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Agriculture News

Right choices essential for the future of South African agriculture

By: Rebecca Campbell     14th August 2019 The future of the South African agricultural sector is dependent on the country and industry making the right policy and investment choices. So cautioned Bureau for Food and Agricultural Policy (BFAP) Board of Directors member Professor Ferdi Meyer on Wednesday. He was speaking at the launch of... 

Astral CEO to take leave of office

By: Simone Liedtke     14th August 2019 Poultry producer Astral Foods CEO Chris Schutte will be taking leave of office to recuperate from a cardiovascular surgery later this month. The date of his return to office will be announced at a later stage. 

Foskor board to finalise sustainability plan within six months  

By: Terence Creamer     13th August 2019 Foskor chairperson Bobby Godsell reported on Tuesday that the company’s board was conducting a comprehensive review of the group’s underperforming operations with the aim of developing a sustainability plan within the coming six months. Foskor, which mines phosphate rock and magnetite in Limpopo... 

Foskor board to finalise sustainability plan within six months
Foskor chairperson Bobby Godsell and IDC CEO TP Nchocho on prospects for turning around the company. Camera Work & Editing: Nicholas Boyd. Recorded: 13.7.2019

Promising research progress on agrimats

By: Darren Parker     9th August 2019 Research is under way on new technology that aims to convert algae and any other biomass waste, such as bagasse, into organic fertiliser mats, or agrimats, Agricultural Research Council (ARC) senior researcher Dr Khumbulani Dhavu tells Engineering News. The agrimats are manufactured by pressing... 

Promising research progress on agrimats
MULCH PROGRESS BEING MADE The agrimats research project is testing the viability of sustainable organic mulch mat production for commercial use

Solar-powered irrigation requires greater subsidisation 

By: Darren Parker     9th August 2019 The high initial capital expenditure required for solar-powered irrigation systems (SPISes) makes it mostly an unviable option for small-scale farmers in South Africa, unless they receive heavy subsidisation, according to International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage president Felix... 

Solar-powered irrigation requires greater subsidisation
ICID president Felix Reinders discusses South Africa’s role in international irrigation concerns.

Ultrasonic dripline cleaner commercialised

By: Darren Parker     9th August 2019 Irrigation systems manufacturer Senter360 has partnered with local inventor and farmer Leon Lingnau to bring his proprietary ultrasonic dripline cleaning system Greendrum to the market on a commercial scale. The first co-manufactured unit was sold at this year’s NAMPO Harvest Day, in the Free... 

Ultrasonic dripline cleaner commercialised
SOUND TECHNOLOGY The Greendrum device can effectively clean driplines without the need for chemicals

Sappi Saiccor mill upgrade underpinned by ‘healthy’ dissolving wood pulp demand

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     9th August 2019 JSE-listed forest products group Sappi’s investment of R7.7-billion in its Saiccor mill – a two-part project called Project Vulindlela – in Umkomaas, south of Durban, has, since the announcement a year ago, been progressing apace and it is expected that the proposed completion date of the fourth... 

Sappi Saiccor mill upgrade underpinned by ‘healthy’ dissolving wood pulp demand

Agriculture sector driven to spend more upfront on innovation 

By: Darren Parker     9th August 2019 Amid current economic pressure, high energy costs and power grid uncertainty, the agriculture sector in South Africa is starting to favour higher capital expenditure on advanced technology because of the resulting long-term reductions in operating costs, says drive engineering company... 

Agriculture sector  driven to spend more upfront on innovation
SEW-Eurodrive sales manager Willem Strydom discusses the motors supplied to the 100 t/h Free State feed mill.

Improving efficiency, safety and profits with specialised equipment

By: Mamaili Mamaila     9th August 2019 There is a big opportunity to improve safety, efficiency and cost savings when it comes to kiln maintenance, says cement kiln equipment and bricking-machine manufacturer Bricking Solutions MD Heather Harding. 

Improving efficiency, safety and profits with specialised equipment
ACTION PLAN It is critical to implement a detailed and consistent plan of action, ensuring the safety of all persons during large, intricate, and complicated projects

UN report warns climate climate may lead to food shortages

By: Bloomberg     8th August 2019 Climate change is putting the world’s food supply at risk. With more extreme weather events, stable food production will increasingly be imperiled, threatening the poorest populations first, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said in a report Thursday. In addition, the push to use more... 

Absa optimistic about growing its agriloan footprint in Africa

By: Marleny Arnoldi     6th August 2019 Absa Corporate and Investment Bank (CIB) plans to further grow its agriculture lending book in South Africa and other African markets where demand for funding is strong despite tough economic conditions. Absa CIB agriculture head Roux Wildenboer says agriculture is a key driver for economic... 

Sugar producer Tongaat to delist from LSE

By: Reuters     2nd August 2019 South African sugar producer Tongaat Hulett will delist its shares from the LSE to cut costs and streamline its shareholding structure amid low trading volumes in the London-listed stock, the company said on Friday. Tongaat, which said in April it would restate financial information after a... 

Major salmon-farming project launched in Lesotho

By: Rebecca Campbell     2nd August 2019 Fresh-water salmon fish-farming company Pure Salmon has announced a major investment in Lesotho, to establish a recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) salmon farm in the country’s highland Butha-Buthe region. The project is worth $250-million and is being undertaken in partnership with the... 

SAB close to reaching 100% local sourcing of raw materials

By: African News Agency      1st August 2019 South African Breweries (SAB) says it is on its way to sourcing 100% of all its raw materials from local suppliers. SAB, a subsidiary of global brewer AB InBev, said this had been instrumental in the business achieving a Level 3 broad-based black-economic empowerment (BBBEE) status, up from... 

AB InBev empowers farmers across Africa through blockchain technology

By: African News Agency      31st July 2019 The world's largest brewer AB InBev said on Wednesday a partnership with US fintech company BanQu was giving smallholder African farmers in its supply chain the resources they needed to grow and prosper. AB InBev Africa is rolling out a blockchain solution developed by BanQu which enables farmers... 

Land reform panel recommends seizures without pay in certain circumstances

By: Reuters     29th July 2019 An advisory report on land reform in South Africa has recommended changing the constitution to allow the government to seize land without compensation but only in certain circumstances. The report by a presidential panel of experts, released on Sunday, poured water on wholesale land seizures... 

Land reform panel recommends seizures without pay in certain circumstances

Illovo collaborates with land rights NGO, UK’s DFID on land policy

By: African News Agency      26th July 2019 Illovo Sugar Africa said on Friday it had collaborated with land rights non-governmental organisation Landesa and the UK Department for International Development (DFID) to help the company implement its land rights policies and commitments. In a statement, it said the joint project had culminated... 

OPINION: Scourge of hunger rising in Africa

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     26th July 2019 In this opinion piece, Engineering News Senior Deputy Editor Martin Zhuwakinyu writes about the worsening global food security situation. Last week I wrote about an imminent dilemma that Africa faces: its farmers are old, aged 60 on average, and convincing their offspring to take over when they... 

OPINION: Scourge of hunger rising in Africa

Poultry importers, producers in standoff over proposed import tariffs  

By: Simone Liedtke     25th July 2019 The standoff between South African poultry producers and importers, about proposed import tariff increases continues. A decision to implement tariff increases of up to 82% on chicken imported from non-European Union (EU) and non-Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries could result... 

Poultry importers, producers in standoff over proposed import tariffs
Photo by Creamer Media's Simone Liedtke
AMIE CEO Paul Matthew

South Africa's 2019 maize output expected to shrink by 13%

By: Reuters     24th July 2019 South Africa's 2019 maize harvest forecast is expected to be reduced from previous estimates after harvests in the North West province pointed to lower yields, a Reuters poll showed on Wednesday. The government's Crop Estimates Committee, which will provide its sixth production forecast for the... 

South Africa's 2019 maize output expected to shrink by 13%

Major salmon-farming project announced for Lesotho

By: Rebecca Campbell     23rd July 2019 Fresh-water salmon fish-farming company Pure Salmon has announced a major investment in Lesotho, to establish a recirculating aquaculture system salmon farm in the country’s highland Butha-Buthe region. The project is worth $250-million and is being undertaken in partnership with the Lesotho... 

OPINION: Making farming cool for youngsters

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     19th July 2019 In this opinion piece, Engineering News Senior Deputy Editor Martin Zhuwakinyu discusses the stigma in Africa that farming is synonymous with poverty.  

OPINION: Making farming cool for youngsters
Photo by Creamer Media's Dylan Slater
Engineering News Senior Deputy Editor Martin Zhuwakinyu

Feeding 10bn people will require genetically modified food

By: Bloomberg     17th July 2019 Like it or not, genetic modification is going to be an important tool to feed the planet’s growing population. If we want to feed ten-billion people by 2050, in a world beset by rising temperatures and scarcer water supplies, we will need to dramatically change the way we produce food. Increased... 

Didiza calls for conversation with land owners

By: African News Agency      16th July 2019 Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Minister Thoko Didiza on Tuesday called for dialogue with land owners as the department seeks to change historically skewed ownership demographics. Didiza said the department planned to "revitalise" land that was transferred through the state's... 

Didiza calls for conversation with land owners
Agriculture, Land Reform & Rural Development Thoko Didiza

Tongaat CEO seeking to freeze payments on R11bn of debt 

By: Bloomberg     16th July 2019 Tongaat Hulett is asking ten lenders for a break from payments on as much as R11-billion of debt so it can recover from the impact of having to restate accounts, according to CEO Gavin Hudson. The embattled South African sugar maker is spending about R1-billion a year servicing the borrowings and... 

Climate change takes priority in Creecy’s budget vote debate  

By: Nadine James     12th July 2019 Newly appointed Environment, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Barbara Creecy delivered her R7.5-billion budget vote statement in the National Assembly on Thursday, emphasising the socioeconomic threat of climate change, as more than two-million South Africans are directly dependent on the... 

Chicken import tariff increases will not solve industry problems – association

By: Marleny Arnoldi     10th July 2019 The Emerging Black Importers and Exports South Africa (Ebiesa) has called on government to stop an application launched by the South African Poultry Association (Sapa) to increase import tariffs on chicken to 82%. Ebiesa stated that Sapa’s rationale for seeking the tariff increases was that... 

Gauteng macroeconomic model to be ready in next 100 days, says Ramokgopa

By: Simone Liedtke     5th July 2019 Gauteng Economic Development, Agriculture and Environment MEC Dr Kgosientso Ramokgopa on Friday told media that a provincial macroeconomic model will be developed and finalised within the next 100 days. The model would help to address Gauteng’s disproportionate share of responsibilities and would... 

Gauteng macroeconomic model to be ready in next 100 days, says Ramokgopa
Photo by Creamer Media's Simone Liedtke
Gauteng Economic Development, Agriculture and Environment MEC Dr Kgosientso Ramokgopa

Sappi becomes international stakeholder member of the PEFC

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     1st July 2019 JSE-listed paper and pulp producer Sappi has become an International Stakeholder member of the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC). This membership aligns with Sappi’s focus on sustainable forest management and responsible procurement throughout its supply and value chains. 

Former Tongaat official scrutinised in echo of Steinhoff scandal 

By: Bloomberg     27th June 2019 Tongaat Hulett said South African police are investigating an unnamed former executive for his role in an accounting scandal that’s forced the sugar maker to restate financials and ask for its shares to be suspended. A criminal case has been opened against the individual, Tongaat said, without... 

Omnia to restructure as it seeks to reduce overextended balance sheet 

By: Schalk Burger     25th June 2019 Diversified chemicals group Omnia will, over the next two years, focus on improving the profit margins of its companies’ services and products, ensuring that its assets and investments deliver value, as well as on pursuing international expansion of intellectual property-based businesses that... 

Extreme weather is shaking up Africa's corn trade

By: Bloomberg     25th June 2019 At least three African nations will need to import more corn this year after extreme weather from cyclones to drought devastated crops, sparking some unusual trade flows. Corn is a staple grain across much of sub-Saharan Africa, where it’s milled and cooked with water to form a porridge or stiff... 

DTI forges ahead with product standardisation task

By: Mamaili Mamaila     14th June 2019 Following Mining Charter III’s call to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to develop a “Standardised Coding and Product Identification System in the Mining Supply Chain” whereby products can be identified using a unique name and code, the department has established a multistakeholder... 

DTI forges ahead with product standardisation task
INDUSTRY GROWTH The DTI looks forward to exchanging lessons and experiences to unpack challenges and identify solutions for growth across the manufacturing sector

Agribusiness confidence remains subdued

By: Marleny Arnoldi     11th June 2019 The Agbiz/Industrial Development Corporation Agribusiness Confidence Index (ACI) weakened to 44 in the second quarter. This followed a marginal improvement to 46 in the first quarter.  

Agribusiness confidence remains subdued

Mondi simplification still expected to be completed this year

By: Simone Liedtke     7th June 2019 LSE- and JSE-listed packaging and paper group Mondi on Friday confirmed that “good progress” was being made in simplifying the company’s corporate structure. This included the processes to obtain the necessary regulatory consents, Mondi said in a statement. 

Winetech Pitching Den entry deadline extended to June 28

By: Creamer Media Reporter      5th June 2019 Winetech and the South African Innovation Summit have extended the deadline for the Winetech Pitching Den entries to June 28. This is to enable more entrepreneurs to compete and showcase their agritech innovations to the South African wine industry. 

Tongaat’s shares fall as it announces plans to restate 2018 financial statements  

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     31st May 2019 JSE-listed Tongaat Hulett's share price on the JSE fell by nearly 10% on Friday afternoon after it announced that it would have to restate its financial statements for the financial year ended March 31, 2018, as a strategic and financial review had revealed “past practices which are of... 

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