Congress Edition 2016
12 June 2016
Agbiz Congress Update 
The Agbiz Congress 2016 was held on 1 - 2 June in Somerset West, Cape Town.  The congress themed 'Fit for the Future', attracted close to 300 delegates and guests consisting of CEOs, senior executives and board members of most of the major South African agribusinesses, including the agribusiness divisions of all the major banks, insurance companies, DFI's and agribusinesses/co-operatives, as well as major agro-processors.

We would like to thank host speakers, workshop leaders, sponsors, exhibitors and delegates who contributed to making the Agbiz Congress 2016 a huge success! 
Congress Day 1
Opening keynote: Reserve Bank will do its part to ensure competitive advantage

Mr Lesetja Kganyago, governor of SA Reserve Bank
Agribusinesses can rest assured that the South African Reserve Bank is committed to containing inflation.

"This will preserve our competitive advantage for exporting, secure our investment costs and create the foundation for expansion," said Lesetja Kganyago, Reserve Bank governor, at the congress.

Kganyago explained the Bank's rational with regard to inflation. He said that inflation targeting is globally regarded as best practice in monetary policy, because it is transparent while also recognising that there is no long-run, or even medium-run, trade-off between inflation and growth.  Click links to peruse the media release and to download presentation»
South Africans must dream big

Mr Mpumelelo Mkhabela, POWER 98.7 radio station manager
According to Statistics SA the percentage of black youth between the ages of 25 and 34 in professional, managerial and technical fields has dropped by 2% in the last two decades.
"Currently, 60% of South Africa's unemployed youth has never worked before and their parents are better educated and equipped than they are. This is a sign of regression," said Mpumelelo Mkhabela, POWER 98.7 radio station manager, at the congress.
Mkhabela placed socio-economic issues under the spotlight and said that there is a gap between South African's aspirations and reality.  Click on the following links to peruse the media release and to download the presentation.

* Mpumelelo MkhabelaSouth African National Editors' Forum (SANEF) Chairman and former Sowetan editor has joined Gauteng based commercial talk radio station POWER 98.7 as its station manager effective from 1 June 2016.
Weak economy: Some lose, some win

Mr Ettienne le Roux, RMB
Despite widespread pessimism about the economy, there are industries that are still doing relatively well.
"Exporters are managing and although consumer spending is under pressure, consumers still spend, differently though," Ettienne le Roux, chief economist of Rand Merchant Bank, said in an economic outlook at the Agbiz conference.  
"There are also encouraging signs that certain measures announced by the minister of finance in his budget speech in February may have contributed to both Moody's and S&P* not downgrading South Africa's credit rating to junk status recently."  Click following links to peruse media release and to download the presentation»
Clear, focussed trade policy a must

Mr Peter Draper, TUTWA Consulting
South Africa has to find its path among the complexities of the so called "new" debate over trade, industrial and investment policies. The question is if the country should protect itself with strict measures dictating foreign investment and trade or allow the multinational companies to invest and dictate the rules of the game.
This is the view of Peter Draper, managing director of TUTWA Consulting, who discussed the intricacies of local trade developments at the Agbiz congress.
Draper said that South Africa has to keep the boat afloat among very complex agreements against the background of internal conflicting policies and needs. Click the following links to peruse the media release and to download the presentation»
More jobs and crops per drop will determine water challenge

Prof Mike Muller, Wits University
It is a global trend to distribute water away from agriculture to industry and for urban use. South Africa will be no exception. With pressure on this limited resource agriculture will find itself at the back of the queue. The agricultural sector will have to come to grips with the process of water allocation. It will have to increasingly participate in the detail management of this process to get their fair share and make sure that the system works for them.
This was the message of Prof Mike Muller of the Graduate School of Governance at the University of the Witwatersrand at the 2016 Agbiz congress.
Muller said that overall water demand in South Africa is projected to increase by 55% by 2050 due to growing demand from manufacturing (+400%), thermal electricity generation (+140%) and domestic use (+130%). In the face of these competing demands there will be little scope for more water for irrigation in agriculture.  Click the links to peruse the media release and to download the presentation»
Message from main sponsor of the Agbiz Congress 2016
- Standard Bank

Nico Groenewald, Standard Bank
"No doubt, technological innovation is still part of the wave that will make agriculture and agribusiness fit for the future, but the concept of innovation and its relation to future success is arguably much wider than just technology or technological innovation," said Nico Groenewald, Head of Agriculture at Standard Bank.  "To be fit for the future there are certain critical areas of our businesses that will demand ongoing innovation, thereby ensuring a level of business fitness that will help weathering the external storms in turbulent times, and in fact allow the building of a basis for sustained growth."  Click the following links to read more and to download the presentation»
Agbiz plays vital strategic role

Schalk Pienaar, Agbiz
Agbiz has a vital role to play in the current economic meltdown, Agbiz chairperson Schalk Pienaar said at the congress.
"Although Agbiz is deeply conscious of the factors impairing economic growth and development, the effects of this slowdown are part of what we have to deal with on a daily basis. Our main aim is to look ahead and find the signs of the next upturn in the economic fortunes of South Africa, the region and also internationally."
Pienaar said that policy uncertainty regarding such cornerstone matters as ownership of land, expropriation and unfriendly employment policies, as well as very risky and dangerous political rhetoric, continues to adversely affect confidence locally. "There is also a lack of willingness to take bold and imaginative steps to convert all the negatives into positive and meaningful growth and investment decisions."  Click to read more»
Congress Day 2
Agri-parks: No intent of government to run agriculture

Mr Nasele Mehlomakulu, DRDLR
The government has no intent of running agriculture with its agri-parks concept. Rural South Africa, however, has to be transformed and the government believes that agri-parks will make a huge contribution in this regard.
Nasele Mehlomakulu, chief director: Infrastructure Development of the department of rural development and land reform, told the Agbiz congress that the department is consulting as widely as possible with stakeholders to ensure the success of the project.
"The interests of commercial farmers and the private sector will always be taken into consideration. Commercial farmers are already represented on all structures that concern agri-parks. Agri SA or Agbiz often represents them. They state your case."
Mehlomakulu said that the challenge is to make sure that the private sector is doing what it should be doing and the government is doing what it is supposed to be doing. "The roles at the parks itself are being investigated by a consultant appointed by the department. The management structure is as yet not well defined, but the aim of the investigation is to determine all roles and responsibilities," he said.   Click the following links to peruse the media release and to download the presentation»
Progress with land reform but there are concerns 

Dr John Purchase, Agbiz CEO
South Africa has made progress with land reform and there is now more certainty with regard to some worrying aspects. "The government is now starting to accommodate a level of flexibility in its plans," Agbiz CEO Dr John Purchase said at the congress.
"President Zuma's comments on opening restitution before 1913 are, however, not helpful at all. We are also concerned about the EFF factor that can result in more land grab incidents."
Purchase said that the agriculture sector acknowledges that land reform in South Africa is necessary, even though it is a complex and emotive subject. "The question is: How do we do it? The sector (businesses and producers) actively participates in all relevant forums to deliberate and help solve the land issue. We gave conditional support to most policies and legislation and we make suggestions and put alternative models on the table."  Click the following links to peruse the media release and to download the presentation»
Still hope for South Africa to play in premier league

Ms Chantell Ilbury, independent scenario strategist and facilitator
There is still a 45% chance that South Africa could play in the premier league in the next five years. This will be determined by the county's competitiveness and social cohesion. There is, however, also a 45% chance that South Africa could move to second league.
It seems that South Africa is sitting between these two scenarios at the moment, but there is also a 10% chance that South Africa could become a failed state.
These were the predictions of Chantell Ilbury, an independent scenario strategist and facilitator, at the Agbiz congress.
"The question is do we have clarity and a vision of where we are going? It seems that there is no clear road and that South Africa is only meandering down a path with many negative flags that could determine the country's future," she said. Click the following links to peruse the media release and to download the presentation»
Lights according to Eskom has ceased

Mr Brian Statham, SANEA
Eskom's monopoly over power supply has irrevocably ended. The advent of independent power producers (IPPs) in the renewable arena has ended this monopoly.
This is the view of Brian Statham, chairperson of the SA National Energy Association (SANEA), a speaker at the Agbiz congress. "IPPs are going to become bigger and they will claim a bigger portion of the South African market," he said. "Our energy world will change fundamentally as a result."
Statham, who discussed energy security, said that IPPs will in future challenge Eskom's performance. "Eskom's performance will then be measured against independent, objective measures. Eskom should be given the benefit of the doubt. It may even do well," Statham said.
The new energy era will require a new set of competencies and negotiation skills with new role-players, such as lawyers involved in energy contracts. "We will have to look at things differently."
According to Statham some energy choices will be controversial.  Click the following links to peruse the media release and to download the presentation»
Agbiz student promotion programme
Student case competition becomes premium event at Agbiz Congress

Winning team of the student case competition hosted by Agbiz
The student case competition at the Agbiz Congress provides students the opportunity to showcase their academic abilities, skills and expertise, while finding practical and commercially viable answers to real-world issues.  Since 2012, this competition has developed into one of the premium events at the congress to attend and to sponsor.   This year the four teams were made of 16 students from the University of Pretoria, University of Fort Hare, University of Stellenbosch, University of KwaZulu-Natal, North-West University and University of the Free State. The case focussed on South Africa's indigenous plants industry.  Full media release»

We have published some of the feedback received from students on the Agbiz website - click here»
Honorary Awards
Prof Mohammad Karaan

Prof Mohammad Karaan and Mr Schalk Pienaar
Agbiz has honoured Prof Mohammad Karaan of Stellenbosch University's Faculty of AgriSciences for his exceptional service to the South African agribusiness sector. He received the Agbiz Honorary Award at the 70th Anniversary Gala Dinner of the congress.

Prof Karaan served as Chairperson of the National Agricultural Marketing Council (NAMC) from 2005 to 2007, and was also President of the Agricultural Economics Association of South Africa from 2008 to 2009. Prof Karaan has also been involved in the agribusiness sector as director of numerous leading entities.  Read more»
Agbiz honours Hans van der Merwe's role in SA agriculture

Mr Hans van der Merwe and Mr Schalk Pienaar
The Agricultural Business Chamber (Agbiz) has honoured Mr Hans van der Merwe, former CEO of Agri SA, for his exceptional service to organised agriculture in South Africa. He received the Agbiz Honorary Award at Agbiz congress held in Somerset West last week.    

"Van der Merwe played a major role in South Africa's transition to democratic rule in the 1990's, and in the liberalisation of agricultural markets thereafter, which was decisive in maintaining stability of agriculture and the agribusiness environment," says Agbiz.  Read more»
Pre-congress workshop - Transforming leadership in agribusiness
The Agbiz Congress started off with a pre-congress workshop on 31 May, co-hosted by Signa and Agrifusion.  Experts addressed strategies for B-BBEE implementation, skills development, as well as enterprise and supplier development.  The workshop themed, "Transforming Leadership in Agribusiness", was structured to provide information to executive management and key employees who have to make informed decisions. Ms Joyene Isaacs, Head of Western Cape Department of Agriculture, was the opening speaker at the event.  Below are links to presentations:
To transform or not to transform - That's the question

Ms Joyene Isaacs,  HoD, Western Cape Department of Agriculture
Western Cape Department of Agriculture head Joyene Isaacs, said more young people should be encouraged to move into agriculture. 

For the agricultural sector to flourish and attract investors, government needs to create a safe conducive environment for farmers to work in.

She said the Western Cape Department of Agriculture is actively promoting the establishment of Partnerships as part of its Comprehensive Agricultural Support Programme (CASP) intervention.  Through partnership the Western Cape could produce more fruit and create more jobs than without it. Without the partnership only 19% of the economic activity would have been created. Investing money in the partnership created hundreds more jobs than investment in manufacturing, construction, mining or retail. With the partnership previously disadvantaged farmers could get access to markets and appropriate technical support.  Click to download the presentation»
Quo Vadis

Mr Melcus Nel, Signa
Enterprise and supplier development

Messrs Stephen Hobson and Frans van Wyk, Agrifustion
Equity solutions

Mr Murray Chabant, Signa
Skills development

Mr Melcus Nel, Signa
Agbiz elects office bearers
Agbiz elects office bearers

Agbiz last week elected its office bearers for 2016-2018 at a Members Meeting held in Somerset West, Cape Town.
Mr Schalk Pienaar was re-elected as chairperson, Mr Danie Marais, MD of NWK Limited, was re-elected as deputy chairperson and Dr Langa Simela of ABSA AgriBusiness was re-elected as second deputy chairperson of Agbiz.
The other members of the Agbiz Executive Committee are Mr Sean Walsh, MD of Kaap Agri and Mr Francois Strydom, MD of Senwes.
Dr John Purchase, chief executive officer of Agbiz, serves on the Executive Committee as ex officio member. 
Agbiz Congress Journal
Agbiz Congress Journal now online available

The linked Agbiz Congress Journal includes everything you need to know about the Agbiz Congress and even more.  Included are the congress programme, CVs of speakers and students, as well as articles that put agribusiness in perspective, such as trade relations, competitiveness in agriculture, foreign direct investment in agriculture, transformative leadership, etc.  Click on the image to download the journal.
Thank you to all the Agbiz Congress sponsors, listed below, for your generous support:
Main Sponsor


Gala Dinner
Gala Dinner

Welcome Function
Post-Congress Tour

Congress bags
Congress gifts
Goody bags

Supporting sponsors



Member logo_Santam Agri

Member logo_SenwesSuidwesSyngenta

Thank you to the following Agbiz Congress media partners:



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