In Agribook Agriculture Weekly, Blog
Photo by Timothy Eberly on Unsplash
Some notables from the past seven days …



The US Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS) put out its World Agricultural Production circular. It looks at cotton, soybeans, rapeseed (canola), rice, palm oil, wheat, corn (maize), as well as giving projections for various crops.

As far as South Africa is concerned, the FAS Fresh Deciduous Fruit Semi-annual (South Africa) is of interest. It provides an overview of this country’s deciduous fruit sector, particularly its table grapes, apples and pears.

This past week, Fresh Plaza‘s global report dealt with lemons.


Covid-19 related

Agbiz invited us to watch the 8-minute plus YouTube clip by renowned Brazilian agribusiness expert Marcos Fava Neves10 Years of transformation in two months“.

The Financial Mail reported on Covid-19’s disruption of Africa’s flower producers., no longer able to market their produce in the EU.

Find the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO)’s report Mitigating the impacts of COVID-19 on the livestock sector.



The Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Committee met for its second virtual meeting on the Strategic Plan and Annual Performance Plans of the entities of the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD). These entities were the Office of the Valuer-General (OVG); the Agricultural Research Council (ARC); Onderstepoort Biological Products (OBP); the National Agricultural Marketing Council (NAMC) and the Perishable Products Export Control Board (PPECB). The Minister and Deputy Minister were in attendance. Find the Parliamentary Monitoring Group report on the meeting at The annual performance plan meeting of the DALRRD itself also happened (separate meeting).

Fresh Plaza reports that South African citrus exporters facing problems “as peak season looms”. The main ports are “pushing through programmes to increase capacity”.

In the last Weekly we reported on the remarkable summer grains and wine grape crops. Another good news crop is table grapes. This week there is good news about the table grape harvest. Read “Best grape crop in three years signals full recovery after prolonged drought

A record price for an Nguni bull was paid during an auction on WhatsApp! The news article is in Afrikaans. Landbouweekblad also reported that bee farmers are having a difficult time having beehives robbed and/or vandalised.


Covid-19 related

Dr Sifiso Ntombela, chief economist at the NAMC, wrote an opinion piece in fin24 about how reviewing its trade policies, South Africa could – in a post-Covid-19 place – encourage employment and boost economic growth.

The DALRRD reported back on progress with its Covid-19 aid package to small-scale farmers, with 15 086 of the 55 155 applicants so far getting the green light for assistance. Most of these are livestock producers. See the Sunday Times and Eye Witness News articles.

Read the notes on a Produce Marketing Association discussion “COVID-19 Impact on Trade and Labour in the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Industry

A University of Cape Town team released its report “Lighting Up The Illicit Market: Smoker’s Responses To The Cigarette Sales Ban In South Africa“. As we warned at the beginning of the lockdown, the cigarette ban has been a “big failure in every way”, especially to our tobacco farmers.

While there is a plethora of cases being put forward against and for moving as quickly as posible to Level 2, we found Theo Venter’s presentation “Post-Covid-19, Agriculture & Politics” in the Agbiz newsletter a useful bird’s eye view on the pandemic.


Further reference:

See the following pages on the Agribook website:

  1. Deciduous fruit
  2. Citrus fruit
  3. Table grapes
  4. Livestock
  5. Tobacco
  6. Emerging farmer support
  7. Exporting
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