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Farming Economics News

South Africa confirms locust outbreak in Namibia, Karoo region

By: Bloomberg     Updated 15 minutes ago A locust outbreak in Namibia and South Africa’s northwestern Karoo region may pose a threat to grazing lands in a region that’s already prone to droughts. South Africa’s Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries confirmed the outbreak of brown locusts in a newsletter published on its... 

Constitutional amendment only unlikely to deliver success, warns land panel 

By: Irma Venter     20th February 2020 South Africa had to put in place a 50- to 100-year food security plan, and then walk backwards to see what it can do to make that happen, says former Afrgri CEO Chris Venter. “However, this is not happening. We are not looking at the areas becoming increasingly drier in our country to see what we... 

Constitutional amendment only unlikely to deliver success, warns land panel

Newly launched agency plans to drive agricultural development, ensure successful land reform

By: Schalk Burger     18th February 2020 The nonprofit Agricultural Development Agency, launched on Tuesday, in Pretoria, is a cross-sector, government-supported and private-sector led initiative to develop farmers by providing technical skills and private-sector financial support and linking the farmers into supply chains to ensure... 

Newly launched agency plans to drive agricultural development, ensure successful land reform

Poultry association looking forward to tariff confirmation soon

By: Simone Liedtke     17th February 2020 The South African Poultry Association (Sapa) has welcomed President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement during his State of the Nation Address (SoNA) last week that the new tariffs on imported chicken to curb the unfair component of international trade, will be set within two weeks. Sapa GM Izaak... 

Digital transformation initiative for smallholder farmers

By: Schalk Burger     14th February 2020 The Eswatini Water and Agricultural Development Enterprise (ESWADE), in partnership with network operator Eswatini Mobile and South African agri-fintech company eSusFarm Africa, will use the eSusFarm Africa platform to provide information and services for 10 000 farmers on small-holdings. ESWADE... 

Tongaat mulls sale of its starch division

By: Simone Liedtke     13th February 2020 JSE-listed sugar producer Tongaat Hulett has entered into negotiations with regard to the potential sale of Tongaat Hulett Starch. The division is Africa’s largest producer of starch, glucose and related products. It converts more than 670 000 t/y of bought-in maize into starch and starch-based... 

TLU SA objects to forced, costly water meters for irrigation farmers

By: African News Agency      12th February 2020 In an official letter to the Minister of Water Affairs and Sanitation, Lindiwe Sisulu, TLU SA on Tuesday strongly objected to an announcement on the installation of obligatory water measuring devices for irrigation farmers. According to a notice published in the Government Gazette on 17 January,... 

Wine grape producers’ profitability improving, but some are still struggling

By: Marleny Arnoldi     10th February 2020 Industry body Vinpro says South African wine grape producers’ financial viability is improving, after a long downward cycle; however, there is still a long way towards sustainability. Vinpro conducted its Production Plan Survey among 260 wine grape producers, finding that 28% of respondents... 

'Drastic' fall in bumblebee populations shocks scientists

By: Reuters     7th February 2020 When scientist Peter Soroye first saw the figures showing estimated bumblebee populations in North America had fallen by nearly 50% in a single generation, he thought it must be a typo. He checked the numbers - the result of a long-term analysis of bumblebee populations published in the journal... 

'Drastic' fall in bumblebee populations shocks scientists

Southern African association to co-chair World Citrus Organisation

By: Marleny Arnoldi     5th February 2020 The Citrus Growers’ Association of Southern Africa (CGASA) has been appointed a co-chair of the World Citrus Organisation (WCO). This was announced during the official founding of the WCO, at the international fresh produce trade show Fruit Logistica, in Berlin, on Tuesday.  

Farmers reeling from latest bout of load-shedding 

By: News24Wire      12th December 2019 Eskom's current load-shedding has struck in the middle of the Western Cape's fruit season, further hobbling a key industry that depends on a regular electricity supply, Geoff Jacobs, president of the Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said on Wednesday. The Western Cape fruit sector earns... 

 Farmers reeling from latest bout of load-shedding

Effective drones well received by farmers

By: Tracy Hancock     6th December 2019 Local sugarcane farmers have responded positively to South Africa’s first licensed crop-spraying drone at a time when the industry is tackling a significantly challenging financial climate, says farmer-owned organisation Precision Agricultural Systems (PACSys) CEO Tim Wise. “Unfortunately, the... 

Effective drones well received by farmers
ANALYSE THIS DJI and PACSys are undertaking research and development to integrate crop health and/or management analytics with drone spraying systems to allow for “spot-spraying” applications

Sugar giant transforming business amid turmoil

By: Tracy Hancock     6th December 2019 In addition to its plans to exit sugar farming in South Africa, embattled agroprocessing business Tongaat Hulett expects to conclude a transaction to establish a transformative milling, refining and sugar marketing business by the end of this year. The developments are part of a strategic review... 

Sugar giant transforming business amid turmoil
FELIXTON MILL The initial assets of Tongaat Hulett’s transformative milling, refining and sugar marketing business have an installed capacity to produce more than one-million tons of sugar a year

IFC launches study to improve water efficiency in agriculture sector 

By: Simone Liedtke     5th December 2019 To identify opportunities for water efficiency in the agricultural sector and analyse the barriers to improvement in this area, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) has launched a study as part of its Agroprocessing Resource Efficiency Programme. In partnership with IFC’s partner,... 

IFC launches study to improve water efficiency in agriculture sector
IFC manufacturing, agribusiness and services adviser Raymond Greig

Water, land reform concerns weigh on agriculture sector's confidence 

By: Simone Liedtke     5th December 2019 The Agricultural Business Chamber and the Industrial Development Corporation Agribusiness Confidence Index declined from 46 points in the third quarter of this year to 44 index points in the fourth quarter. This level below the 50-point neutral mark, Agbiz chief economist Wandile Sihlobo told... 

Water, land reform concerns weigh on agriculture sector's confidence
Photo by Creamer Media's Dylan Slater
Agbiz chief economist Wandile Sihlobo

Partnerships help pull domestic cotton industry out of doldrums

By: Donna Slater     29th November 2019 The South African cotton industry was in decline, having reached crisis point in about 2013. On the verge of collapse, a chain of events from three seemingly unassuming roleplayers set off a chain reaction that resulted in explosive growth and substantial redevelopment for the sector into an... 

Partnerships help pull domestic cotton industry out of doldrums

Solaris-based biodiesel introduced to operations at OR Tambo

By: Simone Liedtke     28th November 2019 Various entities on Thursday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for Project Reya Foya, the follow up to Project Solaris, which will introduce Solaris-based biodiesel into the ground-handling operations at OR Tambo International Airport. Solaris is a nicotine-free tobacco plant used by... 

Solaris-based biodiesel introduced to operations at OR Tambo
A Solaris seed pod

'Perfect storm' awaits farming and fisheries if world doesn't curb emissions

By: Reuters     28th November 2019 The world needs to urgently cut its planet-warming greenhouse-gas emissions to avoid a "perfect storm" that will lead to simultaneous falls in food production from both farming and marine fisheries, researchers said. If emissions continue to rise rapidly, nearly "90% of the world's population ...... 

Making seeds to withstand climate change is getting harder

By: Bloomberg     25th November 2019 Global hunger and malnutrition are on the rise, as are temperatures and water shortages. Humanity must adapt crops to the changing climate by breeding hardier plants, but political and commercial interests continue to stymie those efforts. Sharing seeds is critical to the global food system. To... 

Gauteng outlines ambitions for climate change mitigation   

By: Natasha Odendaal     21st November 2019 After two years of development, gathering input, undertaking consultations and further refinements, the Gauteng City Region is preparing to implement an overarching Climate Change Response Strategy and Action Plan. Unveiled at the third Gauteng Climate Change Indaba, held in Pretoria, the plan... 

Gauteng outlines ambitions for climate change mitigation

SA parliament committee concerned over lack of 'tangible' drought strategy

By: African News Agency      20th November 2019 Parliament's select committee on cooperative governance and traditional affairs, water and sanitation says it is concerned at the lack of a tangible drought strategy to deal effectively with the challenges South Africa is currently facing. Last week commercial farmers said a ravaging drought had... 

SA parliament committee concerned over lack of 'tangible' drought strategy

Southern Africa drought to persist through March, FEWS NET says

By: Bloomberg     19th November 2019 Southern Africa faces further drought through March as land preparation and planting of summer crops gets underway, even after most parts of the region received near-normal rainfall through early November, according to the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET). “Seasonal forecasts... 

Bidcorp continues positive performance in first months of financial year

By: Simone Liedtke     18th November 2019 International food, service and technology group Bidcorp CEO Bernard Benson on Monday said trading conditions in the four months to October 31 had continued to be positive and was broadly in line with the performances achieved in the 2019 financial year. During a webcast presentation on Monday,... 

SA’s water shortages 

13th November 2019 Creamer Media’s Chanel de Bruyn speaks to Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Natasha Odendaal about the water supply challenges in South Africa, how government plans to address the situation and how the ongoing drought is affecting the agricultural sector.   

SA’s water shortages
SA’s water shortages

Poultry master plan broadly accepted by industry

By: Simone Liedtke     7th November 2019 President Cyril Ramaphosa this week announced a new master plan for the poultry industry, which aims to put the industry back on a growth path. The plan, which has been broadly accepted by the poultry industry, was compiled by the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC) and brokered... 

Poultry master plan broadly accepted by industry

New agricultural agency to facilitate investments worth R12.9bn  

By: Terence Creamer     6th November 2019 A new agricultural development agency will be launched in January to oversee 32 farming investments across South Africa collectively valued at R12.9-billion. Politician-turned-businessperson Roelf Meyer unveiled the venture, which has hitherto been pursued under the aegis of the Public Private... 

New agricultural agency to facilitate investments worth R12.9bn
Photo by Creamer Media's Dylan Slater
Roelf Meyer

R50m emergency drought funding approved for Western Cape farms

By: African News Agency      24th October 2019 The Western Cape cabinet has approved the release of R50 million in emergency funding to assist farms severely affected by drought.  According to the province's MEC for finance and economic opportunities, David Maynier, the release of the funding was authorised on Tuesday.  

South African organisation helps to launch World Citrus Organisation

By: Marleny Arnoldi     24th October 2019 A first of its kind World Citrus Organisation (WCO) was launched, in Madrid, Spain, this week. The organisation places citrus fruit at the same level of coordination worldwide as other fruit categories with global platforms – such as pears and apples, kiwis, avocado or red fruit. 

Agri SA, Minister agree on need for partnerships to advance growth 

By: Marleny Arnoldi     10th October 2019 With stagnant economic growth and an unemployment rate of about 29%, the pressure is increasing on the agricultural sector to contribute more to gross domestic product (GDP) and live up to its potential in the country. However, the sector is facing its own challenges, including policy... 

Agri SA, Minister agree on need for partnerships to advance growth
Agriculture Minister Thoko Didiza discusses what the sector needs to grow and Agri SA president Dan Kriek shares his view on land reform policy

Drought conditions persist in some parts of the country – Agriculture dept

By: African News Agency      9th October 2019 Below normal rainfall is anticipated over the central and south-eastern parts of South Africa during late spring, while above normal rainfall is expected during early summer to mid-summer in the central and eastern regions, the department of agriculture, forestry and fisheries said on Wednesday,... 

Drought conditions persist in some parts of the country – Agriculture dept

Land reform, climate change, cheap imports pose risks to agriculture in KZN – FNB

By: African News Agency      7th October 2019 Agriculture in KwaZulu-Natal is growing at around 12 percent per annum, driven by diversification, but there are risks to the sector posed by land expropriation, climate change and cheaper imports, First National Bank said on Monday. KwaZulu-Natal is recovering from a severe drought with... 

Drought relief for Karoo sheep farmers

By: Darren Parker     4th October 2019 Pump manufacturer Grundfos, in association with humanitarian organisation Gift of the Givers, is assisting nonprofit organisation Save the Sheep in providing relief for drought-stricken sheep farmers in Sutherland, in the Northern Cape. Borehole water in the area is usually lifted using wind... 

Drought relief for Karoo sheep farmers
SILENCE OF THE LAMBS The ongoing drought in Sutherland is killing the livelihoods of the sheep farmers in the region

South Africa should identify ‘low hanging fruits’ in tradable sectors – panel

By: Simone Liedtke     2nd October 2019 South Africa should identify the “low hanging fruits” it has in growing the country’s mining, manufacturing, agriculture and tourism sectors, economist Thabi Leoka says, dubbing these as “tradable sectors” that can help the economy grow. However, she laments that South Africa is “nearing that... 

South Africa should identify ‘low hanging fruits’ in tradable sectors – panel

John Deere invites third-party providers to join its digital platform 

By: Marleny Arnoldi     2nd October 2019 Agricultural equipment supplier John Deere sub-Saharan Africa (JD SA) on Tuesday hosted a technology day, inviting 18 solutions providers to learn more about the company’s Operations Centre (OC) platform. The OC platform comprises digital innovations to manage farming operations. 

John Deere invites third-party providers to join its digital platform
John Deere's Wayne Spaumer tells Engineering News Online about the plans for its Operations Centre offering. Video: Kutlwano Matlala; Editing: Nicholas Boyd.

Policy uncertainty continues to subdue agri-sector confidence

By: Marleny Arnoldi     16th September 2019 The Agbiz/Industrial Development Corporation Agribusiness Confidence Index marginally improved to 46 points during the third quarter of the year, compared with 44 points in the second quarter. However, with the level remaining below the neutral 50-point mark, Agbiz says agribusinesses are still... 

Policy uncertainty continues to subdue agri-sector confidence
Photo by Creamer Media's Simone Liedtke
Agbiz chief economist Wandile Sihlobo

Land Bank posts healthy results for agriculture sector, despite difficult times

By: Schalk Burger     13th September 2019 State-owned development finance institution the Land and Agricultural Development Bank of South Africa (Land Bank) grew its transformational loans to R7.9-billion and maintained a strong balance sheet in the 2018/19 financial year, despite challenging conditions in the agricultural sector, Land... 

Land Bank posts healthy results during difficult times in agriculture sector 

By: Schalk Burger     2nd September 2019 State-owned development finance institution (DFI), the Land and Agricultural Development Bank of South Africa (Land Bank), grew its transformational loans to R7.9-billion in the 2018/19 financial year. Transformational loans as a percentage of the total loan book increased from 12% in 2017/18 to... 

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