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Agriculture News

Venter to step down as AFGRI CEO

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     29th January 2020 Chris Venter will step down as CEO of AFGRI Group Holdings (AGH) after 11 years in the role and a total of 15 years’ service to the group in various capacities. Tinus Prinsloo has been appointed as his successor. 

Wine grape conditions improving this year

By: Marleny Arnoldi     27th January 2020 Wine producer association Vinpro says things are looking up in most regions for wine grape harvests in South Africa this year. “Sufficient water and a moderate ripening period contributed to expectations of a somewhat larger 2020 South African wine grape harvest compared to 2019; however, still... 

Wine grape conditions improving this year

South African wine industry bullish despite tough environment

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     24th January 2020 The South African wine industry expects 2020 to be a difficult year, but remains hopeful that it will be able to build on some of the momentum gained in 2019 to overcome major challenges.   

Demand increasing for boiler cleaning

By: Cameron Mackay     17th January 2020 There has been a signifiscant increase in demand for industrial and chemical cleaning solutions provider Gra-Tech’s chemical cleaning of package boilers, as industries in which package boilers are used are looking to optimise operational efficiencies and reduce costs. Package boilers are smaller... 

Demand increasing for boiler cleaning
SQUEAKY CLEAN Preoperational cleaning of boilers before commissioning require a 1% hydrofluoric acid solution to remove most mill scale and fabrication defects

Company to offer carbon tax consulting

By: Cameron Mackay     17th January 2020 Boiler and burner solutions provider Steam Generation is set to introduce Carbon Tax consulting services for its customers to add to its boiler financing services. This comes after the Carbon Tax Act was introduced in South Africa in June last year, which affects energy-intensive industrial... 

Company to offer carbon tax consulting
BOILER EFFICIENCY FOCUS Hlophe notes an increase in customers using coal-fired boilers that require automation to assist in monitoring and realising boiler efficiency, at a reasonable cost

Company expands into boiler manufacturing

By: Cameron Mackay     17th January 2020 Boiler management, consulting, engineering and quality-assurance services provider GM Boiler and Steam Consulting Engineering (GMB) will continue to expand its business this year to include the manufacturing of boilers and boiler components for plant and production industries. Last year, the... 

Company expands into boiler manufacturing
BOILER UPKEEP The company’s knowledge and expertise in refurbishment services has become vital for the maintenance of second- and third-hand boilers

Sydney Soundy appointed acting Land Bank CEO

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     15th January 2020 Sydney Soundy, who is the executive for strategy and communications at the Land Bank has been appointed as acting CEO with immediate effect. This follows the resignation of Kone Gugushe as acting CEO, with immediate effect, and chief risk officer, effective March 31. 

Global food prices jump to five-year high

By: , Bloomberg     10th January 2020 Global food prices ended the year at the highest in half a decade, propelled by swine shortages and rising vegetable-oil demand across the world. The 13% annual gain in the United Nations’ food index marks a turnaround from recent years, when grocery bills were kept in check by surpluses of... 

South Africa has huge 'green fuels' potential. But it needs to act now

10th January 2020 In this opinion piece, first published in The Conversation, professors David Walwyn and Rod Crompton make the case for South Africa to pay greater research and development attention to the production of green hydrogen using a combination of wind and solar power and electrolysers. In addition,... 

South Africa has huge 'green fuels' potential. But it needs to act now

Cabinet rejects farm-size limits in land reforms

By: , Bloomberg     20th December 2019 Cabinet rejected proposals to limit the size of farms and to establish a dedicated fund in the nation’s land-reform process, Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Minister Thoko Didiza said. An advisory panel set up by President Cyril Ramaphosa in July submitted a report containing 73... 

Cabinet rejects farm-size limits in land reforms

Lesotho wants to export its cannabis to the world

By: , Bloomberg     20th December 2019 Kekeletso Lekaota spends her work days nurturing rows of cannabis plants for harvest. Pruning a few yellowed leaves from stems with thick, flowering heads, she says the job requires a soft touch and delicate hands. It’s a crop Lekaota had no experience with 18 months ago, when she saw an... 

Lesotho wants to export its cannabis to the world
A worker harvests plants at the MG Health Ltd. growing facility in Lesotho.

Farmers reeling from latest bout of load-shedding 

By: News24Wire      12th December 2019 Eskom's current load-shedding has struck in the middle of the Western Cape's fruit season, further hobbling a key industry that depends on a regular electricity supply, Geoff Jacobs, president of the Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said on Wednesday. The Western Cape fruit sector earns... 

 Farmers reeling from latest bout of load-shedding

Load-shedding threatens critical cold storage, water management in agri sector

By: Marleny Arnoldi     12th December 2019 Industry association Agri SA on Thursday shared its view on how load-shedding has impacted on the agricultural sector. Agri SA Centre of Excellence chairperson Nicol Jansen says Eskom’s implementation of Stage 6 load-shedding on Monday evening caught the South African economy off guard,... 

Load-shedding threatens critical cold storage, water management in agri sector

Sluggish economic growth affecting companies' hiring plans – survey

By: Simone Liedtke     10th December 2019 South African employers have reported soft hiring intentions for the first quarter of 2020. The latest ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey shows that while 10% of employers forecast an increase in payrolls, 8% anticipate a decrease and 81% expect to make no changes. 

Effective drones well received by farmers

By: Tracy Hancock     6th December 2019 Local sugarcane farmers have responded positively to South Africa’s first licensed crop-spraying drone at a time when the industry is tackling a significantly challenging financial climate, says farmer-owned organisation Precision Agricultural Systems (PACSys) CEO Tim Wise. “Unfortunately, the... 

Effective drones well received by farmers
ANALYSE THIS DJI and PACSys are undertaking research and development to integrate crop health and/or management analytics with drone spraying systems to allow for “spot-spraying” applications

Eldana challenge continues, bat study under way

By: Tracy Hancock     6th December 2019 Eldana remains one of the sugar industry’s major challenges, says South African Sugarcane Research Institute (SASRI) biosecurity manager Rowan Stranack. The African sugarcane borer is commonly found throughout the West, Central, East and Southern Africa. 

Eldana challenge continues, bat study under way
GROWING NUMBERS The Eldana populations have increased over the years in the Midlands, where growers prefer integrated pest management strategies that rely on spraying as a last resort

Local sugar industry critical, master plan being developed

By: Tracy Hancock     6th December 2019 The local sugar industry is in decline and could be described as “being in the intensive care unit”, says South African Sugar Association (SASA) executive director Trix Trikam. Subsequently, SASA is discussing the development of a sugar industry master plan with government and downstream users... 

Local sugar industry critical, master plan being developed
SWEET ESCAPE To ensure sustainable development of the sugarcane sector, there needs to be diversification into sugar ethanol fuel and other cane-derived products

Sugar giant transforming business amid turmoil

By: Tracy Hancock     6th December 2019 In addition to its plans to exit sugar farming in South Africa, embattled agroprocessing business Tongaat Hulett expects to conclude a transaction to establish a transformative milling, refining and sugar marketing business by the end of this year. The developments are part of a strategic review... 

Sugar giant transforming business amid turmoil
FELIXTON MILL The initial assets of Tongaat Hulett’s transformative milling, refining and sugar marketing business have an installed capacity to produce more than one-million tons of sugar a year

Industry 4.0 advancing in local sugar milling

By: Tracy Hancock     6th December 2019 All South Africa’s sugar mills are now using the near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) analytical technology developed by centralised scientific organisation Sugar Milling Research Institute NPC (SMRI), says SMRI research and development manager Steve Davis. The SMRI-NIRS technology – which SMRI... 

Industry 4.0 advancing in local sugar milling
SUGAR 4.0 The potential value derived from Sugar Milling Research Institute NPC’s near-infrared spectroscopy analytical technology is only just beginning to be explored

IFC launches study to improve water efficiency in agriculture sector 

By: Simone Liedtke     5th December 2019 To identify opportunities for water efficiency in the agricultural sector and analyse the barriers to improvement in this area, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) has launched a study as part of its Agroprocessing Resource Efficiency Programme. In partnership with IFC’s partner,... 

IFC launches study to improve water efficiency in agriculture sector
IFC manufacturing, agribusiness and services adviser Raymond Greig

Water, land reform concerns weigh on agriculture sector's confidence 

By: Simone Liedtke     5th December 2019 The Agricultural Business Chamber and the Industrial Development Corporation Agribusiness Confidence Index declined from 46 points in the third quarter of this year to 44 index points in the fourth quarter. This level below the 50-point neutral mark, Agbiz chief economist Wandile Sihlobo told... 

Water, land reform concerns weigh on agriculture sector's confidence
Photo by Creamer Media's Dylan Slater
Agbiz chief economist Wandile Sihlobo

Uganda's Grainpulse set for expansion with IFC support

5th December 2019 The International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP) will extend an $11-million loan to Ugandan agribusiness company Grainpulse to support its expansion and strengthen its farmer supply chain, increasing food production and economic growth in... 

Tongaat to pursue claims against former execs over ‘undesirable’ accounting practices 

By: Simone Liedtke     29th November 2019 Embattled agroprocessing business Tongaat Hulett said on Friday that a probe by advisory firm PwC into the company’s past financial activities had revealed that certain senior executives had initiated or participated in “undesirable accounting practices”. In turn, this resulted in revenue being... 

Industrial parks must focus on overcoming business constraints, says DTIC 

By: Simone Liedtke     29th November 2019 To drive industrialisation in South Africa and promote economic growth, Department of Trade, Industry and Competition industrial cluster development director Gavin Adams says an industrial park’s key objective must be a focus on overcoming the constraints of doing business within a constrained... 

Industrial parks must focus on overcoming business constraints, says DTIC
Photo by Creamer Media's Dylan Slater
Gavin Adams

L2D launches rooftop aquaponics farm at Eastgate shopping centre

By: Marleny Arnoldi     29th November 2019 Real estate investment trust Liberty Two Degrees (L2D) on Friday launched a rooftop aquaponics farm district at its Eastgate shopping centre, in Bedfordview. The farm is a first for the company’s shopping centres. It uses smart technology to provide sustainable food production solutions to... 

Partnerships help pull domestic cotton industry out of doldrums

By: Donna Slater     29th November 2019 The South African cotton industry was in decline, having reached crisis point in about 2013. On the verge of collapse, a chain of events from three seemingly unassuming roleplayers set off a chain reaction that resulted in explosive growth and substantial redevelopment for the sector into an... 

Partnerships help pull domestic cotton industry out of doldrums

Solaris-based biodiesel introduced to operations at OR Tambo

By: Simone Liedtke     28th November 2019 Various entities on Thursday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for Project Reya Foya, the follow up to Project Solaris, which will introduce Solaris-based biodiesel into the ground-handling operations at OR Tambo International Airport. Solaris is a nicotine-free tobacco plant used by... 

Solaris-based biodiesel introduced to operations at OR Tambo
A Solaris seed pod

'Perfect storm' awaits farming and fisheries if world doesn't curb emissions

By: Reuters     28th November 2019 The world needs to urgently cut its planet-warming greenhouse-gas emissions to avoid a "perfect storm" that will lead to simultaneous falls in food production from both farming and marine fisheries, researchers said. If emissions continue to rise rapidly, nearly "90% of the world's population ...... 

Invicta interim earnings, cash generation increase

By: Marleny Arnoldi     25th November 2019 Investment holding and equipment distribution company Invicta on Monday reported a 1 046% year-on-year increase in basic earnings a share to 149c for the six months ended September 30. Headline earnings a share increased by 2 029% to 149c apiece. 

Making seeds to withstand climate change is getting harder

By: , Bloomberg     25th November 2019 Global hunger and malnutrition are on the rise, as are temperatures and water shortages. Humanity must adapt crops to the changing climate by breeding hardier plants, but political and commercial interests continue to stymie those efforts. Sharing seeds is critical to the global food system. To... 

Citrus industry rakes in R20bn in exports, despite challenging events

By: Simone Liedtke     25th November 2019 South Africa, which has packed 126-million cartons of citrus fruit for export globally, remains the second-largest global exporter of citrus fruit and, despite events such as drought and container terminal delays, the industry continues to rake export revenue of R20-billion a year into the... 

Prolonged drought hits South African farmers’ resilience

By: Natasha Odendaal     22nd November 2019 Federation of agricultural organisations AgriSA outlines a dire picture of the impact the years-long drought has had on South Africa’s farming industry and its now-waning capacity to recover in the midst of a climatic shift. Over the past four years, the country has faced a drier climatic spell,... 

Gauteng outlines ambitions for climate change mitigation   

By: Natasha Odendaal     21st November 2019 After two years of development, gathering input, undertaking consultations and further refinements, the Gauteng City Region is preparing to implement an overarching Climate Change Response Strategy and Action Plan. Unveiled at the third Gauteng Climate Change Indaba, held in Pretoria, the plan... 

Gauteng outlines ambitions for climate change mitigation

South Africa must consider psychological, trade impact of Mozambique LNG projects

By: Simone Liedtke     21st November 2019 Mozambique is likely on the brink of an economic breakthrough, owing to significant volumes of gas becoming available in the region as the liquefied natural gas (LNG) export projects in northern Mozambique come on line, says Standard Bank oil and gas head for southern Africa Paul Eardley-Taylor. 

Angola considered an ‘excellent investment opportunity’

By: Simone Liedtke     20th November 2019 Angola faces considerable challenges as its economy evolves, but the focus must be on diversifying its economy, especially as it boasts “excellent investment opportunities in different sectors”, a panel of speakers agreed during a seminar hosted by law firm Webber Wentzel on Tuesday. Webber... 

SA parliament committee concerned over lack of 'tangible' drought strategy

By: African News Agency      20th November 2019 Parliament's select committee on cooperative governance and traditional affairs, water and sanitation says it is concerned at the lack of a tangible drought strategy to deal effectively with the challenges South Africa is currently facing. Last week commercial farmers said a ravaging drought had... 

SA parliament committee concerned over lack of 'tangible' drought strategy

Southern Africa drought to persist through March, FEWS NET says

By: , Bloomberg     19th November 2019 Southern Africa faces further drought through March as land preparation and planting of summer crops gets underway, even after most parts of the region received near-normal rainfall through early November, according to the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET). “Seasonal forecasts... 

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