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Farming Economics News

Agri-fintech company moves to provide digital support for small-scale farmers

By: Schalk Burger     3rd April 2020 Agri-fintech company eSus Africa is supporting small-scale and emerging farmers by gathering and using data. Its onsite system enables farmers to gather machine and sensor data, monitor inputs and feeds from weather and agriculture agencies for planning and decisions, as well as record yields,... 

Food security identified as great Covid-19 concern in Southern Africa

By: Simone Liedtke     2nd April 2020 Food security has been identified as one of the biggest concerns in Southern Africa amid the Covid-19 outbreak and ensuing lockdowns in countries across the continent. In a webinar on April 2, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the World Food Programme (WFP) said that, as most countries have... 

Food security identified as great Covid-19 concern in Southern Africa

Agri movement during lockdown is a privilege, should be treated as such - organisations

By: Marleny Arnoldi     30th March 2020 Industry organisation Agri South Africa (Agri SA), as part of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries’ Covid-19 task force, has been working closely with government to determine appropriate movement of essential goods related to the agriculture industry, which is a privilege the... 

Agri movement during lockdown is a privilege, should be treated as such - organisations

Communication and planning needed to limit Covid-19 impact on supply chains

By: Schalk Burger     27th March 2020 The impact on supply chains owing to the Covid-19 outbreak and from the closure of ports of entry can be mitigated through identification of potential impacts and early communications among affected stakeholders, says advisory firm Deloitte Africa restructuring services leader Jo Mitchell-Marais.... 

Distributor’s experience makes for sweeter projects supply

By: Mamaili Mamaila     27th March 2020 With more than 60 years of servicing the sugar industry, power transmission products distributor Bearings International (BI) has gained meaningful expertise, which enables the company to continue being a “dependable supplier” in the industry. 

Distributor’s experience makes for sweeter projects supply
SWEET RIDE Bearings International supplies the complete drive chain – from the feeder tables where the sugar cane arrives from the farm to the pack house where the product gets distributed

Mechanised systems gaining momentum

By: Mamaili Mamaila     27th March 2020 Manual harvesting currently dominates sugarcane harvesting operations. 

Mechanised systems gaining momentum
CANE MECHANISATION Any change towards a fully mechanised harvesting system involves many disciplines and affects all aspects of cane production

Mill equipment advances essential for industry

By: Mamaili Mamaila     27th March 2020 With the local sugar industry being more than 150 years old, advances in equipment critical to the milling process add “immense value”, as they improve the operational efficiency potential of the sugar mills, says industrial equipment supplier Verder Pumps MD Darryl Macdougall. 

Mill equipment advances essential for industry
ALLEVIATING THE DEFECTS Sucrose losses can be significantly reduced – if not mitigated altogether – if the correct advanced and integrated pumping solution is used

Company transforming amid difficulties

By: Mamaili Mamaila     27th March 2020 JSE-listed sugar producer Tongaat Hulett is striving to reconstruct its business to be innovative, resilient and cost effective. 

Company transforming  amid difficulties
TRANSFORMATION IN SIGHT The three main shareholders in Uzinzo hold 65%

Mill closures, continued market decline a concern for growers

By: Mamaili Mamaila     27th March 2020 With two sugar mills closing down and being mothballed for the 2020/21 season, growers are concerned that the remaining 12 mills might potentially struggle to successfully complete this season’s harvest, says the South African Canegrowers’ Association (SA Canegrowers). 

Mill closures, continued market decline a concern for growers
THE NUMBERS GAME The South African cane-growing sector comprises 21 500 cane growers – of which 20 200 are small-scale growers, producing about 20% of the 19-million tons of cane a year

Ministers announce Covid-19 business support measures  

By: Marleny Arnoldi     24th March 2020 Amid government’s strategy to “flatten the curve” of Coronavirus infections, government departments have shared more details on the measures that would be implemented to support businesses during the national declared lockdown time and afterwards. Health Minister Zweli Mkhize delivered an... 

Ministers announce Covid-19 business support measures
Photo by Creamer Media
Trade and Industry Minister Ebrahim Patel

Agri SA assures South Africans of food security

By: Marleny Arnoldi     20th March 2020 Agriculture industry association, Agri South Africa (SA), says South Africa’s food supply is unlikely to fall short, because of a resilient and diligent farming community. The association released a statement on Friday, unpacking the tough times that are ahead for the South African economy.  

Hard to laud agri confidence gains when prospects have since deteriorated, says Agbiz

By: Marleny Arnoldi     16th March 2020 The Agricultural Business Chamber of South Africa (Agbiz)/Industrial Development Corporation Agribusiness Confidence Index (ACI) has finally risen to 50 after six consecutive quarters of remaining below this neutral mark. The index picked up by six points to 50 in the first quarter of the... 

Hard to laud agri confidence gains when prospects have since deteriorated, says Agbiz
Photo by Creamer Media's Simone Liedtke
Agbiz chief economist Wandile Sihlobo

An arid future arrives early in South Africa’s farm country

By: Bloomberg     9th March 2020 Ben Brynard’s family has been farming sheep in northwest South Africa since 1923, and for the past 66 years has kept records on annual rainfall in the nearby town of Calvinia. In all that time, the three inches of rain he measured for 2019 was the least they’d ever gotten. Brynard looked at... 

African trade and energy developments poised to boost agriculture

By: Marleny Arnoldi     6th March 2020 Africa is at risk of missing out on immense growth opportunities if it does not advance more regional trade and investment soon at a time that foreign countries are increasingly recognising the value of investing in underdeveloped African countries. Research and consultancy firm Africa House... 

African trade and energy developments poised to boost agriculture

South African economy enters recession as Q4 GDP contracts 1.4% 

By: Reuters     3rd March 2020 South Africa’s gross domestic product contracted 1.4% in the fourth quarter of 2019, following a revised 0.8% contraction in the third quarter, data from Statistics South Africa showed on Tuesday. Economists polled by Reuters had predicted a contraction of 0.1% in quarter-on-quarter and... 

South African economy enters recession as Q4 GDP contracts 1.4%

Deere taps tractor-hailing tech in bid to break ground in Africa

By: Reuters     25th February 2020 It's ride-hailing, farm style. Deere & Co is teaming up with the "Uber of tractors" in Africa and betting on a future where farmers summon machines with the touch of a button. The world's leading farm equipment maker is outfitting its tractors with startup Hello Tractor's technology, which allows... 

South Africa confirms locust outbreak in Namibia, Karoo region

By: Bloomberg     25th February 2020 A locust outbreak in Namibia and South Africa’s northwestern Karoo region may pose a threat to grazing lands in a region that’s already prone to droughts. South Africa’s Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries confirmed the outbreak of brown locusts in a newsletter published on its... 

Constitutional amendment only unlikely to deliver success, warns land panel 

By: Irma Venter     20th February 2020 South Africa had to put in place a 50- to 100-year food security plan, and then walk backwards to see what it can do to make that happen, says former Afrgri CEO Chris Venter. “However, this is not happening. We are not looking at the areas becoming increasingly drier in our country to see what we... 

Constitutional amendment only unlikely to deliver success, warns land panel

Newly launched agency plans to drive agricultural development, ensure successful land reform

By: Schalk Burger     18th February 2020 The nonprofit Agricultural Development Agency, launched on Tuesday, in Pretoria, is a cross-sector, government-supported and private-sector led initiative to develop farmers by providing technical skills and private-sector financial support and linking the farmers into supply chains to ensure... 

Newly launched agency plans to drive agricultural development, ensure successful land reform

Poultry association looking forward to tariff confirmation soon

By: Simone Liedtke     17th February 2020 The South African Poultry Association (Sapa) has welcomed President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement during his State of the Nation Address (SoNA) last week that the new tariffs on imported chicken to curb the unfair component of international trade, will be set within two weeks. Sapa GM Izaak... 

Digital transformation initiative for smallholder farmers

By: Schalk Burger     14th February 2020 The Eswatini Water and Agricultural Development Enterprise (ESWADE), in partnership with network operator Eswatini Mobile and South African agri-fintech company eSusFarm Africa, will use the eSusFarm Africa platform to provide information and services for 10 000 farmers on small-holdings. ESWADE... 

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,... 

Wine grape producers’ profitability improving, but some are still struggling

By: Marleny Arnoldi     10th February 2020 Industry body Vinpro says South African wine grape producers’ financial viability is improving, after a long downward cycle; however, there is still a long way towards sustainability. Vinpro conducted its Production Plan Survey among 260 wine grape producers, finding that 28% of respondents... 

'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

Southern African association to co-chair World Citrus Organisation

By: Marleny Arnoldi     5th February 2020 The Citrus Growers’ Association of Southern Africa (CGASA) has been appointed a co-chair of the World Citrus Organisation (WCO). This was announced during the official founding of the WCO, at the international fresh produce trade show Fruit Logistica, in Berlin, on Tuesday.  

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

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

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

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 ...... 

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

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
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