In Agribook Agriculture Weekly, Blog

Image by FelixMittermeier from Pixabay


We continue looking at stories of interest that you may have missed over the past seven days …



Two US Department of Agriculture Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS) reports are of interest: (i) United States Poultry Exports to South Africa End the Quota Year on a Record High, and (ii) the Sugar: World Markets and Trade. The top growers are Brazil, India, EU, Thailand (SA is in position 15)

May 22 was international biodiversity day. Find the World Economic Forum article “5 Reasons Why Biodiversity Matters – to Human Health, the Economy and Your Wellbeing“.  Two pages of interest on the AgribookDigital website are “Biodiversity and ecosystem services” and “Indigenous food crops” (find the links at the bottom of this page).

Writing in The Conversation, an Oxford professor traces the journey from South Africa’s muthi markets to the pharmaceutical circles in the First World. Read “The story of the pharma giant and the African yam“.  See our page “Indigenous medicinal plants” for a global and local context.


Covid-19 related:

  • Farmers fear British workers will leave crop-picking jobs when lockdown eases, The Guardian reported.



Our page on Organised Agriculture jumped to first place this week, with 564 views (midday, 25 May). Read about the unions which represent our farmers.

The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) cut the repurchase rate by another 50 basis points. Paul Makube, senior agricultural economist at FNB Agri-Business, provides comment.

Poor rain is forecast this winter, but conditions are favourable for late summer rains towards the end of 2020. See the Farmer’s Weekly article.

The Sunday Tribune reported on the record R310K paid for Biggs, the Nguni bull. The new record price has attracted much interest in agricultural circles the past two weeks.

Caracals play a key role in controlling the numbers of certain prey species (dassies, springhare and other rodents), but can also end up threatening livestock. Being familiar with the situation on a particular farm “may contribute substantially to effective predation management”. The Predation Management South Africa May newsletter included some notes and details of the Predation Management Centre (PMC) which can offer help. The opening article of the newsletter was a call for more research to update the usual “toolbox” of methods to control predators on farms.

View the Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies webinar “Democratising South Africa’s food system in and beyond the crisis” (2020, May 21).

Former Land Bank member and agricultural economist Andrew Makenete and Standing Committee on Appropriations (Scoa) chairperson Sfiso Buthelezi were interviewed on radio about why the Land Bank must be saved.

The Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries (DEFF) briefed the joint committee (15 May 2020) on its 2020/21 Strategic Plan. Find the Parliamentary Monitoring Group’s notes on the meeting.

Wandile Sihlobo (chief economist of the Agricultural Business Chamber of South Africa (Agbiz); member of President Ramaphosa’s Economic Advisory Council and the Advisory Panel on Land Reform and Agriculture) is interviewed on his new book Finding Common Ground: Land, Equity And Agriculture.


Covid-19 related:

  • Cotton SA says exports will help the cotton sector, despite any slowdown from Covid-19. Find the Farmer’s Weekly article “Cotton industry upbeat despite global plunge in consumption“.
  • The South African Informal Traders Alliance (SAITA) is calling on the government to lift the ban on the sale of cigarettes on Level 3 lockdown. Listen to the interview with the SAITA president.


Further reference on the Agribook website:

  1. Poultry and chicken farming
  2. Sugarcane
  3. Biodiversity and Ecosystems Services
  4. Indigenous food crops
  5. Indigenous medicinal plants
  6. Livestock Auctions
  7. Indigenous and locally developed breeds
  8. Wildlife on farms
  9. Cotton
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