21 January 2016
Lindie Stroebel, Agbiz Manager: Agribusiness Intelligence, has resigned from Agbiz to take up the position of General Manager for the southern African operations of the USA-based Produce Marketing Association (PMA). 

PMA is a trade organisation representing companies from every segment of the global fresh produce and floral supply chain. They help members grow by providing connections that expand business opportunities and increase sales and consumption. 

Agbiz wishes Lindie all of the best with her new endeavours and thanks her sincerely for her contribution to the South African agribusiness sector. 

Lindie's position at Agbiz has been advertised. For more detail on the position, please click on Agribusiness Intelligence position.
Drought situation
By Dr John Purchase, Agbiz CEO 
Cosatu has called for an investigation into the pricing of maize as it contends that "the maize price is being manipulated by traders who are buying and selling amongst themselves". Cosatu has called on the Competition Commission to investigate the pricing model of maize and the price discovery mechanism on the JSE Agricultural Derivatives Market, and that the perpetrators be jailed for undermining South Africans' food security through price manipulation. 

It furthermore wants a comprehensive investigation done into the demand and supply of maize in South Africa, in light of the drought. It contends that government should intervene into the supply and pricing of maize, given its central role in food security and hunger alleviation. Please click on COSATU Statement to peruse.

Agbiz rejects these allegations and invites Mr Ehrenreich and COSATU to visit Agbiz so that we can inform them how the maize market works and that its price discovery mechanism is transparent and reflects the supply and demand fundamentals of the market. Government puts out its Grain & Oilseeds Supply and Demand Estimates, through the National Agricultural Marketing Council (NAMC), on a monthly basis, and these Supply and Demand Estimate Reports play a determining role in maize price discovery on the JSE. This market mechanism has tremendous integrity and is responsible for the relatively high food security that South Africans enjoy as it stimulates surplus maize production, generally keeping prices low at export parity. 

The South African Grain Information Service (SAGIS) further provides detailed reports that reflect all commercial transactions in the industry. This information is also critical so that all role players in the market have equal and instant access to market information. 

It is the catastrophic drought situation that has compromised our food security, and not the maize market mechanism. The drought has driven our maize prices to record high levels as we will battle to meet our demand, especially on the white maize side due to very limited availability on the global market. But the high prices also send out a strong price signal to stimulate production in the next season. Casting aspersions on the integrity of the market, without availing themselves of the facts, is irresponsible and highly questionable. 

The industry has engaged fully with government on the issue and Agbiz was part of the industry delegation that briefed DAFF Minister, Senzeni Zokwana, on the drought situation and the impacts thereof on Friday, 18th of January 2016. 

Please click on Oilseeds Supply & Demand Estimates for the latest report.  
By Tinashe Kapuya, Head: International Trade and Investment at Agbiz
The beginning of 2016 saw heightened concerns around the erratic rainfall distribution, with all previous maize projections being revised downwards to "severe" and "disaster" scenarios. Many fear that southern Africa may be on the brink of the worst drought in recorded history, surpassing the impact levels reached in 1992. Click here to read the full article in The Greenkeeper - The Agbiz discussion platform for agribusiness.  
AFGRI is offering additional assistance to the nation's beleaguered farmers, both commercial and emerging. Included are AFGRI's existing farmers as well as the small-scale farmers that form part of AFGRI's training and mentorship programme. 

"With the drought still in effect, livestock farmers are now battling to keep their animals alive," says AFGRI CEO, Chris Venter. "The situation has become increasingly dire, with livestock farmers in the drought-stricken areas now having no roughage for their animals to graze - in fact, the country will have virtually no roughage left by the end of the winter if the rains don't continue. In addition to earlier support to farmers, AFGRI is donating R5 million which will be allocated to selected animal feed products to assist farmers through this difficult time."  Media release»
Under the auspices of Free State Agriculture (FSA), Agbiz and a number of Agbiz members who are directly involved in the grain value chain in the summer grain cropping region, met with Agri SA and FSA on Thursday, 7 January 2016. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss potential and co-ordinated strategies to mitigate the effects of the dire and catastrophic drought situation in this region. Please click on press statement to peruse further detail. 
Stephen Reardon of Zar Podcast* spoke to Dr Purchase in early December 2015 on drought, food security and the future of land reform.  Some of the comments about future rain are based on the interview date.
 Listen here»

Zar Podcast is a series of interviews with prominent South African economists, political analysts, businessmen and politicians.
Due to the critical impact of the current drought situation in South Africa on the next season (2016), the Crop Estimates Committee was requested to release their 1st production forecast that was supposed to take place in February 2016, a month earlier, thus to January 2016.  "Therefore, please take note that the Crop Estimates Committee, in addition to the scheduled area planted estimate, is also going to release a preliminary production forecast on 27 January 2016, instead of on 25 February 2016," says Rodney Dredge, Chairman of the Crop Estimates Committee. 
A strong El Niño is expected to gradually weaken through the southern hemisphere autumn of 2016, and to transition to ENSO-neutral during late autumn or early winter. Please click on ENSO Advisory to peruse detail. 

Agribusiness Intelligence
The Draft Amended AgriBEE Sector Codes were published on 20 November 2015 in the Government Gazette. Comments were invited on the Codes during a 60 days public comment period, which ended on Wednesday, 20 January 2016. 

Agbiz consulted widely with experts and its members, and engaged with various other organisations also commenting hereon.

At a workshop hosted by Agbiz on 14 January 2016, Melcus Nel from Signa guided Agbiz members through the changes in the legislation, as well as a discussion of critical issues. The workshop was extremely valuable toward gaining a better understanding of the Draft Codes as well as for Agbiz to construct comments. A collective set of comments and recommendations were constructed and submitted accordingly by Mrs Lindie Stroebel, Agribusiness Intelligence Manager of Agbiz. 

If you missed the gazetting of the draft AgriBEE Amendment Codes, please click here to read. Agbiz's comments and recommendations can be viewed by clicking here.
The linked report published by Marsh USA, highlights the top geopolitical threats facing today's multinational companies. 
International Trade Intelligence
On the 11th January 2016, US President Barack Obama announced the intention of the US to suspend duty free quota free agricultural exports from South Africa under AGOA effective 15th March 2016. This proclamation was an extension of the 4th January 2016 deadline that had been announced 60 days earlier on the 5th November 2015.  Click to open Agbiz media statement»

News around the web
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Upcoming Events
Fruit Logistica 2016
2 - 6 February 2016.
Tour group departs and return from O.R Tambo Airport
Marianna du Plessis: africa@farmlinkafrica.co.za
Deadline for registrations: 14 December 2015
2016 GOSA Symposium
16 - 17 March 2016 | Club Mykonos | Langebaan
More information: Karen Greeff on 082 042 3890
Undercover Farming Expo
15 - 16 March 2016 | Saint George Hotel, Irene, Pretoria
Agbiz Congress 2016
1 - 2 June 2016 | Somerset West, Cape Town
IFAMA 26th Annual World Conference
19 - 23 June 2016 | Denmark
Farmbiz Agribusiness Africa Conference 
27 - 28 July 2016 | Gallagher Convention Centre, Midrand
Enquiries: Marianna du Plessis,  africa@farmlinkafrica.co.za or 082 337 6127
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