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Farming Economics News

Wine industry under pressure amid subdued economy

By: Megan van Wyngaardt     20th January 2017 While the local wine market has grown more than 14%, or by 50-million litres, over the past two years, to more than 400-million litres at the end of December, continued pressure on the local economy could hamper the industry’s future growth. The wine industry is currently in a slump, with only... 

Scientists use high-tech methods to deliver accurate agricultural information

By: Schalk Burger     20th January 2017 Scientists at the Agricultural Research Council (ARC) are using high-technology methods to provide accurate information and research for the agricultural sector, such as the use of genomics to significantly and rapidly improve breeding of animals and plants, and using high precision mapping to... 

Scientists use high-tech methods to deliver accurate  agricultural information
STANDARDISED PRECIPITATION INDEX 2010 – 2014 The gradual shift in dry areas can be observed on the 36-month time scale from June 2010 to June 2014

Consumers will find relief in maize, chicken prices; red meat prices to rise

By: Megan van Wyngaardt     19th January 2017 Maize production in the current season, which ends in April, is estimated to reach more than 12-million tonnes, up from the 7.5-million tonnes in the previous season, which could bring some relief to consumers. “The good rainfalls South Africa has experienced since October last year has restored... 

Consumers will find relief in maize, chicken prices; red meat prices to rise

South African maize planting area seen a third larger as rains return

By: Reuters     18th January 2017 South African farmers have planted a third more hectares with maize this season following increased rainfall and favourable climate conditions, a Reuters poll showed on Wednesday. South Africa's Crop Estimates Committee (CEC) is expected to forecast the planted area at 2.6-million hectares, up... 

SA fly-farm venture secures funding for global expansion

By: Irma Venter     12th January 2017 Cape Town-based waste-to-protein producer AgriProtein says it has secured $17.5-million of further capital from its key strategic partners to fund the company’s expansion into Europe, North America and Asia.   The new investment values the fly-farming venture at more than $117-million.   The new... 

SA fly-farm venture secures funding for global expansion
The Black Soldier fly

Eskom business competition boosts local agriculture business

By: Megan van Wyngaardt     19th December 2016 A Makhado-based agriculture outfit, the Vhumatshelo Crop Farming Cooperative, has received a R450 000 grant, from the Limpopo Department of Social Development (DSD), to further grow their operations, The cooperative was recognised after performing well in their category in the yearly Eskom... 

Fawu promises protests against poultry imports in 2017

By: African News Agency      17th December 2016 The Food and Allied Workers Union (Fawu) on Friday promised to continue mass protests against poultry imports in 2017, dismissing a recent import tariff hike as being too little, too late. Fawu national secretary Katisha Masemola said in a statement released on Friday that it welcomed a recently... 

Fawu promises protests against poultry imports in 2017

Southern Africa faces worst drought in decades

By: African News Agency      8th December 2016 Nearly 14-million people in southern Africa are in need of emergency humanitarian assistance as the region faces the worst El Nino induced drought in decades. United Nations (UN humanitarian agencies and partners launched a revised action plan to outlining their response to the needs of an... 

Southern Africa faces worst drought in decades

RCL Foods, union protest against rising chicken imports

By: Megan van Wyngaardt     7th December 2016 RCL Foods on Wednesday joined the Food and Allied Workers Union in a march in Pietermartizburg to protest against the ongoing threats to job security as a result of what it says is the increased dumping of imported chicken on the South African market. Some 350 protesters marched from the Mayors... 

RCL Foods, union protest against rising chicken imports

Project Solaris starts first local seed selection 

     1st December 2016 South African seed selection for research and development company Sunchem’s solaris crop – a nicotine-free tobacco variety that yields significant amounts of sustainable oil for biojet fuel feedstock – has started taking place locally for the first time since the launch of Project Solaris in 2014. 

Project Solaris starts first local seed selection
Project Solaris starts first local seed selection

Agribusiness to face several challenges in the new year – Agbiz

By: Anine Kilian     25th November 2016 The South African agribusiness environment will be faced with various challenges in 2017, especially in terms of engaging with key land reform legislation, according to Agricultural Business Chamber (Agbiz) CEO Dr John Purchase, who delivered an agricultural industry forecast for 2017 on Friday.... 

Signs of hope in South Africa’s struggling agriculture sector  

By: Anine Kilian     25th November 2016 The agriculture sector contributes about 1.6% to South Africa’s gross domestic product (GDP), below the 2.2% contribution that is needed for the sector to remain sustainable, Agricultural Business Chamber (Agbiz) CEO Dr John Purchase said on Friday. Addressing delegates at a conference focused on... 

Signs of hope in South Africa’s struggling agriculture sector
AGbiz CEO John Purchase talks to Engineering New Online about land reform and the redistribution of land. Camerawork and Editing: Nicholas Boyd.

Inside the South Africa leg of Unilever’s globally recognised push for sustainability

By: Dylan Slater     25th November 2016 For the third consecutive year, consumer goods manufacturer Unilever has been rated as the Number 1 Top Employer in the manufacturing sector as well as the Number 1 Top Employer in the fast moving consumer goods sector in Africa by the Top Employers Institute. 

Inside the South Africa leg of Unilever’s globally recognised push for sustainability

Investing in climate resilience will be key to improving prospects for drought-prone farming sector

By: Mia Breytenbach     28th October 2016 With several weather institutions expressing cautious optimism that South Africa could receive normal, or even above-normal, rainfall towards mid-summer – that is between December and January – there is a degree of optimism that the embattled local agriculture sector could rebound in 2017. In... 

Investing in climate resilience will be key to improving prospects for drought-prone farming sector

‘Devastating’ black frost hits Cape vineyards

By: African News Agency      20th October 2016 Farmers in the Breedekloof Wine Valley in South Africa were still assessing the damage on Thursday following a night of widespread black frost, described as “the most devastating frost the valley has seen in 21 years”, a week before. Black frost occurs when the temperature falls below zero but... 

Farm safety under the spotlight at AgriSA Congress

By: Megan van Wyngaardt     13th October 2016 To further bolster agricultural industry association Agri SA’s efforts to protect farmers and prevent farm attacks, financial services group Santam has donated R250 000 to Agri SA’s Securitas Trust Fund. The fund supports farming communities financially to combat crime, while raising awareness in... 

Land reform ignites debate at Agri SA congress

By: Megan van Wyngaardt     13th October 2016 If government wants to successfully proceed with its land reform programme, while enjoying the support of the wider agricultural community, a number of steps need to be taken, Agri SA's agricultural development policy committee chairperson Ernest Pringle put forth at the 2016 Agri SA Congress on... 

Govt needs to take agriculture seriously, urges Agri SA’s Moller

By: Megan van Wyngaardt     13th October 2016 Agriculture and food security need to become priorities on government’s agenda, as it has a significant impact on the economy, says Agri SA president Johannes Moller. “We view food security as one of the State’s primary responsibilities, and we would expect policy and economic application to be... 

Rooibos, Honeybush among South Africa’s most widely commercially cultivated plant products

By: Megan van Wyngaardt     4th October 2016 Rooibos and Honeybush, which are both endemic to South Africa, are among the most widely commercially cultivated botanical species originating in the country, with more than 300 trademarks and 20 patents to their names, which is why they have been singled out as local treasures, according to... 

Rooibos, Honeybush among South Africa’s most widely commercially cultivated plant products

Monsanto opens revamped plant breeding centre  

By: Megan van Wyngaardt     30th September 2016 Sustainable agriculture company Monsanto on Friday opened its R15-million renovated breeding centre, in Petit, near Benoni. The breeding centre is located on a 300 ha maize farm and hosts new offices, which are more than double the size of the original office, and an audiovisual boardroom that... 

Monsanto opens revamped plant breeding centre
Monsanto South Africa breeding leader Kiru Pillay speaks about the new centre

Futuregrowth lifts Land Bank lending freeze

By: Terence Creamer     26th September 2016 The Land Bank announced on Monday that Futuregrowth Asset Management had, with immediate effect, lifted a lending suspension controversially imposed on the bank, as well as five other State-owned companies (SoCs), on August 31. Besides the Land Bank, Futuregrowth also froze any new lending to the... 

Futuregrowth lifts Land Bank lending freeze
Land Bank CEO TP Nchocho

Sugar tax to leave secondary industries desolate – association

By: Megan van Wyngaardt     20th September 2016 The South African Sugar Association (Sasa) has called on the National Treasury to reconsider its intention to introduce a tax on sugar sweetened beverages (SSBs) by April next year, saying that, not only will it have an adverse effect on the beverages industry, but also widespread ramifications... 

Sugar tax to leave secondary industries desolate – association

Agribusiness confidence index experiences uptick in Q3

By: Megan van Wyngaardt     19th September 2016 After remaining below 50 index points for five consecutive quarters, the Agbiz/Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) Agribusiness Confidence Index recovered significantly by 13 index points to 60 in the third quarter of this year. This is the highest reading since the third quarter of 2014. An... 

Agribusiness confidence index experiences uptick in Q3

Commercial bamboo production may have biofuel potential  

By: Dylan Slater     16th September 2016 According to Africa-focused bamboo technology company Afribam, growing bamboo commercially could create biofuel possibilities for commercial power generation and serve to sequestrate a percentage of carbon emitted by the same power generation facilities.  

Commercial bamboo production may have  biofuel potential
Bamboo specialist Adrian Sutton tells Engineering News about the opportunities of commercially growing bamboo. Camerawork and Editing: Nicholas Boyd.

Clover increases revenue to R9.8bn, cost efficiency drive pays off

By: Tracy Hancock     13th September 2016 JSE-listed dairy products manufacturer Clover has improved its revenue for the year ended June 30 by 6%, to R9.8-billion, despite having faced numerous economic headwinds in the year under review. “We had a tough year, no doubt. We had a deflationary year in dairy,” Clover CEO Johann Vorster told... 

Clover increases revenue to R9.8bn, cost efficiency drive pays off

Aussie drought aid for Southern Africa

By: African News Agency      8th September 2016 The Australian Government will provide further support to southern Africa in response to the acute food shortages caused by severe El Niño conditions in the region. Australian foreign minister Julie Bishop has announced that Australia will give another 10-million Australian dollars to the World... 

Aussie drought aid for Southern Africa

$35bn in pledges to Africa’s green revolution

By: African News Agency      8th September 2016 Heads of State and leaders of global organisations and companies dug deep on Wednesday to support the transformation of agriculture in Africa with pledges of more than $35-billion in additional funding. Strive Masiyiwa, chairman of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, told a gala dinner... 

Big bet on agriculture pays off for African nations

By: African News Agency      6th September 2016 A decade of paying intense attention to farming has generated “the most successful development effort” in African history, according to a report released by the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) at the UN’s African headquarters on Tuesday. Analysis of AGRA’s 2016 African... 

Opinion: Hybrid nuclear-desalination deployment could transform South Africa’s agricultural fortunes

     6th September 2016 A recent article in Engineering News argued that wind and solar could provide the bulk of South Africa’s power at the least cost. Dr Tobias Bischof-Niemz argued that building 22 GW of wind and solar capacity and 8 GW of “backup” (in the form of coal and/or gas) was the sensible solution to... 

Opinion: Hybrid nuclear-desalination deployment could transform South Africa’s agricultural fortunes
Tom Blees

RCL Foods' revenue up, chicken and sugar still ‘real’ challenges

By: Tracy Hancock     31st August 2016 JSE-listed RCL Foods' revenue for the 12 months to June 30 increased by 6.8% to R25-billion, up on the R23.4-billion in 2015, the first full year of operating under its new structure and leadership. RCL Foods CFO Rob Fields told Engineering News in a telephone interview on Wednesday that the... 

Nontransparent development plans leave Free State community in lurch

By: Dylan Slater     12th August 2016 Relocated families and local residents of farms bordering State-owned power utility Eskom’s newly constructed Ingula hydroelectric power scheme have been left in the dark about how the power utility plans to develop the area.  

Algae-free irrigation systems to save money for farmers

By: Simon Sonnekus     5th August 2016 The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has estimated the rand value of the impact of algae pollution in the Berg river, near Stellenbosch, in the Western Cape. The calculation enables farmers to compare different ways of managing the problem in the area. A ‘Water SA’ report... 

Partnership expands range for sector

By: Simon Sonnekus     5th August 2016 South Africa-based fertiliser company Advanced Agri has expanded its fertiliser range by introducing two specialised products for various farming disciplines.  According to Advanced Agri director Frank Winder, the EcoCal range for crop farmers and Graze range for livestock farmers are... 

SA farmers hope for enough rain after winter

By: Simon Sonnekus     5th August 2016 The next five months and the following planting season will be critical for farmers who have been affected by the devastating drought which crippled the agriculture sector recently. According to agricultural organisation AgriSA CEO Omri van Zyl, farmers need to see out the winter and hope for... 

Land Bank division unveils South Africa’s first black crop insurance brokers

By: Samantha Herbst     1st August 2016 The Land Bank Insurance Company (LBIC), a division of the Land Bank, which provides financial services to the commercial farming and agribusiness sector, has unveiled the first batch of fully accredited black crop insurance brokers in the country. A programme with the intention of training ten... 

Land Bank division unveils South Africa’s first black crop insurance brokers

Southern Africa in urgent need of food production assistance

By: African News Agency      29th July 2016 Some 23-million people in southern Africa are in need of urgent support to be able to produce enough food to feed themselves and avoid being dependent on humanitarian assistance until mid-2018, the United Nations agricultural agency has warned. According to the Food and Agricultural Organisation... 

Monsanto to extend confined field trial permits

By: Tracy Hancock     29th July 2016 Agriculture company Monsanto has applied to extend the confined field trial (CFT) permits of three genetically improved maize products involved in CFTs in four provinces across South Africa. A decision expected prior to the start of the country’s planting season, which takes place around October. 

Monsanto to extend confined field trial permits
Photo by Duane Daws
PRICEY PRACTICE The US-developed products have been evaluated in South Africa for two growing seasons, with one year of CFTs in South Africa costing about R6.5-million
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