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Farming Economics News

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... 

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

Transnet undertakes upgrades at various terminals

By: Marleny Arnoldi     2nd July 2020 Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) has prepared for a 13% increase in citrus volumes this year, with new equipment being set up to boost operations at the Port Elizabeth, Durban and Ngqura container terminals. This follows the Citrus Growers Association’s forecast that new orchards coming into... 

Local company involved in Malawi railway link

26th June 2020 This year, environmental consulting engineers JG Afrika completed hydrological, topographical, sedimentation and climate studies to assist the Malawian government in rebuilding railway infrastructure. This was done in an area of the country that is prone to devastating floods.  

Local company involved  in Malawi railway link
FLOOD TOIL TEARS AND SWEAT Floods caused significant erosion and wash away damage on several sections of the railway line that are in close proximity to the river

Land Bank to get additional R3bn in extra budget, nothing for other SOEs

By: African News Agency      24th June 2020 South Africa's National Treasury on Wednesday said it would allocate an additional R3-billion to the recapitalise the Land Bank, but said no other in-year spending adjustments were proposed for state-owned companies in budget adjustments related to the Covid-19 crisis. In a supplementary budget... 

Zoetis believes precision animal farming innovation can help advance sector

By: Marleny Arnoldi     24th June 2020 As agriculture will play a critical role in the economic recovery of South Africa in the wake of Covid-19, animal health company Zoetis intends to introduce various innovations to help local farmers increase their productivity. Zoetis South Africa business unit director Dr Ralf Patzelt explains... 

Infrastructure key to agriculture's future

By: Marleny Arnoldi     23rd June 2020 For agriculture to become a greater contributor to the economy and to better ensure food security, industry experts agree that the country needs investment into infrastructure and this, in turn, needs a targeted approach. Speaking during a session at the inaugural Sustainable Infrastructure... 

Huletts Sugar joins Proudly South African

By: Simone Liedtke     22nd June 2020 Sugar manufacturer Tongaat Hulett Sugar is the latest large corporation to join Proudly South African (SA) and become part of the “buy local” movement. For over 128 years, Huletts has been a local company and is a key player in the sugar industry that has created 65 000 direct jobs and about 350... 

Agribusiness confidence falls to the lowest level since the 2008/9 financial crisis

By: Simone Liedtke     15th June 2020 The Agricultural Business Chamber of South Africa (Agbiz)/Industrial Development Corporation Agribusiness Confidence Index (ACI) has fallen from the 50-point mark in the first quarter of the year to 39 index points in the second quarter. This marks the lowest level since the third quarter of... 

Agribusiness confidence falls to the lowest level since the 2008/9 financial crisis

Solidarity opposes retrenchments at Agricultural Research Council

By: Marleny Arnoldi     9th June 2020 Trade union Solidarity is in talks with the Agricultural Research Council (Arc) about the best possible solution around the council’s impending retrenchments, which the union believes could pose a direct threat to South Africa’s food security. This follows after the union received a letter from... 

AfDB launches programmes to bolster Africa's food security

By: Donna Slater     9th June 2020 The African Development Bank (AfDB) has unveiled a strategic roadmap of projects and programmes to assist African countries in tackling the nutrition and food security aspects of the Covid-19 crisis. The Feed Africa Response to Covid-19 (Farec) paves the way for a comprehensive intervention to... 

Sector increasingly adopting digitalisation

By: Mamaili Mamaila     22nd May 2020 Technology provider ABB Southern Africa believes that digitalisation can address the production challenges of the sugar industry. 

Sector increasingly adopting digitalisation
JOHN MANUELL The full potential of sugar production processes lies in leveraging available data to drive the seamless interoperability among people, assets and production processes

Lifting of cigarette sale prohibition will improve tobacco farming economics

By: Donna Slater     21st May 2020 If the ban on cigarette sales is lifted, tobacco farmers supported by the Emerging Farmer Initiative will benefit enormously, enabling them to sell and duly process crops that have already been harvested, says agricultural services company Afgri. The organisation notes that permitting cigarettes... 

Digital solutions can assist agricultural export sector during Covid-19

By: Donna Slater     15th May 2020 Technology that can be used by the agricultural industry plays an increasingly important role as has recently become evident in the efficiencies it can drive in the food industry as Covid-19 disrupts various businesses, says start-up tech business Agrigate One CEO Greg Whitaker. He says the... 

Agritech solutions can help farmers offset Covid-19 risks, says Standard Bank

By: Marleny Arnoldi     6th May 2020 Financial services provider Standard Bank says digital solutions can help farmers to keep operations functioning and efficiently so during times of uncertainty. Agribusiness head Nico Groenewald says the outbreak of Covid-19 across the globe is presenting a unique set of challenges to... 

Agritech solutions can help farmers offset Covid-19 risks, says Standard Bank

Pandemic to shift focus to localisation, says Agbiz

By: Marleny Arnoldi     28th April 2020 The Covid-19 pandemic is expected to drive an increased focus on localisation, rather than globalisation, in order to ensure countries are more self-sufficient, says agricultural organisation Agbiz president Francois Strydom. In a recent webinar hosted by Agbiz and fellow agricultural industry... 

Pandemic to shift focus to localisation, says Agbiz

Covid-19 lockdowns, rand depreciation set to accelerate food inflation

By: Rebecca Campbell     24th April 2020 The Bureau for Food and Agricultural Policy (BFAP) has, in its latest brief report Food price outlook for Quarter 2 2020 and beyond, warned that food prices in South Africa are set to rise during this, second, quarter of the year. The country’s staple foods – maize, wheat and rice – would not be... 

Ramaphosa’s ‘new economy’ vision gains support from business 

By: Terence Creamer     22nd April 2020 Organised business and individual business leaders have expressed strong support for President’s Cyril Ramaphosa’s vision for using the Covid-19 recovery effort to “forge a new economy in a new global reality”, underpinned by a new social compact between business, labour, community and... 

Ramaphosa’s ‘new economy’ vision gains support from business
South Africa could use new social cohesion to turn its primary agricultural production competitive advantages to account

Half of South Africans in a ‘precarious nutrition situation’

By: Rebecca Campbell     10th April 2020 Independent research body the Bureau for Food and Agricultural Policy (BFAP) has warned that poorer households in South Africa would be put at risk, in terms of both their nutrition and health, if they suffer a fall in their income or an increase in food prices, as a result of measures put in... 

South African production of key foods good to reasonable

By: Rebecca Campbell     10th April 2020 An independent research centre, the Bureau for Food and Agricultural Policy (BFAP), has published an overview of five key foods produced in South Africa, as part of its analysis of the food and agricultural aspects of the Covid-19 pandemic crisis. The foods are chicken (meat), maize (grains),... 

Illovo Sugar reconfigures medical infrastructure to deal with potential Covid-19 infections

By: Simone Liedtke     7th April 2020 Sugar producer Illovo Sugar Africa is reconfiguring its medical infrastructure to deal directly with any potential Covid-19 infection within its own business, or the surrounding communities. In commemorating World Health Day on April 7, the producer explained how it had converted its existing... 

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... 

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