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Farming Economics News

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... 

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

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... 

Bidcorp continues positive performance in first months of financial year

By: Simone Liedtke     18th November 2019 International food, service and technology group Bidcorp CEO Bernard Benson on Monday said trading conditions in the four months to October 31 had continued to be positive and was broadly in line with the performances achieved in the 2019 financial year. During a webcast presentation on Monday,... 

SA’s water shortages 

13th November 2019 Creamer Media’s Chanel de Bruyn speaks to Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Natasha Odendaal about the water supply challenges in South Africa, how government plans to address the situation and how the ongoing drought is affecting the agricultural sector.   

SA’s water shortages
SA’s water shortages

Poultry master plan broadly accepted by industry

By: Simone Liedtke     7th November 2019 President Cyril Ramaphosa this week announced a new master plan for the poultry industry, which aims to put the industry back on a growth path. The plan, which has been broadly accepted by the poultry industry, was compiled by the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC) and brokered... 

Poultry master plan broadly accepted by industry

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

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. 

Agri SA, Minister agree on need for partnerships to advance growth 

By: Marleny Arnoldi     10th October 2019 With stagnant economic growth and an unemployment rate of about 29%, the pressure is increasing on the agricultural sector to contribute more to gross domestic product (GDP) and live up to its potential in the country. However, the sector is facing its own challenges, including policy... 

Agri SA, Minister agree on need for partnerships to advance growth
Agriculture Minister Thoko Didiza discusses what the sector needs to grow and Agri SA president Dan Kriek shares his view on land reform policy

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

Land reform, climate change, cheap imports pose risks to agriculture in KZN – FNB

By: African News Agency      7th October 2019 Agriculture in KwaZulu-Natal is growing at around 12 percent per annum, driven by diversification, but there are risks to the sector posed by land expropriation, climate change and cheaper imports, First National Bank said on Monday. KwaZulu-Natal is recovering from a severe drought with... 

Drought relief for Karoo sheep farmers

By: Darren Parker     4th October 2019 Pump manufacturer Grundfos, in association with humanitarian organisation Gift of the Givers, is assisting nonprofit organisation Save the Sheep in providing relief for drought-stricken sheep farmers in Sutherland, in the Northern Cape. Borehole water in the area is usually lifted using wind... 

Drought relief for Karoo sheep farmers
SILENCE OF THE LAMBS The ongoing drought in Sutherland is killing the livelihoods of the sheep farmers in the region

South Africa should identify ‘low hanging fruits’ in tradable sectors – panel

By: Simone Liedtke     2nd October 2019 South Africa should identify the “low hanging fruits” it has in growing the country’s mining, manufacturing, agriculture and tourism sectors, economist Thabi Leoka says, dubbing these as “tradable sectors” that can help the economy grow. However, she laments that South Africa is “nearing that... 

South Africa should identify ‘low hanging fruits’ in tradable sectors – panel

John Deere invites third-party providers to join its digital platform 

By: Marleny Arnoldi     2nd October 2019 Agricultural equipment supplier John Deere sub-Saharan Africa (JD SA) on Tuesday hosted a technology day, inviting 18 solutions providers to learn more about the company’s Operations Centre (OC) platform. The OC platform comprises digital innovations to manage farming operations. 

John Deere invites third-party providers to join its digital platform
John Deere's Wayne Spaumer tells Engineering News Online about the plans for its Operations Centre offering. Video: Kutlwano Matlala; Editing: Nicholas Boyd.

Policy uncertainty continues to subdue agri-sector confidence

By: Marleny Arnoldi     16th September 2019 The Agbiz/Industrial Development Corporation Agribusiness Confidence Index marginally improved to 46 points during the third quarter of the year, compared with 44 points in the second quarter. However, with the level remaining below the neutral 50-point mark, Agbiz says agribusinesses are still... 

Policy uncertainty continues to subdue agri-sector confidence
Photo by Creamer Media's Simone Liedtke
Agbiz chief economist Wandile Sihlobo

Land Bank posts healthy results for agriculture sector, despite difficult times

By: Schalk Burger     13th September 2019 State-owned development finance institution the Land and Agricultural Development Bank of South Africa (Land Bank) grew its transformational loans to R7.9-billion and maintained a strong balance sheet in the 2018/19 financial year, despite challenging conditions in the agricultural sector, Land... 

Land Bank posts healthy results during difficult times in agriculture sector 

By: Schalk Burger     2nd September 2019 State-owned development finance institution (DFI), the Land and Agricultural Development Bank of South Africa (Land Bank), grew its transformational loans to R7.9-billion in the 2018/19 financial year. Transformational loans as a percentage of the total loan book increased from 12% in 2017/18 to... 

Namibia’s central bank forecasts deeper economic contraction in 2019

By: Reuters     28th August 2019 The Bank of Namibia said on Tuesday it expected the domestic economy to fall into a deeper contraction of 1.7% during 2019, down from its initial estimate of 0.3% positive growth in April. The central bank said the economy was expected to recover to positive growth of 0.8% and 1.2% in 2020 and... 

Trade Deputy Minister hears emerging farmers' concerns

By: Marleny Arnoldi     27th August 2019 The red meat value chain had the potential to unlock employment and entrepreneurial opportunities, Trade and Industry Deputy Minister Nomalungelo Gina told farmers at the Uthukela Beef Value Chain workshop, in Estcourt, KwaZulu-Natal, earlier this week. The workshop was held to assist emerging... 

Trade Deputy Minister hears emerging farmers' concerns

Agricultural initiative builds bridges between stakeholders

By: Marleny Arnoldi     22nd August 2019 A transformative and replicable broad-based initiative within the agricultural sector has come on-stream through the conclusion of a transaction between citrus and grape farmer Schoonbee Landgoed and black-owned company Thebe Investment Corporation. The initiative, called Project Change, has... 

Agricultural initiative builds bridges between stakeholders

South African blueberry industry sets its sights on key export markets

By: Simone Liedtke     22nd August 2019 The South African Berry Producers Association (Sabpa) expects South Africa’s blueberry production to reach a record high of 17 000 t this year, up from the 11 300 t produced in 2018. It expects production to increase further to 50 000 t/y by 2023 and says this will help to grow employment in the... 

Zoo farm conserves wildlife, breeds endangered species

By: Simone Liedtke     16th August 2019 The Johannesburg Zoo has set up 694 ha of arable land amid a World Heritage Site in the Free State to breed and conserve rare species of animals and pilot extensive crop farming systems. Named the Rietkuil Wildlife Conservation Farm, which was acquired in 2006 and is headed by Johannesburg City... 

South African agriculture, with certain exceptions, faces slow growth in coming years 

By: Rebecca Campbell     14th August 2019 The Bureau for Food and Agricultural Policy (BFAP), a nonprofit organisation, has warned that it expects the gross value of South Africa's agricultural production this year to be similar, in real terms, to that of 2015. It stated this in its 'BFAP Baseline Agricultural Outlook 2019-2028' report,... 

South African agriculture, with certain exceptions, faces slow growth in coming years

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. 

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

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.
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