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Agroprocessing News

Tongaat mulls sale of its starch division

By: Simone Liedtke     13th February 2020 JSE-listed sugar producer Tongaat Hulett has entered into negotiations with regard to the potential sale of Tongaat Hulett Starch. The division is Africa’s largest producer of starch, glucose and related products. It converts more than 670 000 t/y of bought-in maize into starch and starch-based... 

TLU SA objects to forced, costly water meters for irrigation farmers

By: African News Agency      12th February 2020 In an official letter to the Minister of Water Affairs and Sanitation, Lindiwe Sisulu, TLU SA on Tuesday strongly objected to an announcement on the installation of obligatory water measuring devices for irrigation farmers. According to a notice published in the Government Gazette on 17 January,... 

Smart drones to be tested in battle against East Africa locust swarms

By: Reuters     11th February 2020 The United Nations (UN) is to test drones equipped with mapping sensors and atomizers to spray pesticides in parts of east Africa battling an invasion of desert locusts that are ravaging crops and exacerbating a hunger crisis. Hundreds of millions of the voracious insects have swept across... 

'Drastic' fall in bumblebee populations shocks scientists

By: Reuters     7th February 2020 When scientist Peter Soroye first saw the figures showing estimated bumblebee populations in North America had fallen by nearly 50% in a single generation, he thought it must be a typo. He checked the numbers - the result of a long-term analysis of bumblebee populations published in the journal... 

'Drastic' fall in bumblebee populations shocks scientists

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

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... 

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

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. 

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

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

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... 

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

'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 ...... 

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... 

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

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... 

Authentic storytelling will attract new tourists

15th November 2019 A powerful message emerged during a presentation on trends by more than 15 high-level expert speakers at the recent Wine & Food Tourism Conference. Held at Spier near Stellenbosch on September 18, consultant Flux Trends analyst Dion Chang led a discussion about the trends that are shaping tourism... 

Modular installation systems fitted in abattoir

By: Darren Parker     15th November 2019 Multinational construction services company Hilti designed and supplied the modular installation systems to support wet services for chicken producer Early Bird Farms, in Olifantsfontein. Early Bird Farms has been refurbishing and refitting its operations as part of Project Phoenix, which... 

Modular installation systems fitted in abattoir
CRIZETTE VAN DEN BERGH The modular installation system is beneficial in terms of maintenance because of reduced downtime

Forum expected to drive investment to improve regional integration in Africa

By: Marleny Arnoldi     11th November 2019 This year's Africa Investment Forum (AIF) is focused on regional integration and accelerating investment accordingly, says African Development Bank (AfDB) president Akinwumi Adesina. Speaking on the first day of the forum, which is being held in Sandton, he noted that a lack of infrastructure,... 

Next-generation protein could come from air, methane, volcanic springs

By: Reuters     6th November 2019 It may sound like science fiction, but in a few short years the family dinner table may be laden with steak from a printer and other proteins produced from air, methane or volcanic microbes. With the explosive success of vegan beef and burger substitutes developed by Beyond Meat and Impossible... 

New agricultural agency to facilitate investments worth R12.9bn  

By: Terence Creamer     6th November 2019 A new agricultural development agency will be launched in January to oversee 32 farming investments across South Africa collectively valued at R12.9-billion. Politician-turned-businessperson Roelf Meyer unveiled the venture, which has hitherto been pursued under the aegis of the Public Private... 

New agricultural agency to facilitate investments worth R12.9bn
Photo by Creamer Media's Dylan Slater
Roelf Meyer

Landmark deal to give Khoi and San benefit-sharing levy in Rooibos

By: African News Agency      1st November 2019 The Rooibos industry and the Khoi-Khoi and San have signed an access and benefit-sharing (ABS) agreement which will see the Khoi-Khoi and San communities benefit from the commercialisation of the indigenous herbal tea. A special ceremony to mark the historic occasion was held in !Khwa ttu, close... 

R50m emergency drought funding approved for Western Cape farms

By: African News Agency      24th October 2019 The Western Cape cabinet has approved the release of R50 million in emergency funding to assist farms severely affected by drought.  According to the province's MEC for finance and economic opportunities, David Maynier, the release of the funding was authorised on Tuesday.  

South African organisation helps to launch World Citrus Organisation

By: Marleny Arnoldi     24th October 2019 A first of its kind World Citrus Organisation (WCO) was launched, in Madrid, Spain, this week. The organisation places citrus fruit at the same level of coordination worldwide as other fruit categories with global platforms – such as pears and apples, kiwis, avocado or red fruit. 

How to halt global warming for $300bn

By: Bloomberg     23rd October 2019 $300-billion. That’s the money needed to stop the rise in greenhouse gases and buy up to 20 years of time to fix global warming, according to United Nations climate scientists. It’s the gross domestic product of Chile, or the world’s military spending every 60 days. The sum is not to fund green... 

Ethiopia probes possible theft of funds for sugar expansion

By: Bloomberg     23rd October 2019 Ethiopia is investigating possible misappropriation of funds meant for the expansion of ten State-owned sugar factories that are part of the industry now slated for privatization. The planned sale of factories now run by Ethiopian Sugar Corp. is part of a drive by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s... 

World’s second-biggest mohair industry restarts as monopoly ends

By: Bloomberg     21st October 2019 Mohair sales in Lesotho, which produces a fifth of the world’s supply of the luxury fiber, have restarted after the government buckled to pressure from farmers and ended a controversial monopoly handed to a Chinese entrepreneur. The first auction conducted by locally-owned Maluti Wool and Mohair... 

Omnia seeks to reset course as it emerges from financial distress

By: Terence Creamer     11th October 2019 JSE-listed Omnia, best known for the production of fertilisers, explosives and specialty chemicals, expects a strategic review of the business to be completed during the first quarter of 2020. The outcome of the review could result in the sale of certain product lines or units, as well as the... 

Omnia seeks to reset course as it emerges from financial distress
Omnia CEO Seelan Gobalsamy

Chamber involved in sustainable, job-creating initiatives

By: Cameron Mackay     11th October 2019 The Italian-South African Chamber of Trade and Industries is engaging in the planning of two significant initiatives to support Italian small, medium-sized and microenterprises (SMMEs) to create jobs and make rehabilitated land previously used for mining available to establish commercial farming.... 

Chamber involved in sustainable, job-creating initiatives
PAMINA BOHRER The Smile initiative seeks to create a directory for Italian SMMEs and encourage economic activity and interaction among these business communities

Drought conditions persist in some parts of the country – Agriculture dept

By: African News Agency      9th October 2019 Below normal rainfall is anticipated over the central and south-eastern parts of South Africa during late spring, while above normal rainfall is expected during early summer to mid-summer in the central and eastern regions, the department of agriculture, forestry and fisheries said on Wednesday,... 

Drought conditions persist in some parts of the country – Agriculture dept
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