastest growth. The increase was ascribed to the recovery in oil prices and global demand as well as the uptick in household spending and investment in the majority of nations following the easing of restrictions. The linked article takes a look at the fastest growing economies in Africa.

We need multilateral cooperation and solidarity more than ever

In a lecture delivered to the Lowy Institute in Sydney, Australia, on 22 November, Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala warned that the multilateral trading system was under growing threat from fragmentation and decoupling, which “would not just be economically costly: it would leave all countries more vulnerable to the global commons problems that now represent some of the biggest threats to our lives and livelihoods. Please click here to peruse.

Rain returning to the northeast

A number of rain-producing systems moved across the country during the last few days, but rainfall was less extensive and totals generally lower than during the preceding weeks. More significant and extensive rainfall is however expected during the coming weekend, focusing on the northeastern half of the summer rainfall region and including the summer-grain production region. Scattered to widespread thundershowers are expected as an upper-air trough moves through during the weekend. Following the system, current forecasts indicate a return to typical mid-summer conditions with isolated to scattered thundershowers over the summer rainfall region, but no intense system causing widespread heavy rainfall at this stage according to forecast models, after the weekend. Large-scale atmospheric circulation patterns are not expected to be particularly favorable for widespread rainfall during the remainder of next week according to current forecasts and it should be somewhat warmer with only isolated to scattered thundershowers over the central to eastern parts. Please click here to access the latest edition of Cumulus, published by AgriSeker.

Cargo movement update from BUSA

Operationally, South Africa's commercial ports reported issues around equipment breakdowns and shortages, adverse weather conditions, backlogs, and congestion. All of our national ports experienced a very challenging week as delays impacted port operations throughout the week. A system failure originating in the server room at Pier 1 caused extensive delays earlier this week as all operations, especially on the waterside, were affected. In addition, the Eastern Cape ports were also affected by adverse weather conditions as NCT and GCT were windbound for extended periods throughout the week. Furthermore, in Richards Bay on Monday, two vessel movements were delayed for six and seven hours, respectively, while Tuesday saw another three vessel movements delayed due to adverse weather conditions. In the global container shipping industry, falling rates and oversupply (resulting in active capacity management) are currently the prevailing characteristics typifying the global container industry. Fortunately, port congestion is easing, resulting in a return to maritime fluidity in most areas. Please click here to access the latest BUSA Covid-19 Cargo Movement Update.

Maputo cold store will open up new avenues for 2023 South African citrus exports

At the Matola Cargo Terminal in Mozambique, The Logistics Group and FPT have started construction of the Maputo Cold Store and a fruit consolidation hub. It is planned to be ready in time for next year’s citrus season. Currently fruit can only be loaded at ambient temperature from the port of Maputo. “Initially Matola Cargo Terminal FPT will have chilled (non-cold treatment) 1,500 pallet slots from end of April 2023,” says Anton Potgieter, CEO of The Logistics Group. “If requirements and interest from the industry grows, we will further invest by racking the facility to 4,500 pallets.” The Logistics Group will invest R120 million (6.68 million euros) to rebuild their subsidiary Matola Cargo Terminal (MCT) after a devastating fire in February this year. Read more in the linked article, first published on FreshPlaza.

New Citrus World Statistics publication boosts citrus sector information exchange in the World Citrus Organisation

This month the World Citrus Organisation (WCO) released a new publication, ‘Citrus World Statistics’, for WCO members to boost citrus sector information exchange. The extensive publication compiled by CIRAD covers global citrus data for the period summer 2021 to winter 2021-2022. The Citrus World Statistics publication is part of the Organisation’s objective in its 2022-2024 Strategy to share citrus information in knowledge exchange exercises to foster global citrus collaboration. As part of the WCO’s commitment to provide a platform for open dialogue and action for the global citrus sector, the Organisation released a new publication, ‘Citrus World Statistics’ this month, exclusive to WCO members. The extensive 52-page publication compiled by CIRAD outlines statistical citrus data for the summer 2021 and winter 2021-22 citrus seasons on production, exports, seasons, imports, and consumption for all citrus as well as oranges, easy peelers, lemons, grapefruit and limes. Read more in the linked article, published on the World Citrus Organisation's website


FPEF elects new leadership at AGM

Agbiz congratulates the new Fresh Produce Exporters Forum (FPEF) chairperson Mark Jensen and vice-chairperson Adolf Kieviet on their appointment. The FPEF held its AGM on 17 November 2023 in Paarl and Wolfe Braude, Agbiz Fruit Desk manager, attended. The hybrid event saw two-thirds of AGM members participate in person, with the remainder streaming the session. A set of new board members were further elected. FPEF members account for over 90% of fresh fruit exported from South Africa. As the Fresh Produce Export Council is registered with the dtic, a dtic representative acts as an ex-officio member on the board, in the person of Luke Govender for 2023. The guest speaker for the 2023 AGM was Andrew Shaw, chief strategy and planning officer at Transnet. He outlined progress and constraints in the logistics sector – and highlighted Transnet’s efforts to improve the functioning of ports and rail, decrease vandalism and theft, and bring current private-public partnerships (PPPs) that have been initiated, to fruition. It is expected that by the middle of 2023 significant progress will have been made with regard to such PPPs. Agbiz and Transnet are close to finalising an Interface Agreement that will allow both parties to collaborate closely in respect of planning for the improved movement of agricultural products across the country. Logistics comprise a key component of overall costs for agricultural producers in both the local and export markets, and any inefficiencies can particularly impact perishable products – in terms of quality and market value, and adherence to contractual terms. With SA producers competing globally, the potential for poor logistics to comprise a ‘self-imposed non-tariff barrier’ are high. Agbiz and Transnet aim through their partnership and collaboration, to improve the export competitiveness of SA’s agricultural sector.

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.


Croplife Hybrid Conference

Theme: "Impact of the EU Green Deal on Agriculture"

24 November 2022 | Lord Charles Hotel | Somerset West

More information


Export Forum

Theme: "Manufacturing our future"

28-29 November 2022 | CSIR | Pretoria

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SAFA Online Seminar

Theme: Competitiveness through sustainability

2 December 2022 | 9:00 | Online seminar

More information: safa@safeedlot.co.za

Africa Annual Summit on: AgriTech and Climate Smart Agriculture, 2022

7-8 December 2022 | Irene Farm |Centurion

More information

Nedbank Vinpro Information Day

19 January 2023 | Cape Town International Convention Centre | Cape Town

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Xth International Symposium on Irrigation of Horticultural Crops

29 January-2 February 2023 | Stellenbosch

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Africa Agri Tech Conference and Exhibition

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

More information

Why join Agbiz?
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