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Farming Economics News

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.  

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... 

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... 

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

South Africa ranks moderately on food security index

By: Megan van Wyngaardt     27th July 2016 South Africa is ranked at 47 out of the 113 countries in this year’s Global Food Security Index (GFSI), reflecting a one-position decline from 2015, but an overall 0.6 point score increase. The country ranked first among its sub-Saharan African peers and landed in the top ten of... 

South Africa ranks moderately on food security index

Why agriculture is vital for South Africa's economic future

By: News24Wire      12th July 2016 Countries that tax agricultural sectors are normally poor. Countries which subsidise the agricultural sector are normally rich. This is according to agricultural economist professor Mohammad Karaan, a speaker at National Treasury’s Public Economics Winter School being held at the University of... 

Famous Brands looks to capitalise on tomato paste shortage

By: Tracy Hancock     4th July 2016 JSE-listed Famous Brands plans to capitalise on the tomato paste shortage in South Africa through its acquisition of a tomato paste manufacturing plant, Cape Concentrate, in the Coega precinct, in the Eastern Cape, for an undisclosed amount. Funded from cash reserves, the acquisition was in line... 

Famous Brands looks to capitalise on tomato paste shortage
Famous Brands group strategic adviser responsible for merger and acquisition activity Kevin Hedderwick

Mahindra aims to bring its tractor range to South Africa

By: Irma Venter     24th June 2016 Mahindra & Mahindra, the India-based global conglomerate active in more than 100 countries, aims to bring its tractor range to South Africa, says Mahindra agri, and Africa and South Asia operations president Ashok Sharma. “It will probably be the first of a range of products to come to South... 

Agricultural technologies to drive growth and development, survey finds

By: Schalk Burger     17th June 2016 The increasing use of agricultural technologies in Africa, as reported in a survey of 25 large agricultural companies, can dramatically improve yields, food security and product quality, as well as provide raw materials for new products in new markets, says PwC Africa Agribusiness industry leader... 

Sugar cane production declines by more than 16.3% y/y

By: Samantha Herbst     15th June 2016 As a result of the ongoing countrywide drought, South African cane production declined during the 2015/16 season by more than 16.3% to 14.81-million tons, following an 11.4% reduction recorded in the previous season. “The decrease will impact on the sustainability of the rural economy in both... 

Sugar cane production declines by more than 16.3% y/y

EU eases black-spot rules on South African citrus destined for juicing

By: Terence Creamer     19th May 2016 The European Union (EU) has announced plans to partially relax citrus black spot (CBS) regulations on fruit exported from South Africa from June 1. The European Commission decided earlier this month that South African citrus exports destined exclusively for industrial processing into juice would... 

EU eases black-spot rules on South African citrus destined for juicing

Astral Foods’ HEPS falls on lower poultry profits

By: Tracy Hancock     16th May 2016 JSE-listed Astral Foods stated on Monday that the decrease in headline earnings from R387-million for the previous year's first six months to R299-million for the period under review was attributable to lower profits from the poultry division following mainly drought-related increases in feed... 

Astral Foods’ HEPS falls on lower poultry profits

Innovation and research needed to bolster farming productivity

By: Mia Breytenbach     13th May 2016 As South Africa struggles with rising food prices, the effects of the worst drought in 20 years and water shortage, the Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development (GCARD) highlighted how the country’s agricultural industry could address some of the challenges from an agricultural... 

Innovation and research needed to bolster farming productivity
Photo by Bloomberg
EMPHASISED DELIBERATION Considerations at the Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development included promoting the preference for sustainable, labour-intensive farming systems

Record macadamia nut prices forecast for 2016 season

By: Tracy Hancock     12th May 2016 Hit by tumultuous market conditions in 2015, macadamia nut farmers are expected to see record prices for the 2016 season, owing to a combination of the drought in South Africa and Malawi, consistent production levels elsewhere in the world, increased demand from the US and China, and the weak... 

Record macadamia nut prices forecast for 2016 season

World Bank suggests new measure to address effects of drought in African dry-lands

By: African News Agency      11th May 2016 The World Bank says irrigation, improved crop production technologies, soil fertility management and adding trees to current farming systems could help reduce the impact of drought in Africa’s dry-lands by half and help save an estimated 5.5-million people annually from food insecurity. In a new... 

World Bank suggests new measure to address effects of drought in African dry-lands

IoT could help increase agri productivity by 70%, says Deloitte report

By: Creamer Media Reporter      3rd May 2016 By 2050, agricultural productivity in Africa has the potential to increase by 70%, through technological innovation leveraged by the Internet of Things (IoT). This would meet the continent’s growing food demand which, based on population growth, is set to grow by 70%, according to a Deloitte US... 

IoT could help increase agri productivity by 70%, says Deloitte report

Distell 2016 harvest ‘surprisingly good’ despite drought

By: Creamer Media Reporter      20th April 2016 South African winegrowers need to prepare for the greater likelihood of climatic extremes and become more adaptable to drought conditions, stated multinational brewing and beverage company Distell grape and wine supply GM Erhard Wolf this month. He was commenting on the 2016 wine grape harvest,... 

Distell 2016 harvest ‘surprisingly good’ despite drought

Proposal to boost precision farming in South Africa

By: Kim Cloete     14th April 2016 A satellite-based augmentation system (SBAS) that could help generate more crops and boost sales in South Africa’s agricultural sector has been proposed by the UK Space Agency-funded SBAS-Africa programme. The SBAS-Africa programme, aimed at demonstrating the potential benefits of SBAS... 

Proposal to boost precision farming in South Africa

Sea Harvest looks to acquire 59.6% of Perth’s Mareterram

By: Samantha Herbst     8th April 2016 Sea Harvest Holdings, a subsidiary of the JSE-listed Brimstone Investment Corporation, has entered into a bid implementation agreement with Perth-based agribusiness Mareterram, which could increase Sea Harvest’s already majority share in Mareterram to about 59.6%. Sea Harvest’s offer, announced... 

Sea Harvest looks to acquire 59.6% of Perth’s Mareterram

Zambia Agri Minister emphasises need to diversify beyond copper

By: Tracy Hancock     8th April 2016 Copper, a significant economic driver in Zambia, had taken the country so far but would not be able to take it any further, said Zambian Deputy Agriculture and Livestock Minister Maxas Ng’onga on Thursday at the opening of the AGCO Future Farm training centre, in Lusaka, Zambia. As Africa’s... 

Zambia Agri Minister emphasises need to diversify beyond copper
Photo by Tracy Hancock
Zambia Deputy Agriculture and Livestock Minister Maxas Ng'onga

Afgri eyes agricultural development for food security

By: Natasha Odendaal     7th April 2016 Having looked to quietly expand since delisting from the Johannesburg bourse two years ago, agricultural services and food processing company Afgri will turn its focus to supporting development and transformation in the agricultural sector in South Africa and beyond. The group, aiming to drive... 

Afgri eyes agricultural development for food security

Oliphant warns agri employers against noncompliance with new minimum wage

By: Samantha Herbst     4th April 2016 Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant has cautioned against the “disingenuous practice” of farm and forest employers who are not complying with the recently upwardly adjusted minimum wages. Many employers were reportedly paying workers far less than the current stipulated minimum wages, which they... 

Oliphant warns agri employers against noncompliance with new minimum wage
Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant

Zuma commits to provide extra drought support

By: African News Agency      4th April 2016 President Jacob Zuma has committed all spheres of government to provide extra support to drought-hit areas, the presidency said on Sunday. Zuma was responding to a series of concerns raised by members of the community in the uThungulu district municipality and surrounding areas during an imbizo... 

Zuma commits to provide extra drought support

SA drawing on 150 experts as rigorous Karoo shale-gas enviro assessment advances

By: Dylan Slater     1st April 2016 The development of shale gas projects in South Africa was halted with the 2011 issuing of a moratorium on the issuing of shale gas exploration licences within the central Karoo, which has subsequently been lifted.  

SA drawing on 150 experts as rigorous Karoo shale-gas enviro assessment advances

Land Bank offers drought-affected farmers relief measures

By: Mia Breytenbach     30th March 2016 State-owned specialist land and agricultural financial services provider Land Bank has called on farmers in drought-declared provinces to apply for concessional loans, raised by the bank from the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), to help ease the effects of the drought and return to... 

Land Bank offers drought-affected farmers relief measures

Expected decline in sugar cane crop

By: Simon Sonnekus     25th March 2016 The drought in the eastern part of South Africa will lead to a projected decline in sugar production of 500 000 t, says South African Sugar Association (Sasa) executive director Trix Trikam. “The strategic crop, which is grown in Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal, yields an average of 2.3-million tons... 

Expected decline in sugar cane crop
RAIN NEEDED Since November 2014 to date, producers have noted an average decrease of about 60% of the required rainfall

Drives provide maximum capacity for mills

By: Simon Sonnekus     25th March 2016 The South Africa branch of German engineering company SEW Eurodrive is focused on producing energy efficient drives that can maximise the load and capacity of mills and refiners in the sugar industry. “A key point in the sugar industry is its need for motors and gearing solutions to provide... 

Drives provide maximum capacity for mills
TAILORED DRIVES SEW Eurodrive has reaffirmed its focus to tailoring its motor and gearing options for sugar producers

Sugar mill focuses on skills development

     25th March 2016 South African sugar producer Illovo Sugar’s new technical academy located at the Eston sugar mill, in KwaZulu-Natal, will soon see large portions of the company’s agricultural, factory and management personnel attend a combination of intense in-classroom and on-the-job training to deliver... 

Sugar mill focuses on  skills development
Photo by Bloomberg
SKILLS DEVELOPMENT The academy also presents the opportunity to extend the company’s agricultural programmes

Drought, low oil price weighing down ethanol industry

By: Simon Sonnekus     25th March 2016 The ethanol industry in South Africa remains lacklustre, owing to various issues, including low Brent crude oil prices, the persisting drought in the sugar cane-producing regions and the lack of policy implementation, says Ethanol Producers Association of Southern Africa chairperson Peter... 

Drought, low oil  price weighing down  ethanol industry
Photo by Bloomberg
DETREMENTAL DROUGHT The end of the current drought will ensure crop production is restored fully

Sugar mill to bolster operations with broad upgrades

     25th March 2016 Durban-based sugar producer Umfolozi Sugar Mill have set its sights on producing a higher grade of sugar by introducing a new distributed control system (DCS) as well as upgrading several of its systems for the 2016/17 season. The company has invested in the multimillion-rand system from... 

Sugar mill to bolster operations with broad upgrades
Photo by Duane Daws
MORE SUGAR IN THE BAG Combined results of upgrade projects at Umfolozi Sugar Mill is expected to increase the overall recovery to an additional 600 t of sugar in the bag

5.7% decline in half-year revenue for sugar producer

     25th March 2016 Agriculture, agroprocessing and sugar producer Tongaat Hulett has noted a 5.7% decline in half-year revenue, generating an operating profit for the 2015/16 sugar season. The sugar season, which runs from April 1 to March 31 yearly has been beleaguered by drought during the current season which... 

5.7% decline in  half-year revenue  for sugar producer
Photo by Bloomberg
STRUGGLING MARKET Tongaat Hulett’s various sugar operations’ revenue totalled R5-billion up until September

Bittersweet report leads to prompt response from sugar company

     25th March 2016 A report regarding sustainability issues in sugar cane production by the independent, not-for-profit research and network organisation Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO) has rapped the Malawian division of South African sugar producer Illovo over the knuckles over issues... 

Electrolysers efficient energy alternative in sugar industry

     25th March 2016 With electrolyser proving to be an efficient source of energy in the sugar industry, Tshwane-based specialised engineering company RTS Africa Engineering believes that the use of hydrogen in electrolysers is potentially the energy carrier of the future. Electrolysis is the process of splitting... 

Electrolysers efficient  energy alternative in  sugar industry
HYDROGEN NEL A electrolysers offer complete reliability and flexibility for the end-user, and are a highly cost effective solution to hydrogen generation

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