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Agriculture News

Chocolate war leaves world’s top cocoa producer stuck with beans

By: Bloomberg     20th January 2021 Nobody is suffering more from a global chocolate standoff than the Côte d'Ivoire cocoa farmer. Less than two years after the top cocoa producer teamed up with neighboring Ghana to force companies from Hershey Co. to Nestle SA to pay more for their beans, the attempt to exert control over prices... 

South Africa’s 2020 wine exports reach 319-million litres despite market challenges

By: Simone Liedtke     20th January 2021 South Africa’s wine export volumes of 2020, which amount to 319.2-million litres, echo that of a challenging 2019, despite a five-week long ban on exports and challenges at the Cape Town Port terminal owing to Covid-19. This follows on from a good 2020 harvest and vineyard recovery following the... 

South Africa’s 2020 wine exports reach 319-million litres despite market challenges

Land Bank posts a R172m interim loss for 2020

By: News24Wire      19th January 2021 The Land Bank has posted a R172-million loss from its continuing operations for the six months ended on 30 September as its interest income continued to decline while provision for bad debts grew. The state-owned lender, which finances approximately 27% of agricultural debt in SA and is the only... 

DEFF issues yellow alert for harmful West Coast red tide, partners prepare for red alert

By: Schalk Burger     18th January 2021 Following the build-up of harmful algal blooms - called red tides - on the West Coast over the past few weeks, the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries (DEFF) has issued a Situation Yellow alert under the West Coast Rock Lobster Contingency Plan and placed all government role-players... 

Association pleads with Free State transport department for road repairs

By: Marleny Arnoldi     15th January 2021 Agricultural association Free State Agriculture (FSA) has directed a letter to the Free State Department of Police, Roads and Transport requesting urgent actions to repair roads for critical access in the province. This comes as recent flooding in the province has caused severe damage to roads... 

Ceres farmer commissions solar plant that benefits community

By: Marleny Arnoldi     14th January 2021 A farmer from Ceres Valley has took it upon himself to build a solar plant on his Vadersgawe fruit farm, with excess power to be shared with the Witzenburg municipality. The 90 ha operation, called El Cuesta Farming, is renowned for its juicy apples, pears and nectarines, which are exported to... 

Ceres farmer commissions solar plant that benefits community
Solar farm at the El Cuesta Farming operation in Ceres

EU food watchdog approves bugs for human consumption

By: Bloomberg     13th January 2021 Insects just moved a step closer to European dinner plates. Dried yellow mealworm, the larval form of the mealworm beetle, is safe for human consumption in both its whole form and as a powder additive, the European Union’s food watchdog said Wednesday. 

Agri SA bemoans Land Bank incompetence, as revealed by Auditor-General

By: Marleny Arnoldi     8th January 2021 Industry organisation Agri SA has expressed concern about the status of the Land Bank’s financial sustainability, following a damning report published by the Auditor-General (AG) of South Africa Tsakani Maluleke. “Whoever was responsible for the financial loss of R2.8-billion must be held... 

Sugar growers expand buy local campaign to try and save a 'million livelihoods'

By: News24Wire      7th January 2021 The SA Canegrowers' Association has expanded its campaign aimed at raising awareness of the serious threats facing the local sugar industry. Chief among these is the significant share of the local market that cheap imports hold, the association said in a statement on Thursday. 

Locust prediction tool allows for early intervention in four African countries so far

By: Marleny Arnoldi     6th January 2021 Pan-African marketplace Selina Wamucii has launched, on its platform, a free tool called Kuzi that can help farmers and pastoralists predict locust behaviour. The artificial intelligence-powered tool generates real-time heatmaps of locusts across Africa, showing all potential migration routes and... 

South Africa has 300m litres of unsold wine

By: News24Wire      14th December 2020 Ahead of the start of the new harvest next month, South African wine producers are still stuck with a massive glut of unsold wine in the country. The lengthy freeze on sales at home and ban on exporting during the first phase of lockdown, have left South African wine producers with surplus stock... 

Citrus Growers’ Association welcomes new export levy

By: Marleny Arnoldi     11th December 2020 The Citrus Growers’ Association of Southern Africa (CGA) has welcomed the gazetting of the new statutory export citrus levy by Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Minister Thoko Didiza. The new levy will be funded by around 1 250 citrus growers over the next four years – from 2021... 

Citrus Growers’ Association welcomes new export levy

Western Cape welcomes agriculture interns

By: Yvonne Silaule     11th December 2020 About 120 agricultural graduate interns took up their two-year internship within the Western Cape agriculture sector on December 9. Western Cape Agriculture Minister Ivan Meyer welcomed the placement of the interns, saying that the provincial department had prioritised the structuring of... 

New DG appointed for environment dept

By: Donna Slater     9th December 2020 During a virtual meeting of Cabinet on December 2, Nomfundo Tshabalala was appointed Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries (DEFF) DG.   Former DG Nosipho Ngcaba had retired in June.  

Rwanda formally launches new African Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Cooling and Cold Chain

By: Simone Liedtke     9th December 2020 The Rwandan government has formally launched the new African Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Cooling and Cold Chain (ACES), hosted in-country by the University of Rwanda.  The University has designed part of the Rubirizi campus as the site for ACES, the layout of which is under development.... 

Implementation of Poultry Master Plan progressing, industry capacity increases

By: Simone Liedtke     8th December 2020 Progress has been made on the implementation of the Poultry Master Plan, in spite of a decline in chicken consumption during the initial lockdown period, the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC) has said. Over the course of the past 12 months, a new tariff was introduced on... 

IBM launches support for digital agriculture in Africa initiative

By: Schalk Burger     7th December 2020 Information technology (IT) multinational IBM on December 7 announced its active support for the Digital4Agriculture Initiative (D4Ag), which aims to foster African startups in the agricultural sector and strengthen the long-term living conditions of local small-scale farmers by increasing... 

Govt launches subsistence farmers support initiative  

By: Marleny Arnoldi     7th December 2020 Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Minister Thoko Didiza has announced that, from December 10 to 22, all agricultural subsistence producers can apply for support from the Presidential Employment Stimulus initiative. This initiative is aimed at sustaining and increasing employment in... 

Govt launches subsistence farmers support initiative
Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Minister Thoko Didiza

Sugar master plan signed and good to go

4th December 2020 The virtual signing of the much-anticipated Sugarcane Value Chain Master Plan 2030 has been welcomed by all stakeholders of the South African sugar industry, according to a statement issued by the South African Sugar Association (Sasa) last month. “This is a momentous occasion for the industry... 

Sugar master plan signed and good to go
Photo by Creamer Media
SWEET DEAL Local sugar producers will be supported and given greater preference through the newly minted sugar master plan

New female vice chairperson for sugar association

4th December 2020 The South African Farmers Development Association (Safda) said in statement issued last month that it “welcomes and congratulates” the appointment of new South African Sugar Association (Sasa) vice chairperson Joanmariae Fubbs. Fubbs was nominated by Safda and voted in at a special meeting of... 

Business restructuring anchors producer as sugar master plan gives hope

By: Darren Parker     4th December 2020 The business restructuring efforts of sugar producer Tongaat Hulett over the past few years have enabled it to enter the Covid-19 outbreak as a “leaner, fit-for-purpose organisation” better able to weather the pandemic, says Tongaat Hulett sugar operations MD Simon Harvey. “The Covid-19 pandemic... 

Business restructuring anchors producer as sugar master plan  gives hope
A NEW HORIZON The sugar master plan seeks to create a diversified and globally competitive, sustainable and transformed sugarcane-based value chain

Tough times ahead despite better yields

By: Darren Parker     4th December 2020 Data gathered by the South African Canegrowers Association (SA Canegrowers) indicate that sugar cane crop yields in the current season are expected to be an improvement on those of the past year, owing to “perfect” to weather to date. Moreover, canegrowers have also put much effort into... 

Tough times ahead despite better yields
ABUNDANT HARVEST A large yield and constrained sugar milling capacity means that some sugar cane will not be processed this year

Rail link planned for small-scale cane growers

By: Darren Parker     4th December 2020 Sugar producer Tongaat Hulett is partnering with the South African Farmers Development Association, and the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development to establish a sugar cane rail transport system, in KwaZulu-Natal, between Makhathini cane growers in northern Zululand and... 

Rail link planned for small-scale cane growers
LOWERED HAULAGE COSTS The project will result in a 50% reduction in transportation costs for growers

Digital agriculture to assist sugar growers

By: Darren Parker     4th December 2020 The South African Sugar Research Institute (Sasri), a division of the South African Sugar Association (Sasa), is focusing its research and technological development on digital agriculture to support canegrowers in decision-making, in their choice of cane varieties, to establish more accurate crop... 

Digital agriculture to assist sugar growers
PESKY PROBLEM The Eldana saccharina larvae bore into sugar cane and can ruin entire crops

Land Bank creditor urges South Africa to speed up rescue efforts

By: Bloomberg     3rd December 2020 South Africa’s National Treasury and the state-owned Land and Agricultural Development Bank are being accused of dragging their heels in negotiating a rescue package for the stricken lender, leaving creditors in the dark as debt repayments loom. Asset managers and other lenders are yet to receive... 

Agribusiness Confidence Index jumps to 61 in the fourth quarter  

By: Marleny Arnoldi     1st December 2020 The Agricultural Business Chamber/Industrial Development Corporation Agribusiness Confidence Index has rallied to 61 points in the fourth quarter – its highest level since the third quarter of 2014. This followed a notable recovery to 51 points in the third quarter of the year, implying that... 

Agribusiness Confidence Index jumps to 61 in the fourth quarter

Invicta’s strategy paying off, says CEO

By: Simone Liedtke     30th November 2020 Investment holding and management company Invicta Holdings is starting to see its strategy, which focuses on lowering debt levels, optimising return on equity, simplifying structures and focusing on key operational areas, pay off. This is despite the negative impact of Covid-19 and related... 

Agri SA calls for govt aid as Land Bank is too important to fail

By: Marleny Arnoldi     27th November 2020 Industry organisation Agri SA has warned that the action by Moody’s Investor Service to lower the Lank Bank and Eskom’s respective ratings pose a risk to food security and overall economic recovery in South Africa. It says Moody’s downgraded the State-owned Land Bank as a result of ongoing... 

First group of Western Cape agriculture drone pilots receive their wings

By: Yvonne Silaule     27th November 2020 The first group of Western Cape Department of Agriculture drone pilots received their wings this week. The department assisted the group to successfully sit for the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) examination to obtain their remote pilot licences. Training was provided by Drone-X,... 

Awaiting South African bailout, land bank locks out farmers

By: Bloomberg     19th November 2020 One of the biggest lenders to South African farmers can’t take on new clients or meet half the needs of existing customers until it gets another government bailout to keep operating. The state-owned Land and Agricultural Development Bank has asked the National Treasury for R7-billion to ease its... 

Sapa acknowledges Master Plan progress

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     17th November 2020 The South African Poultry Association (Sapa) has noted “positive gains” that have been made towards increasing South Africa's exports of poultry. This is one of the key objective of the Poultry Industry Master Plan, aimed at growing the industry, which is being driven by Trade, Industry and... 

IFC invests in Mali quicklime, agriculture lime producer

By: Creamer Media Reporter      17th November 2020 The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, has invested in Malian quicklime and agriculture lime producer Carrières et Chaux du Mali (CCM) to help the company increase production of these products, which are essential inputs for the country's agriculture and... 

Govt, industry sign the sugar master plan

By: Creamer Media Reporter      17th November 2020 Trade, Industry and Competition Minister Ebrahim Patel, Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Minister Thoko Didiza and sugar industry stakeholders have signed the Sugar Industry Master Plan. As part of the master plan, industrial users and retailers have agreed to minimum offtake of... 

Govt, industry sign the sugar master plan
A sugarcane plantation

Digital network launched to support wine sector

13th November 2020 The Western Cape government, in partnership with agency for tourism, trade and investment promotion for Cape Town and the Western Cape, Wesgro, as well as wine marketing specialists Wines of South Africa (WoSA), have announced the launch of the Cape Export Network (CEN). Launched in September,... 

Digital network launched to support wine sector
TECH TALK The Cape Export Network uses technology to introduce producers and buyers on a secure platform

Pumping with flavour for multiproduct lines 

By: Halima Frost     13th November 2020 Industrial equipment supplier Verder Group has recently redesigned the structure of its hygienic brands – this included rebranding and adding sanitary pump supplier JEC JR’s series of pumps to its diverse pumping portfolio under Packo.  The Packo JRZS series of twin-screw pumps are suited to the... 

Pumping with flavour for multiproduct lines
Verder Pumps Hygienic Product manager Kenneth Demeulemeester discusses the growing demand for multi-product lines in the brewery and winery industry. Camerawork: Halima Frost. Editing: Nicholas Boyd. Recorded: 19.10.20

Didiza gives update on release of State-owned land

By: Donna Slater     10th November 2020 Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Minister Thoko Didiza says her department, on October 1, advertised 529 000 ha of land, amounting to 894 farms across South Africa for release on October 15. “The advert was to run for a month ending November 15,” she says. This forms part of the... 

Greenpeace urges African countries to lead climate developments on the continent

By: Sane Dhlamini     9th November 2020 Not for profit environmental organisation Greenpeace has called on African countries to lead the development of new climate databases and models rather than depend on other countries as future average temperatures on the continent are projected to increase at a rate faster than the global average... 

Greenpeace urges African countries to lead climate developments on the continent
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