25 June 2021
President Ramaphosa announces the establishment of Transnet National Ports Authority
President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced the establishment of the Transnet National Ports Authority as an independent subsidiary of Transnet on Tuesday. This will mean the establishment of an independent National Ports Authority as a wholly owned subsidiary of Transnet, with its own board appointed by the minister of public enterprises. The president was speaking in Cape Town on Tuesday following a tour of the port. The establishment of the Transnet National Ports Authority as an independent subsidiary of Transnet, in line with the National Ports Act of 2005.“This will create a clear separation between the roles of the infrastructure owner, which is the Transnet National Ports Authority, and the terminal operator, which is Transnet Port Terminals,” President Ramaphosa said. “The functional and legal separation of these roles, which are currently operating divisions of the same company, will enable each to be fulfilled more independently and with greater efficiency.” Please click here to read a transcript of President Ramaphosa's announcement.
Custodianship of land can be a burden too heavy for the state to bear
The ad hoc committee tasked with amending section 25 of the constitution was due to submit its report to the National Assembly on May 31, but obtained an extension until the end of August. The reason? Political parties on the committee asked for more time to deliberate on what the amendment bill should look like. The bill that was published for public comment stuck to the committee’s original mandate, namely to make explicit that just and equitable compensation for expropriation can be nil. However, there have now been calls for an amendment that would place all land under the custodianship of the state — hence the need for further deliberations. This is problematic, and we illustrate here why. Read more in the linked article by Theo Boshoff, Wandile Sihlobo and Prof. Johann Kirsten, written for and first published in Business Day.
Farming – a hazardous occupation
Farming is recognised as an occupation that requires a multitude of skills. Apart from a thorough understanding of agricultural techniques, these skills more often than not also require an intimate knowledge of tasks related to engineering, economics, human resource management, cost accounting, logistics management and marketing. Most farmers are also exposed to substantially more risks than those encountered in other industries. First and foremost is the unpredictability of the climate, which has been exacerbated by global warming and the depletion of the earth’s ozone layer. This has become manifested in erratic and shifting weather patterns.A recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicts a significant decline in global crop yields every decade into the future, with literally millions of hectares of cultivated land being phased out annually. The effects of climate change are frightening and include drought, excessively high temperatures, flooding, seasons that shift and partially overlap, insect infestations and superstorms. Read more in the linked article by Dr Roelof Botha.
Small towns are collapsing across South Africa. How it’s starting to affect farming 
Farming and agribusiness play a crucial role in sustaining the economies of small towns and rural areas. There is a lot of evidence of this in the economic literature and in the popular media. This dependency has its inherent risks. International literature tends to focus on the devastation of small towns in times of drought or when farming lobby groups argue for particular policies. In South Africa, a different pattern has emerged. This is when municipalities fail to provide basic services to their communities and businesses. These services include water and sanitation, electricity, roads and technological infrastructure. Agbiz chief economist Wandile Sihlobo explores this subject in the linked article, written for and first published on The Conversation.
Here are the challenges constraining faster and more inclusive growth in South Africa's agriculture
The current growth momentum in South Africa's agricultural sector, is not just a development of the past two seasons. If one casts an eye back to 2010, just two years before the official publication of the National Development Plan, the agriculture sector's aggregate volume of production in 2020 was 19% higher compared with that year. This was spread across all subsectors, i.e., horticulture, animal products and field crops – although at varying levels, with field crops having shown more modest growth. If there is one thing the sector could be faulted on over the past decade, it is that focus on the inclusion of new black farmers into the commercial level has taken somewhat of a backseat. Read more in Wandile Sihlobo's article, written for and first published on Fin24.
Zimbabwe should improve its maize yields
Zimbabwe will not be a basket case this year, thanks to an expansion in agricultural plantings and favourable rainfall. In a recent report, the United States Department of Agriculture reaffirmed its view that Zimbabwe’s 2020/21 maize crop could amount to 2,7 million tonnes, almost 200% from the 907,628 tonnes produced in the previous season. Notably, this is the largest harvest since 1984/85. With Zimbabwe’s annual maize needs at roughly 2,0 million tonnes, there will be enough, and the country could even export if needs be, something that would be the first since 2001, when the country last exported maize. These expectations of a good harvest last month prompted the Zimbabwean Agricultural Marketing Authority to stop issuing import permits for maize and maize meal to local grain millers. Read more in the linked article by Wandile Sihlobo.
BUSA Covid-19: cargo movement update
This BUSA Covid-19: Cargo Movement Update – the 43rd of its kind – contains a consolidated overview of the South African supply chain and the current state of international trade. South Africa's commercial ports are trying to keep up with the demand posed by the increased refrigerated outbound volumes and equipment limitations. Durban's container terminal especially has been affected, so much so that Transnet advised that the number of free days allowed for imported general purpose containers will be extended temporarily from 3,25 days to 4,25 days. Hopefully, this initiative will help ease some congestion on the water and landside operations of the port. In addition, the disruptions caused by the lack of Port Health Officials at border posts seem to be easing this week compared to last week, although several border posts have still been closed since yesterday until further notice. Please click here to peruse.
Signing of South Africa-Chinese lemon protocol will attract R325 million new export revenue and secure 800 jobs 
The Citrus Growers’ Association of South Africa welcomes the recent signing of a revised citrus protocol between South Africa and China by Minister of Agriculture, Land Affairs and Rural Development Thoko Didiza.
With local lemon production expected to grow by 175 000 metric tons by 2024, the finalisation of the revised protocol means China will now become a critical new market for this growth and will secure R325 million in new export revenue and secure 800 jobs in the industry. The revised protocol was six years in the making, following a request submitted by the citrus industry to exempt lemons from the current regulatory requirements for false coddling moth (FCM) in light of the category not being a host for the pest. Read more in the linked CGA media statement.
Two decades after land grab, Zimbabwe starts paying farmers
Zimbabwe made its first compensation payment as part of an agreement to settle a dispute with White commercial farmers who had their land seized violently two decades ago. The state-linked Kuvimba Mining House Ltd. transferred $1 million to the farmers as the government asked for a delay in paying the full $3.5 billion compensation it had agreed to a year ago. While the payment is a fraction of that agreed to, resolving the dispute is key to the country pulling out of the economic stagnation that the seizures, ordered by then-President Robert Mugabe triggered. Exports plunged, relations with multilateral lenders were severed, the US and the European Union imposed sanctions and Zimbabwe experienced a bout of hyperinflation. Read more in the linked article, first published on Daily Maverick.
Robot farmers could improve jobs and help fight climate change
Farming robots that can move autonomously in an open field or greenhouse promise a cleaner, safer agricultural future. But there are also potential downsides, from the loss of much-needed jobs to the safety of those working alongside the robots. To ensure that the use of autonomous robots on farms creates more benefits than losses, a process of responsible development is required. Society as a whole needs to be involved in setting the trajectories for future farming. Read more in the linked article, first published on The Conversation.
Omnia on acquisition hunt after paying off debt
Chemicals, fertiliser and explosives group Omnia expects to make acquisitions in Asia or North America with the group having accumulated R1.8bn in cash in the year to end-March. CEO Seelan Gobalsamy, a former executive at Liberty Holdings, Stanlib and Old Mutual who has led a turnaround of the company’s fortunes since he joined in September 2018, told Business Day that the company was looking to buy new businesses that complemented its core agricultural and mining assets. Read more in the linked article, first published in Business Day.
CGA's Grower Development Company turns five
This year the Citrus Growers’ Association Grower Development Company (CGA-GDC) turns five years old! This auspicious occasion calls for the celebration of our company’s achievements and programmes, while also celebrating the most recent developments
in the citrus industry, including access to new
markets and growth in production figures amongst black citrus growers. The need for a special purpose vehicle dedicated to addressing the many challenges faced by black citrus growers was identified following a survey amongst 118 black growers in 2013/14. These challenges included lack of access to land, water, financing, equipment, training, farm infrastructure, mentorship and education. Read more in June issue of the CGA-GDC newsletter.
Weekly newsletter from CGA
Justin Chadwick, CEO of the Citrus Growers' Association of Southern African, shares the latest news in the citrus industry in his weekly update - From the desk of the CEO. Please click here to peruse.
The latest news from the pork industry
Read more about the latest developments and news in the pork industry in the South African Pork Producers' Organisation's (SAPPO) newsletter, SAPPO Weekly Update.
Produce Marketing Association’s (PMA’s) EU Green Deal Series
6 July 2021  | Session 3: Impact on Business and Commercial Ventures
In this session, you will learn how the EU Green Deal could impact your business and how to de-risk your business. Speakers will be announced.

Sustainability Summit 2021
21-23 September 2021 | Virtual

2021 AFMA Symposium
18-19 October 2021
Enquiries: events@afma.co.za 

Agbiz Congress 2022
22-24 June 2022 | Sun City
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.
The Agbiz Newsletter may contain a few links to websites that belong to third parties unrelated to us. By making these links available, we are not endorsing third-party websites, their content, products, services or their events. Agbiz seeks to protect the integrity of its newsletter and links used in it, and therefore welcomes any feedback.