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  • Investigations have been launched into the appearance of a large amount of imported garlic on the South African market during August and September which, it is suspected, was imported illegally. The oversupply dragged down the garlic market to abnormally low levels, to the detriment of domestic producers.

  • The African Research Universities Alliance Centre of Excellence for Food Security was recently launched at the University of Pretoria’s (UP) Future Africa campus. The theme of the launch was ‘The future of food in Africa’.

  • ‘US soya farmers eye new markets’ – that’s the headline of an article in today’s Business Day and also in The Wall Street Journal. It notes that ‘With trade tension cutting deeply into exports, US soybean farmers, industry groups and US government officials are looking for a stronger foothold in the global markets beyond China, including Europe and Southeast Asia.’

  • South African aquaculture company West Coast Salmon (WCS) has unveiled plans for a salmon farm with an annual production of 4,800 metric tons at Betty's Bay on the country's Western Cape, roughly 100 kilometers from Cape Town.

  • During the 2017/18 growing season, a new and damaging disease of squash was observed in several commercial plantations in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa. Soft, water-soaked lesions, 3 to 6cm in diameter, were present on the rind of fruits . Many fruits were rotting inside . A total of 50 to 80% of fruits were affected per field.

  • South Africa has a slim window to benefit from the European market before litchis from Madagascar arrive. The first litchis from Malelane are flown to Europe where France, in particular, through its long association with Indian Ocean islands, loves the fruit.

  • The cotton industry in South Africa has been revived thanks to a R200 million government-funded programme that has unlocked private sector investments and buying power worth hundreds of millions.

  • In South Africa, potato is grown in both winter and summer in a wide range of climates. Climate change in potato production areas of South Africa is expected to lead to higher temperatures, increasing the incidence of heat stress and dry spells.

  • Elephants Alive has released a comprehensive report regarding the proposed 120ha citrus farm development on the border of the Greater Kruger National Park. 

  • On October 19, the South African Table Grape Industry (SATI) released the first crop estimate for the 2018/2019 season. Production volume for this season’s fresh grape crop is predicted to reach 63-70 million cartons with 1.8-13% year-on-year growth.

  • Over the next four years, the economic giant is predicted to overtake France and the United Kingdom to become the world's second-largest market for wine, behind the United States.

  • South Africa has in the past missed some opportunities in pushing its agricultural agenda during broader trade negotiations, says Dr Konanani Liphadzi, Fruit SA CEO (right), but she considers that the recent change in government has brought an increased appreciation of the value of the fruit sector for the South African economy.

  • The total poultry imports from Brazil are estimated at R3,2 billion for 2017. During the first 10 months of 2018 Brazilian imports already exceeded R2,9 billion.

    The expected imports for 2018 can be estimated at R3,6 billion. From the world, South Africa imported until October an estimated R5,14 billion broiler meat products. The total imports from the world for 2018 are estimated at R6,2 billion. Keep in mind that the average exchange rate for the Rand to the $ were R13.32 in 2017 and R13.16 in 2018. The import value of poultry products increased by 20% year on year. The profitability of local poultry production is challenged by the increased competitive imports from the world. South African exports of poultry declined year on year by 16,3%. The impact of imports on the poultry industry and the consequent substitution of local production impacts also on other industries such as the grain and oilseeds industry. Growth in the domestic market for locally produced feedstock such as maize and soybean are impacted negatively as well.

    Highlights

    South African poultry imports increased by 20% year on year. The value of poultry imports is estimated at R6,2 billion for 2018. The Poultry Association applied for an adjustment in the import tariff to protect the local industry from cheaper imports.

    Livestock

    The combination of the unusual increase in supply by primary producers of cattle to meet cash flow needs and the seasonal increase of supply by feedlots at abattoirs to meet demand during the festive season weigh on local beef prices.

    The tightening supply in Australia and a strong export demand will support mutton prices in 2019

    At current prices US pork producers will be producing pork at break-even levels during Q1 in 2019. Producers will incur losses with further declines in pork prices.

    ABSA AGRI TRENDS- Wessel Lemmer. 

  • Since the adoption of a resolution by ANC’s elective conference in December 2017, to change the constitutional provision requiring equitable compensation for land expropriated by the state, the dialogue on the specific constitutional clause as well as on land distribution and ownership in this country appears trapped between the extremes of hyperbole and double talk.

  • South African Citrus authorities say it is now very urgent for the United States to publish its new rule which is due to widen the access of South African citrus to the United States.

  • South Africa’s state-owned power utility may need to reinstate rolling power cuts after factories and businesses reopen following the summer holiday period, said Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. Chief Executive Officer Phakamani Hadebe.

  • Given concerns regarding the impact of El Niño and the general lack of rainfall in many key maize production regions, futures prices have spiralled over the past week. This raises concerns about staple maize inflation, as well as the financial position of many producers, especially in the western production regions that have experienced multiple droughts over the past five years.

  • It has gone mostly under the radar, but the use of artificial intelligence (AI) by African tech startups is on the rise, with the sector becoming bigger by the week and attracting more funding.

  • In 2017 South Africa heard for the first time that the ANC had taken a stand to consider amending Section 25 of the Constitution to allow for the expropriation of land without compensation. Since the landmark announcement at the ruling party’s 54th national policy conference, land reform has dominated public conversation in 2018.

  • Traders in African markets have had a year to forget, and there are signs the rout’s not over yet. The continent’s stocks and bonds have performed worse than those of all other emerging-market regions in 2018, reversing their outperformance of last year.

     

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