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Agriculture News

Agri SA value chain services company grows to fully fledged status

By: Marleny Arnoldi     18th September 2020 Agricultural organisation Agri SA’s new company Agri SA Enterprises has evolved into a fully fledged company with a focus on food value chain services. Agri SA in 2015 appointed an executive management member Omri van Zyl to incubate the company and solidify its service offering, which... 

Sappi signs up to Business for Nature’s Call to Action on environment

By: Donna Slater     17th September 2020 Woodfibre-based product producer Sappi has joined the Business for Nature’s Call to Action – which represents 560 companies from around the world, with combined revenue of $4-trillion – in urging governments to urgently adopt policies to reverse nature loss in this decade.   Covid-19 is causing... 

Tata International Africa records another year of growth

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     16th September 2020 Tata International Africa, a subsidiary of Tata International, has recorded another profitable year despite the challenging economies, shrinking markets and the pandemic. The group provides skills, expertise and various products in automotive, engineering, mining, farming and farm equipment, in... 

CSIR, MASFT pursuing rural accredited food testing through mobile labs

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     15th September 2020 Research organisation, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), is collaborating with Mobile Agricultural Skills and Development Training (MASDT), a nonprofit company that assists small and medium-sized enterprises in the agricultural sector, to introduce an accessible and... 

PE port loads last shipment of bumper 2020 citrus export season

By: Donna Slater     15th September 2020 The last official specialised reefer (refrigerated container) fruit vessel calling to load citrus from the Eastern Cape through the Port of Port Elizabeth's multi-purpose terminal, docked at the port this week. The MV Lady Rosebud docked at berth 10/11 on September 13 to discharge 45 empty... 

PE port loads last shipment of bumper 2020 citrus export season
MV Lady Rosebud loaded with the last South African citrus exports of the 2020 season

Eskom secures farmland as security for debt owed by Matjhabeng municipality

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     15th September 2020 The Matjhabeng local municipality, in the Free State, has agreed to hand over to State-owned power utility Eskom 139 farms belonging to the municipality as security for debt of R3.4-billion owed by the municipality to Eskom. The farms are valued at about R2.5-billion. 

Master plan starts to encourage poultry sector expansion

By: Marleny Arnoldi     15th September 2020 South African poultry producers have pledged to invest R1.7-billion towards expansion and improvement of productive capacity in the country. Some investment projects have already been completed, including the expansion of a hatchery and processing facility which created 428 jobs.  

Master plan starts to encourage poultry sector expansion

Agribusiness Confidence Index rebounds to 51 in third quarter

By: Marleny Arnoldi     14th September 2020 The Agbiz/Industrial Development Corporation Agribusiness Confidence Index rebounded to 51 in the third quarter. This follows a deterioration to 39 in the second quarter, a period which had heightened uncertainty about whether the agriculture and agribusiness sectors would operate efficiently,... 

Astral Foods ‘cautiously satisfied’ with earnings for the year

By: Simone Liedtke     14th September 2020 Poultry producer Astral Foods has indicated that its earnings a share and headline earnings a share for the year ending September 30, are expected to be down by no more than 25% on the comparative period’s reported results. Astral CEO Chris Schutte on September 14 said Astral was “cautiously... 

Opinion: Building back better on food and agriculture

11th September 2020 In this opinion piece, United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) director-general QU Dongyu writes about a comprehensive response and recovery programme to overcome the impacts of Covid-19 through up-scaled and robust international collaboration. As the impacts of Covid-19 take their... 

Opinion: Building back better on food and agriculture

Significant potential exists for local capital equipment exporters

By: Donna Slater     10th September 2020 South African Capital Equipment Exporters Council (Saceec) director and CEO Eric Bruggeman has pointed out that South African capital equipment exporters had exported R178-billion worth of capital equipment during 2019. Saceec members accounted for about R50-billion, or just under 30%, of that... 

Significant potential exists for local capital equipment exporters

GCR upgrades Omnia's ratings

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     9th September 2020 The Global Credit Rating (GCR) Co has upgraded JSE-listed Omnia’s long- and short-term issuer ratings to BBB+ and A2 respectively, with the outlook revised from negative to stable. The rating reflects GCR’s view that Omnia's recovery and sustainable improvement in cash flow and financial... 

Commenters call for an end to lockdown as second-quarter GDP contracts sharply 

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     8th September 2020 South Africa’s real gross domestic product (GDP) decreased by just over 16% between the first and second quarters, resulting in an annualised growth rate of ‑51%. This has extended the economic recession into its fourth quarter. 

Port of PE weathers Covid-19 to support bumper fruit season

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     8th September 2020 In the midst of the record citrus export season, Transnet National Ports Authority’s (TNPA's) Nelson Mandela Bay ports have successfully complemented the Port of Cape Town, which was negatively affected by Covid-19, TNPA says. Apart from handling the citrus fruit at the Port of Port Elizabeth’s... 

Port of PE weathers Covid-19 to support bumper fruit season
Sujit Bhagattjee

AfDB joins African Green Revolution Forum as sponsor for virtual event

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     8th September 2020 Finance institution the African Development Bank (AfDB) is returning as a partner of the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) – Africa’s largest agriculture conference – being held online for the first time in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. The tenth yearly AGRF, being held from September 8 to... 

Sappi undertakes Arbor Week activities

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     4th September 2020 In celebrating Arbor Week, Sappi Southern Africa has highlighted the company's efforts to help protect the pepper-bark tree, also known as the Warburgia salutaris. The company points out that the pepper-bark tree is highly prized in the Southern African healthcare sector and that commercial... 

Lesotho aims to ‘go big’ on agriculture amid Agoa textiles uncertainty 

By: Terence Creamer     4th September 2020 Lesotho Prime Minister Dr Moeketsi Majoro reports that the country aims to overhaul its underperforming agricultural sector with the objective of improving both food security and attracting export-oriented investment into the production of high-value crops, such as fruit, vegetables and... 

Lesotho aims to ‘go big’ on agriculture amid Agoa textiles uncertainty
Lesotho Prime Minister Dr Moeketsi Majoro

John Deere to launch VR showroom during virtual Nampo

By: Marleny Arnoldi     3rd September 2020 Agricultural original-equipment manufacturer John Deere Africa has announced that it will launch its newly developed three-dimensional (3D) and virtual reality (VR) showroom during the virtual Nampo Harvest Day 2020 event. The yearly agriculture-focused exhibition will be hosted from September... 

John Deere to launch VR showroom during virtual Nampo

Sea Harvest records stable interim results in face of pandemic

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     31st August 2020 JSE-listed Sea Harvest Group reported a stable set of interim results for the six month ended June 30, with a 7% increase in revenue to R2-billion and headline earnings a share of 61c, in line with the prior interim period. The group says this was achieved despite the worst pandemic in over a... 

Sea Harvest records stable interim results in face of pandemic
Felix Ratheb

RCL Foods leverages diverse portfolio for resilience amid ‘unprecedented hardship’ in South Africa

By: Simone Liedtke     31st August 2020 JSE-listed consumer goods company RCL Foods leveraged the resilience of its diverse portfolio to finish the 12 months to June 30 in a strong cash position, delivering revenue growth of 7.4% in a period of “unprecedented hardship for South African consumers and the local economy”. Underlying... 

RCL Foods leverages diverse portfolio for resilience amid ‘unprecedented hardship’ in South Africa
RCL CEO Miles Dally

Exxaro gives land to emerging farmers, helps build agri-economy

By: Marleny Arnoldi     28th August 2020 As part of its support for South Africa’s land distribution policy, JSE-listed diversified miner Exxaro Resources has embarked on a minerals succession programme that maps the potential agri-economies in communities surrounding its mines. “We are constantly looking at proactive solutions to... 

Opinion: When allocating fishing rights, govt should learn from the errors of 2016

28th August 2020 The 2016 allocation of rights to the hake inshore trawl fishery was a costly policy and administrative mistake that should not be repeated in the upcoming rights allocation, writes the South African Deep-Sea Trawling Industry Association (SADSTIA). The 2016 allocation of rights to the hake... 

Opinion: When allocating fishing rights, govt should learn from the errors of 2016

More local laser R&D needed

By: Tracy Hancock     28th August 2020 South Africa is not placing enough focus on laser research and development (R&D), especially in the private sector, but there is hope, says the director of the Laser Research Institute (LRI) within the Physics Department at Stellenbosch University Dr Pieter Neethling. “Laser and photonics R&D is... 

More local laser R&D needed
PRIVATE PARTICIPATION Getting private-sector companies to fund laser research and development at local universities is expected to change the landscape dramatically

France donates R1.8m worth of medical equipment to South Africa

By: Sane Dhlamini     27th August 2020 The French government has donated R1.8-million worth of medical material and personal protective equipment to South Africa, which will be distributed to hospitals in the Northern Cape, North West, Limpopo and Mpumalanga. The donation comes at the request of the South African government as part of... 

France donates R1.8m worth of medical equipment to South Africa

DTIC, Wesgro to host virtual wine mission to South Korea

By: Creamer Media Reporter      26th August 2020 To enhance bilateral trade and investment ties, the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC) will, in collaboration with trade promotion agency Wesgro, host a virtual wine mission to South Korea. The event, to be held on August 27, will showcase ten wineries from the Western Cape region. 

Starbucks clients can now trace their coffee, and so can farmers

By: Bloomberg     26th August 2020 Starbucks Corp fans can now trace their coffee. And so can farmers, who will know for the first time where their beans end up. Starting Tuesday, customers buying coffee at Starbucks stores across the US will be able to use a code on the bags to find out where their beans came from, where they... 

Africa Prize selects 2020 finalists ahead of virtual event

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     25th August 2020 A more affordable, effective cervical cancer screening device, a digital platform to help farmers plan and distribute crops, a new way to secure banking through facial recognition, and a tool that monitors the condition of solar photovoltaic (PV) installations are the four innovations selected as... 

FSCA orders Tongaat to pay R20m administrative penalty

By: Creamer Media Reporter      24th August 2020 Sugar producer Tongaat Hulett has been ordered by the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) to pay a R20-million administrative penalty. The FSCA has concluded its investigation and determined that Tongaat had breached the provisions of Section 81 of the Financial Markets Act. The breach... 

Wine industry recovery to be slow, says Vinpro

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     21st August 2020 After an extremely challenging few months since the start of the national Covid-19 lockdown in March, nonprofit organisation Vinpro entered this past week with a renewed hope that the South African wine industry would start rebuilding, the organisation said. Along with the phasing in of lockdown... 

Competition Tribunal approves Senwesbel merger

By: Donna Slater     18th August 2020 The Competition Tribunal has issued an order approving the proposed merger between investment holdings company Senwesbel, its subsidiary agricultural business Senwes, and agricultural company Suidwes Holdings. This follows merger proceedings during which the tribunal heard evidence and arguments... 

New charcoal production facility launched in Western Cape 

By: Simone Liedtke     18th August 2020 Western Cape-based Toronto Group on August 18 launched its charcoal production facility, in the Swartland municipality of the province. The combined virtual and limited attendance sod-turning ceremony was hosted by information bureau Wesgro. 

New charcoal production facility launched in Western Cape
An artist's rendering of the Toronto Group's Charcoal Production Facility once completed.

Another MAC dispute further delays Tongaat’s disposal of its starch business

By: Simone Liedtke     17th August 2020 KLL Group, a wholly owned subsidiary of Barloworld, has issued a second material adverse change (MAC) notice with regard to Tongaat Hulett’s disposal of its starch business as a going concern. The first MAC was issued in May, wherein KLL stated that the global Covid-19 pandemic and the... 

Tongaat reports ‘improved results’ despite weak economic growth, financial mismanagement blow

By: Simone Liedtke     14th August 2020 Sugar manufacturer Tongaat Hulett on August 14 reported “improved results” for the financial year ended March 31, during which the group’s headline earnings per share (EPS) improved by 111% to 90c from a loss of 823c in the previous year. The company attributes the improvement to the steps taken... 

Tongaat reports ‘improved results’ despite weak economic growth, financial mismanagement blow

Zoetis launches genomic test for cows

By: Marleny Arnoldi     14th August 2020 With food security increasingly under the microscope in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and as the financial pressure on the dairy sector increases, animal health company Zoetis has launched Clarifide Plus to predict key cow and calf wellness traits in South Africa’s dairy cattle. Technical... 

Tech crucial to market sales in local industry

By: Cameron Mackay     14th August 2020 Automation solutions provider MACmobile MD Andrew Dawson stresses that technology that offers mobility, automation and the ability to engage customers while maintaining social distance will be crucial to driving market sales in the local industry. “The key technology at this stage is mobility –... 

Tech crucial to market sales in local industry
ANDREW DAWSON What’s important is enabling retailers, with their own methodology software-wise, to generate orders and use the call centres to create new sales and awareness

Focus set on intellectual support services

14th August 2020 Hard face solution provider Rio-Carb is altering its business model to focus more on providing intellectual support services and is employing its own engineers to assist customers in all aspects of liner fabrication application.   Rio-Carb director Thomas Reib says the company can now provide a... 

Vinpro calls for end to alcohol ban

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     12th August 2020 The South African wine industry, including wine tourism, is in a state of disaster and urgent intervention is needed or else one of the oldest agricultural industries in the country will not survive, says wine industry body, Vinpro MD Rico Basson. “Many wine businesses have already closed down... 

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