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Farming Economics News

Land Bank posts a R172m interim loss for 2020

By: News24Wire      19th January 2021 The Land Bank has posted a R172-million loss from its continuing operations for the six months ended on 30 September as its interest income continued to decline while provision for bad debts grew. The state-owned lender, which finances approximately 27% of agricultural debt in SA and is the only... 

Agri SA bemoans Land Bank incompetence, as revealed by Auditor-General

By: Marleny Arnoldi     8th January 2021 Industry organisation Agri SA has expressed concern about the status of the Land Bank’s financial sustainability, following a damning report published by the Auditor-General (AG) of South Africa Tsakani Maluleke. “Whoever was responsible for the financial loss of R2.8-billion must be held... 

Sugar growers expand buy local campaign to try and save a 'million livelihoods'

By: News24Wire      7th January 2021 The SA Canegrowers' Association has expanded its campaign aimed at raising awareness of the serious threats facing the local sugar industry. Chief among these is the significant share of the local market that cheap imports hold, the association said in a statement on Thursday. 

Locust prediction tool allows for early intervention in four African countries so far

By: Marleny Arnoldi     6th January 2021 Pan-African marketplace Selina Wamucii has launched, on its platform, a free tool called Kuzi that can help farmers and pastoralists predict locust behaviour. The artificial intelligence-powered tool generates real-time heatmaps of locusts across Africa, showing all potential migration routes and... 

Implementation of Poultry Master Plan progressing, industry capacity increases

By: Simone Liedtke     8th December 2020 Progress has been made on the implementation of the Poultry Master Plan, in spite of a decline in chicken consumption during the initial lockdown period, the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC) has said. Over the course of the past 12 months, a new tariff was introduced on... 

IBM launches support for digital agriculture in Africa initiative

By: Schalk Burger     7th December 2020 Information technology (IT) multinational IBM on December 7 announced its active support for the Digital4Agriculture Initiative (D4Ag), which aims to foster African startups in the agricultural sector and strengthen the long-term living conditions of local small-scale farmers by increasing... 

Sugar master plan signed and good to go

4th December 2020 The virtual signing of the much-anticipated Sugarcane Value Chain Master Plan 2030 has been welcomed by all stakeholders of the South African sugar industry, according to a statement issued by the South African Sugar Association (Sasa) last month. “This is a momentous occasion for the industry... 

Sugar master plan signed and good to go
Photo by Creamer Media
SWEET DEAL Local sugar producers will be supported and given greater preference through the newly minted sugar master plan

New female vice chairperson for sugar association

4th December 2020 The South African Farmers Development Association (Safda) said in statement issued last month that it “welcomes and congratulates” the appointment of new South African Sugar Association (Sasa) vice chairperson Joanmariae Fubbs. Fubbs was nominated by Safda and voted in at a special meeting of... 

Business restructuring anchors producer as sugar master plan gives hope

By: Darren Parker     4th December 2020 The business restructuring efforts of sugar producer Tongaat Hulett over the past few years have enabled it to enter the Covid-19 outbreak as a “leaner, fit-for-purpose organisation” better able to weather the pandemic, says Tongaat Hulett sugar operations MD Simon Harvey. “The Covid-19 pandemic... 

Business restructuring anchors producer as sugar master plan  gives hope
A NEW HORIZON The sugar master plan seeks to create a diversified and globally competitive, sustainable and transformed sugarcane-based value chain

Tough times ahead despite better yields

By: Darren Parker     4th December 2020 Data gathered by the South African Canegrowers Association (SA Canegrowers) indicate that sugar cane crop yields in the current season are expected to be an improvement on those of the past year, owing to “perfect” to weather to date. Moreover, canegrowers have also put much effort into... 

Tough times ahead despite better yields
ABUNDANT HARVEST A large yield and constrained sugar milling capacity means that some sugar cane will not be processed this year

Rail link planned for small-scale cane growers

By: Darren Parker     4th December 2020 Sugar producer Tongaat Hulett is partnering with the South African Farmers Development Association, and the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development to establish a sugar cane rail transport system, in KwaZulu-Natal, between Makhathini cane growers in northern Zululand and... 

Rail link planned for small-scale cane growers
LOWERED HAULAGE COSTS The project will result in a 50% reduction in transportation costs for growers

Digital agriculture to assist sugar growers

By: Darren Parker     4th December 2020 The South African Sugar Research Institute (Sasri), a division of the South African Sugar Association (Sasa), is focusing its research and technological development on digital agriculture to support canegrowers in decision-making, in their choice of cane varieties, to establish more accurate crop... 

Digital agriculture to assist sugar growers
PESKY PROBLEM The Eldana saccharina larvae bore into sugar cane and can ruin entire crops

Land Bank creditor urges South Africa to speed up rescue efforts

By: Bloomberg     3rd December 2020 South Africa’s National Treasury and the state-owned Land and Agricultural Development Bank are being accused of dragging their heels in negotiating a rescue package for the stricken lender, leaving creditors in the dark as debt repayments loom. Asset managers and other lenders are yet to receive... 

Agribusiness Confidence Index jumps to 61 in the fourth quarter  

By: Marleny Arnoldi     1st December 2020 The Agricultural Business Chamber/Industrial Development Corporation Agribusiness Confidence Index has rallied to 61 points in the fourth quarter – its highest level since the third quarter of 2014. This followed a notable recovery to 51 points in the third quarter of the year, implying that... 

Agribusiness Confidence Index jumps to 61 in the fourth quarter

Agri SA calls for govt aid as Land Bank is too important to fail

By: Marleny Arnoldi     27th November 2020 Industry organisation Agri SA has warned that the action by Moody’s Investor Service to lower the Lank Bank and Eskom’s respective ratings pose a risk to food security and overall economic recovery in South Africa. It says Moody’s downgraded the State-owned Land Bank as a result of ongoing... 

First group of Western Cape agriculture drone pilots receive their wings

By: Yvonne Silaule     27th November 2020 The first group of Western Cape Department of Agriculture drone pilots received their wings this week. The department assisted the group to successfully sit for the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) examination to obtain their remote pilot licences. Training was provided by Drone-X,... 

Awaiting South African bailout, land bank locks out farmers

By: Bloomberg     19th November 2020 One of the biggest lenders to South African farmers can’t take on new clients or meet half the needs of existing customers until it gets another government bailout to keep operating. The state-owned Land and Agricultural Development Bank has asked the National Treasury for R7-billion to ease its... 

Govt, industry sign the sugar master plan

By: Creamer Media Reporter      17th November 2020 Trade, Industry and Competition Minister Ebrahim Patel, Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Minister Thoko Didiza and sugar industry stakeholders have signed the Sugar Industry Master Plan. As part of the master plan, industrial users and retailers have agreed to minimum offtake of... 

Govt, industry sign the sugar master plan
A sugarcane plantation

Digital network launched to support wine sector

13th November 2020 The Western Cape government, in partnership with agency for tourism, trade and investment promotion for Cape Town and the Western Cape, Wesgro, as well as wine marketing specialists Wines of South Africa (WoSA), have announced the launch of the Cape Export Network (CEN). Launched in September,... 

Digital network launched to support wine sector
TECH TALK The Cape Export Network uses technology to introduce producers and buyers on a secure platform

Didiza gives update on release of State-owned land

By: Donna Slater     10th November 2020 Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Minister Thoko Didiza says her department, on October 1, advertised 529 000 ha of land, amounting to 894 farms across South Africa for release on October 15. “The advert was to run for a month ending November 15,” she says. This forms part of the... 

Greenpeace urges African countries to lead climate developments on the continent

By: Sane Dhlamini     9th November 2020 Not for profit environmental organisation Greenpeace has called on African countries to lead the development of new climate databases and models rather than depend on other countries as future average temperatures on the continent are projected to increase at a rate faster than the global average... 

Greenpeace urges African countries to lead climate developments on the continent

South Africa moves to soothe investor fears over land grabs

By: Bloomberg     21st October 2020 As South Africa revises its legal framework to make it easier to take property without paying for it, the nation’s land minister has given assurances that the contentious process won’t degenerate into a free-for-all. The ruling African National Congress decided in December 2017 to change the... 

South Africa moves to soothe investor fears over land grabs
Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Minister Thoko Didiza

Africa’s economic recovery lies in agriculture – minister 

By: African News Agency      15th October 2020 South African Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Thoko Didiza said on Thursday that the agricultural sector should be at the centre of the country’s and Africa’s economic recovery post-Covid-19. Didiza was speaking during a virtual address, commemorating rural women in... 

Africa’s economic recovery lies in agriculture – minister
Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Thoko Didiza

Agricultural transformation a Presidential imperative, says Ramaphosa

By: Simone Liedtke     8th October 2020 President Cyril Ramaphosa has highlighted access to agricultural land for subsistence farming and commercial production as a national priority, stating that the transformation of patterns of ownership “are fundamental in addressing not only food security, but also historical injustices”. In his... 

Agri SA welcomes availing of State land for agricultural purposes

By: Simone Liedtke     2nd October 2020 South African agricultural industry association Agri SA has welcomed the announcement by Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Minister Thoko Didiza that over 500 000 ha of State land will be made available for agricultural purposes. Agri SA Centre of Excellence for Land chairperson... 

Govt announces new application process for available agricultural State land  

By: Simone Liedtke     1st October 2020 Members of the public who want to apply for available agricultural State land as part of the government contribution to the land reform programme, will need to follow a new process set out by Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Minister Thoko Didiza on October 1. The adjudication and... 

Govt announces new application process for available agricultural State land
Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Minister Thoko Didiza

Agribusiness Confidence Index rebounds to 51 in third quarter

By: Marleny Arnoldi     14th September 2020 The Agbiz/Industrial Development Corporation Agribusiness Confidence Index rebounded to 51 in the third quarter. This follows a deterioration to 39 in the second quarter, a period which had heightened uncertainty about whether the agriculture and agribusiness sectors would operate efficiently,... 

Astral Foods ‘cautiously satisfied’ with earnings for the year

By: Simone Liedtke     14th September 2020 Poultry producer Astral Foods has indicated that its earnings a share and headline earnings a share for the year ending September 30, are expected to be down by no more than 25% on the comparative period’s reported results. Astral CEO Chris Schutte on September 14 said Astral was “cautiously... 

Opinion: Building back better on food and agriculture

11th September 2020 In this opinion piece, United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) director-general QU Dongyu writes about a comprehensive response and recovery programme to overcome the impacts of Covid-19 through up-scaled and robust international collaboration. As the impacts of Covid-19 take their... 

Opinion: Building back better on food and agriculture

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

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. 

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.

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

Hempcrete advantageous for construction

By: Mc'Kyla Nortje     31st July 2020 Hempcrete provides several advantages when used for the construction of a building, says Cape Town-based architecture firm Wolf and Wolf Architecture founder and principal Wolf Wolf. Hempcrete is a fully biodegradable material that comprises hemp hurds – the woody core removed during processing... 

Hempcrete advantageous for construction
Photo by Wolf
SUPERIOR BENEFITS Hemp boasts several characteristics that make it superior from an ecological and economic perspective

Agri SA bemoans agriculture programme budget cuts

By: Marleny Arnoldi     22nd July 2020 Industry body Agri SA says the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development’s salary bill should be cut by a higher amount rather than the cuts announced in funding for programmes for food security, land reform, production aid, infrastructure and rural development. “Scaling down... 

Agri SA bemoans agriculture programme budget cuts

IFC exceed 2019 fiscal commitments with $4.6bn invested

By: Donna Slater     22nd July 2020 IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, committed $5.6-billion to private sector development in the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa in fiscal year 2020, supporting businesses across the two regions to launch, grow, provide jobs and fight the impacts of the global Covid-19 pandemic.   IFC is a... 

Study calls for extension of moratorium on transport height restrictions  

By: Irma Venter     21st July 2020 Many South African industries, especially the fruit industry, could suffer major financial losses if they are not allowed to transport their goods in high-cube containers beyond June, next year, indicates a new Master’s degree study. This is when government’s seven-year moratorium (running from... 

Study calls for extension of moratorium on transport height restrictions 
Tiffany Adams
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