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Farming Economics News

With drought threatening food security, farmers turn to drip irrigation

By: Anine Kilian     Updated 2 hours 41 minutes ago With the recent drought in Southern Africa compounding the unpredictable impact of climate change on food production, local farmers are converting to drip irrigation in an attempt to conserve water, using less to produce more, according to Crookes Brother’s Limited (CBL) MD Guy Clarke. During a... 

Sugar industry to make the most of yield recovery

By: Robyn Wilkinson     21st July 2017 As KwaZulu-Natal’s sugar cane growers start to recover from the effects of the drought, the South African Canegrowers’ Association (SA Canegrowers) is urging the industry to remain resilient and look for opportunities to diversify their operations. 

Sugar industry to make the most of yield recovery
BOUNCING BACK The SA Canegrowers board of directors is optimistic about the 2017/18 season, with improved rainfall set to improve production levels

Farmers still face headwinds despite return to growth

By: David Oliveira     14th July 2017 Despite the recent positive news from Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) indicating that the agriculture sector had increased 22.2% in the first quarter of 2017 and that a record maize harvest is on the horizon for this year, the recent sovereign downgrades by credit agencies and news that the... 

SAB invests R2.8bn in expanding Gauteng breweries

By: Anine Kilian     11th July 2017 Multinational beverage and brewing company Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB-InBev) subsidiary South African Breweries (SAB) will invest R2.8-billion into brewery expansions, including two new packaging lines for returnable glass bottles, at its Alrode and Rosslyn breweries, in Gauteng. During a media... 

SAB invests R2.8bn in expanding Gauteng breweries
AB-InBev Africa president Ricardo Tadeu

South Africa faces land reform dilemma, partnership is key

By: Natasha Odendaal     5th July 2017 South Africa is facing a land reform dilemma, with the redistribution of land having progressed well below expectations and with much of the land already transferred falling into an economic abyss. Of the estimated 5.9-million hectares of functional farms that had been transferred, up to 90% have... 

South Africa faces land reform dilemma, partnership is key

Learning from, replicating land reform successes a better option than land grabs – Hanekom

By: Natasha Odendaal     5th July 2017 Expropriation of land without compensation will result in serious damage to the economy and is fundamentally unjust, Member of Parliament and former Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom reiterated on Wednesday. Speaking at the Agribusiness Africa conference, in Kempton Park, he said that while the... 

Learning from, replicating land reform successes a better option than land grabs – Hanekom
Photo by Duane Daws
Derek Hanekom

Fly-farm venture mulls two more SA sites, appoints heavy hitters as it expands

By: Irma Venter     4th July 2017 Waste-to-nutrient group AgriProtein will expand its presence in South Africa with two new fly-farming sites, while also growing its research and development function in the country, says CEO Jason Drew. AgriProtein started operations in Cape Town in 2015, launching the world’s first... 

Fly-farm venture mulls two more SA sites, appoints heavy hitters as it expands

South African culls 260 000 birds so far to contain bird flu outbreak – Zokwana

By: Reuters     29th June 2017 South Africa has culled 260 000 birds so far to contain an H5N8 bird flu outbreak, Agriculture Minister Senzeni Zokwana told a news briefing on Thursday. South Africa has confirmed outbreaks of avian flu, which is often transmitted by wild birds, on at least two farms. Zimbabwe, Namibia and... 

DTI to implement policy interventions to curb poultry industry losses

By: Megan van Wyngaardt     28th June 2017 Rather than make findings on the current state of the poultry industry and the ongoing challenges it faces owing to the dumping of imported chicken products, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), together with the government-led Poultry Task Team, which was established in January, would... 

Govt launches R1bn agroprocessing investment support programme

By: Megan van Wyngaardt     28th June 2017 Government’s R1-billion agroprocessing support scheme (APSS), aimed at supporting brown- and greenfield investments in the local industry, was launched by Trade and Industry Minister Dr Rob Davies at the Africa Big 7 Food Forum and Saitex, in Midrand, on Wednesday. The APSS further seeks to... 

Omnia FY17 results pinched by tough economy

By: Megan van Wyngaardt     27th June 2017 Chemicals producer Omnia on Tuesday reported a drop in headline earnings a share to 881c for the year ended March 31, from 944c in the prior financial year, owing to a tough economic environment. This resulted in an 8% drop in its profit before tax, to R856-million. 

Omnia FY17 results pinched by tough economy
Photo by Duane Daws
Omnia chairperson Rod Humphris

Rooibos Limited faces abuse of dominance charge

By: Megan van Wyngaardt     19th June 2017 South Africa’s largest rooibos producer Rooibos Limited has been referred to the Competition Tribunal for prosecution, for allegedly abusing its dominance and engaging in uncompetitive behaviour. Historically, rooibos tea processors obtained their supply from farmers through one-year supply... 

Rooibos Limited faces abuse of dominance charge

Agribusiness confidence index remains in expansionary territory despite marginal Q2 decline

By: Anine Kilian     12th June 2017 The Agbiz/ Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) Agribusiness Confidence Index declined by one Index point to 56 points in the second quarter of this year. Despite the slight decline in confidence, the sector remains in expansionary territory. 

Department of Public Works to hand over land to black farmers

By: Megan van Wyngaardt     12th June 2017 Public Works Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko has handed over letters of intent to grant property rights to 30 emerging black farmers in Tafelkop, in Limpopo, with four pieces of land, amounting to 220 ha, having been subdivided into farming plots. The beneficiaries of the land will use the properties... 

Department of Public Works to hand over land to black farmers

Grain SA starts aid initiative to assist farmers

By: Megan van Wyngaardt     9th June 2017 Grain SA has launched a drought aid project aimed at collecting at least 15 000 t of white or yellow maize from its grain-producing members to be distributed to livestock farmers over three to four months. This follows an initiative launched by a group of farmers in the Hoopstad area to raise... 

Grain SA starts aid initiative to assist farmers

High Court rejects Farmers Trust’s appeal in fresh produce competition investigation 

By: Megan van Wyngaardt     12th May 2017 The High Court of South Africa has dismissed an application by Farmers Trust to set aside the Competition Commission’s search warrant in an investigation into alleged cartel and price-fixing conduct by fresh produce market agents. The failed bid followed a search and seizure operation conducted... 

High Court rejects Farmers Trust’s appeal in fresh produce competition investigation

New twist in compensation saga for dispossessed Zimbabwe farmers

By: African News Agency      10th May 2017 In a new twist in the saga over compensation of white farmers who were ejected from their farms in Zimbabwe, two groups of dispossessed landowners have emerged, one of which argues that government is not liable and should not pay for land. Invasions of white-owned farms in Zimbabwe began in 2000... 

New twist in compensation saga for dispossessed Zimbabwe farmers

Agriculture sector needs to be globally competitive to survive

By: African News Agency      5th May 2017 Job losses were inevitable if the agricultural sector was not globally competitive and not supported by government, the World Economic Forum on Africa heard yesterday. Speaking on the sidelines of the WEF event in Durban, Mauricio Adade, board chairperson of Africa Improved Foods, said: “It’s... 

Saudi Arabia to host the Middle East’s first fly farm

By: Irma Venter     5th May 2017 The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is to host the Middle East’s first fly farm, following the completion of a licensing deal between Saudi technology hub Sajt and waste-to-nutrient group AgriProtein. The agreement signals the start of a new industry for the region, namely the commercial-scale... 

DAFF pledges support for a game changing NWU food and energy security project

By: Mia Breytenbach     26th April 2017 The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) has pledged its support for the SUNfarming Food & Energy project at the North-West University (NWU), in Potchefstroom, in the North West province, which promotes the growing of and provides an opportunity to grow affordable and... 

DAFF pledges support for a game changing NWU food and energy security project
Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Senzeni Zokwana and Faculty of Engineering Dean Prof LJ Grobler at the SUNfarming Food & Energy project

Land Bank sets aside R1bn to support black farming investments in 2017  

By: Terence Creamer     20th April 2017 South Africa’s Land Bank has set a target of disbursing “at least” R1-billion in 2017/18 to support investments by black entrepreneurs in the agricultural sector and to begin transforming a loan book that is still overwhelmingly composed of funding to established commercial farmers. Should the... 

Land Bank sets aside R1bn to support black farming investments in 2017
Land Bank CEO TP Nchocho on plans to increase the pace and scale of support for black farmers. Camera Work: Nicholas Boyd. Editing: Lionel da Silva. Recorded: 20.04.2014

Local macadamia association spreads footprint through Chinese MoU

By: Megan van Wyngaardt     18th April 2017 The South African Macadamia Grower’s Association (Samac) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the China National Industry Association’s (CSNC’s) specialised committee for nuts and roasted seeds to enhance cooperation in the nuts and roaster industries of the two countries. Signed... 

Fresh produce markets, agents critical to enabling market access – association

By: Megan van Wyngaardt     12th April 2017 The agency system of sales in the South African fresh product market is “definitely not under siege”, as suggested by the recent Competition Commission raids, say Produce Marketing Association Southern Africa GM Lindie Stroebel and ZZ2 CEO Tommie van Zyl. The commission, last month, held search... 

Fresh produce markets, agents critical to enabling market access – association

Fire damage to Western Cape agri sector nearly R200m

By: Megan van Wyngaardt     12th April 2017 The Western Cape Department of Agriculture says that, based on questionnaires distributed to farmers in the region, around R192.3-million in fire damage has been reported in the Hessequa and George regions. “We received feedback from 79 farms. The data shows that infrastructure, crops, livestock,... 

Fire damage to Western Cape agri sector nearly R200m

South Africa’s credit rating downgrade will also hit SADC region, says AgriSA

By: African News Agency      11th April 2017 AgriSA said on Tuesday that the impact of South Africa’s foreign currency credit rating downgrades was likely to be felt outside of the country’s borders and would have an impact in the Southern African region as a whole. South Africa’s foreign currency credit rating was downgraded to junk status... 

FairPlay appoints Richard Goldstone as patron, sets its sights on ending chicken dumping

By: Megan van Wyngaardt     10th April 2017 Former Constitutional Court judge Justice Richard Goldstone has joined antidumping organisation FairPlay, which was formed to oppose the illegal and job-destroying practice of selling goods below the cost of production, as its patron. FairPlay’s first project will be to focus on stopping the... 

FairPlay appoints Richard Goldstone as patron, sets its sights on ending chicken dumping

Downgrade to junk status will impact on food security – Agbiz

By: Megan van Wyngaardt     7th April 2017 Standard & Poor’s (S&P’s) decision to downgrade South Africa’s sovereign debt to junk status will have a significant impact on the country’s agribusiness sector, with a knock-on effect on consumers, agricultural business chamber Agbiz said on Friday. CEO Dr John Purchase explained that the... 

Competition Commission pursues prosecution of seed potato supplier, agent 

By: Megan van Wyngaardt     4th April 2017 The Competition Commission has asked the Competition Tribunal to prosecute Netherlands-based seed potato breeder HZPC Holland and its exclusive South African distributor Wesgro Potatoes for the alleged abuse of dominance in supplying Mondial seed potatoes varietal in the country. Wesgro has an... 

Need for industry growth must be recognised

By: Robyn Wilkinson     31st March 2017 More favourable economic conditions for sugar cane production and processing need to be fostered in South Africa to protect and grow a sector that contributes an average R12-billion to the economy and provides about 350 000 jobs in the country, say industry associations the South African Cane... 

Need for industry growth must be recognised
Photo by Duane Daws
REMAINING GLOBALLY RELEVANT South Africa needs to protect its positon as a globally competitive producer of high-quality sugar

Sugar tax threatens sugar industry survival

By: Robyn Wilkinson     31st March 2017 The South African Treasury’s proposal to introduce a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) later this year threatens the sustainability and survival of a sugar industry already under strain, says South African Sugar Association (Sasa) executive director Trix Trikam. 

Western Cape budgets for drought relief

By: Megan van Wyngaardt     29th March 2017 The Western Cape government has set aside R797-million for its Department of Agriculture in the 2017/18 financial year. Of this, R47-million was allocated towards drought relief, with a special focus on emerging entrepreneurs. “In 2015, South Africa recorded its lowest rainfall in a calendar year... 

Western Cape budgets for drought relief

DAFF to assist agricultural sector increase production  

By: Anine Kilian     17th March 2017 The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) plans to boost agricultural production, which was severely affected by the drought in recent years. Addressing delegates at the Agricultural Research Symposium 2017 in Centurion, Gauteng, on Friday, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries... 

Joburg rooftop gardens bringing agriculture to heart of city living

By: Schalk Burger     17th March 2017 Food shapes the daily patterns of city life, and food production in urban and peri-urban areas is increasingly regarded as integral to resilient and sustainable city region food systems, says United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (UN FAO) director general José Graziano da Silva. “In... 

Joburg rooftop gardens bringing agriculture to heart of city living

Urban agriculture pilot project hints at potential 

     16th March 2017 The vegetable garden on the roof of the Kotze street shelter, in Braamfontein, is part of a pilot project series of urban gardens to improve food security for the more vulnerable people in the city. Schalk Burger has the story. 

Urban agriculture pilot project hints at potential
Urban agriculture pilot project hints at potential

Global agriculture innovators vie for top honours at Future Agro Challenge awards 

By: Megan van Wyngaardt     13th March 2017 Two South African innovators in the agriculture industry, Reel Gardening and Meat Naturally, will on Wednesday battle it out against 48 other agripreneurs for the title of Agripreneur of the Year. As part of agriculture innovation hub Future Agro Challenge’s (FAC’s) Global Championships, held in... 

Global agriculture innovators vie for top honours at Future Agro Challenge awards
FAC co-founder Carla Tanas speaks about the background of the awards. Video and editing: Nicholas Boyd 13/03/17

Tongaat’s sugar, maize output to rise on improved rainfall

By: Megan van Wyngaardt     10th March 2017 Tongaat Hulett’s sugar production is expected to increase significantly over the next two years, as the company recovers from the adverse conditions, including drought, in the past two years. Based on good rainfall, the agriculture and agroprocessing business’s South African division is expected... 

Tongaat’s sugar, maize output to rise on improved rainfall

Government won’t allow poultry industry to be ‘decimated’ - Davies 

By: Terence Creamer     2nd March 2017 Trade and Industry Minister Dr Rob Davies is adamant that government will not stand by while its poultry industry is “decimated”, but acknowledges that there are also issues of industry competitiveness that should be addressed. Speaking this week during the Economic Sectors, Employment and... 

Government won’t allow poultry industry to be ‘decimated’ - Davies
Poultry workers and management during a recent march to the EU Delegation in Pretoria, to protest the dumping of bone-in chicken
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