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Agriculture News

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... 

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... 

Competition Tribunal confirms another settlement in maize cartel case

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     12th August 2020 The Competition Tribunal has confirmed a settlement agreement between the Competition Commission and GWK Farm Foods, in which the company admits to its involvement in a maize milling cartel and agrees to pay an administrative penalty of R10-million. This is the fourteenth settlement agreement to... 

Peaceful use of nuclear tech underscores its value to Africa’s developmental needs

By: Simone Liedtke     7th August 2020 The development and peaceful use of nuclear technology could further underscore its value by helping to meet Africa’s developmental needs, says African Commission on Nuclear Energy (Afcone) executive secretary Messaoud Baaliouamer. He says the safe and peaceful use of nuclear technology has... 

Offering diversified with new crop input solution

By: Tracy Hancock     7th August 2020 Environmental management company I-CAT will soon launch agricultural and forestry input solution Cyflo, as part of its product offering, targeting existing and potential clients, says I-CAT Planting Business Unit head Rachelle Botha. The product was developed by diagnostic agronomist Charl Marais... 

Offering diversified with new crop input solution
ENHANCED EFFECT Cyflo effects cellular permeability of agricultural remedies and fertilisers, and significantly improves their efficacy

Smart-Farming initiative supports food security

7th August 2020 Engineering solutions company BMG’s Boer Slim and/or Smart-Farming agricultural team works closely with farmers throughout Southern Africa, assisting them with the selection, installation and operation of new electromechanical systems. These projects are designed to improve efficiencies, reduce... 

Smart-Farming initiative supports food security
SMART-FARMING INITIATIVE BMG’s agricultural team works closely with farmers throughout Southern Africa, assisting them with the selection, installation and operation of new electromechanical systems

Agricultural engineers are an endangered species

By: Tracy Hancock     7th August 2020 The agricultural industry remains key to the development of South Africa and addressing the country’s prevalent unemployment issues, but local agricultural engineers are a scarce breed, says South African Institute of Agricultural Engineers (SAIAE) VP Thabo Mavundza. “Despite the drought, water... 

Agricultural engineers are  an endangered species
DIRECTING DEVELOPMENTS The need to improve the efficiency of water and energy use, coupled with the introduction of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, are shaping agricultural engineering innovations in South Africa

New interface’s mobile version coming soon 

By: Tracy Hancock     7th August 2020 Data-driven agricultural solutions provider SupPlant has launched a new user interface for its decision support system (DSS), with a mobile version to follow, enabling farmers to keep an eye on their crops wherever they are. The Israeli company first entered the South African market when it... 

New interface’s mobile version coming soon
ADVANCING AGRICULTURE The new platform makes all the data from SupPlant’s sensors, such as the first continuous measurement fruit sensor on Macadamia fruit in South Africa, easily accessible and understood

Mobile factories reduce time, costs

By: Cameron Mackay     7th August 2020 Agricultural processing equipment supplier Dryers for Africa supplies containerised processing factories fitted with agricultural dryer units which enable clients without access to a factory to buy a mobile factory with the required components and equipment prefitted, reducing installation costs... 

Mobile factories reduce time, costs
ACCESS TO INFRASTRUCTURE Small-scale farming can be encouraged to provide produce for the containerised factory, which comes prefitted with dryer units

Sector welcomes bearing distributor’s new products

By: Tracy Hancock     7th August 2020 Demand for the agriculture-specific products offered by Southern Africa bearings and power transmission products distributor Bearings International (BI) is slowly picking up now that lockdown restriction have eased, says agriculture business development leader Gerhard Pienaar. In addition, there... 

Sector welcomes bearing distributor’s new products
HANDY RANGE Bearings International has seen a huge increase in demand for its range of Grippaz hand gloves and has increased its stockholding

Pump rentals effective contingency plan to ensure food security

By: Tracy Hancock     7th August 2020 When a pump used for agricultural applications fails, it poses a significant risk to the food production cycle, revenue generation and, ultimately, the food supply chain during a time when South Africa is facing food-security pressure. The local agriculture industry cannot afford to lose crops... 

Pump rentals effective contingency plan to ensure food security
MEETING MARKET DEMANDS Rand-Air offer diesel-driven pumps for when power is not available at the source that meet the needs of the undersupplied market for high-head pumps

‘Soil conditioner’ production keeps manufacturer bustling

By: Tracy Hancock     7th August 2020 The processing facility of manufacturer and minerals producer Pratley has been significantly busy producing Pratley Vulture Creek Clino during the national lockdown to curb the spread of Covid-19, as the product is mainly supplied to the agriculture sector and, therefore, classified as essential,... 

‘Soil conditioner’ production keeps manufacturer bustling
PRODUCTIVE PROPERTIES More farmers are experiencing improved crop yields when using Vulture Creek Clino, owing to its cation-exchange and slow-release fertiliser properties

Seed companies join forces to form Limagrain Zaad South Africa

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     5th August 2020 Three of South Africa’s agricultural seed companies, Link Seed, Klein Karoo Seed Marketing (K2) and Seed Co South Africa, have joined forces to create a joint venture (JV) company − Limagrain Zaad South Africa − to provide multi crop alternatives for farmers in Southern Africa. K2 offers an... 

Microsoft invests R40m into South Africa’s agricultural sector

By: Natasha Odendaal     5th August 2020 Microsoft South Africa plans to invest up to R40-million to bolster the use of technology as an enabler to tackle the challenges facing South Africa’s agriculture sector. The investment aims to drive sustainability in the agriculture sector for South Africa’s smallholder farmers, which have... 

Solidarity Fund ramps up farming, food assistance

By: Marleny Arnoldi     31st July 2020 South Africa’s national Solidarity Fund has ramped up its efforts to bring relief to those most affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. The fund has been focusing its efforts since its inception in March on humanitarian efforts, as well as medical supplies, but food relief and gender-based violence... 

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