Agri SA to potentially change to Pty Ltd

Agri SA’s intention to change from a civic to a Pty (Ltd) organisation was so that it could continue to offer sustainable service delivery to the South African agriculture sector.

This was according to Johannes Möller, Agri SA president, who was speaking at the 2017 Agri North West congress. Möller said that the decision had been preceded by in-depth consultation and research.

“The objective is to amend the organisation’s constitution to make it possible for Agri SA to change to a non-profit company,” he said.

According to Möller, the agricultural landscape in South Africa had changed to such an extent that it would be foolish to maintain the current status quo.

“The organisation will eventually consist of a number of entities such as a general business chamber. This chamber will provide for Agri SA’s provincial bodies,” said Möller.

Provincial Agri SA members would own the general chamber as members, and not as shareholders. An operational chamber, amongst others, was also in the planning phase.

This chamber would be owned and driven by commodity organisations, such as Grain SA.

The proposed corporate chamber would provide for integration with the rest of the agricultural value chain.

“It does not mean that Agri SA is planning to start an agribusiness. But closer cooperation with the value chain is of the essence for long-term sustainability,” Möller explained.

Omri van Zyl, Agri SA CEO, added that the organisation also needed to create a litigation fund, with the proposed initial amount for the fund at R38 million.

“Our litigation focus now is on land reform and the threat to property rights. We also will need the fund to tackle issues such as fracking,” he said.

Source: farmersweekly

Africa feeding Africa

While North America’s farmers pin their career hopes on the need to feed a hungry Africa, that continent’s farmers are making plans of their own

A core belief in North American agriculture is that our farmers must produce ever more food if we are to have any hope of feeding the world, particularly areas like Africa where the population is growing so rapidly.

The numbers are indeed staggering.

According to the Population Reference Bureau, Africa’s population will hit 2.5 billion by 2050, and the United Nations estimates that Africa’s share of the global population will increase from 16 per cent in 2015 to 25 per cent in 2050 and 39 per cent in 2100.

These statistics certainly do underscore the need for additional food. But what about the other half of the equation. Yes, demand will rise. But will that demand have to be met by imports?

Some African farm leaders are convinced that agricultural development on the continent will see Africa, led by South Africa, feed itself in the decades to come, meaning it will actually reduce its reliance on the global community for its food security.

Realistically, it may set its sights even higher.

“Agriculture accounts for 65 per cent of the continent’s employment,” said Dr. Klaus Eckstein, CEO of Bayer South Africa, at a recent conference of agricultural journalists in South Africa. “Africa has the potential to be self-sustaining as well as to feed the world. We can produce crops that match the standards of leading countries around the world.”

His words were echoed by Dr. John Purchase, CEO of the Agricultural Business Chamber of South Africa, who stated that revitalizing the agriculture and agri-processing value chain is at the top of nine major focus areas for growth in the country.

It’s not easy farming in South Africa, he added, citing political problems, land reform policies, and water scarcity as significant challenges. The current drought across the Southern and Western Cape areas of the country, a major horticultural production area, is the worst in more than a century, for example.

“Africa is where big population growth will come in the next 35 years… it’s a massive opportunity for agriculture but also a critical risk if we don’t get it right,” Purchase said. “For example, how we manage our water is critical to the future, but we have diversity in South Africa where we can produce a whole range of crops from tropical through to livestock production.”

Progress is already being made with South African farmers and marketers starting to grow sales on their own continent instead of in Europe or elsewhere.

According to Purchase, Africa has become a growing destination for South African agricultural exports since the global economic downturn in 2008 that affected the country’s long-established export markets, particularly in Europe.

“By far since 2008, Africa is our destination; more than 50 per cent of our agricultural export goes into Africa,” Purchase said, attributing a large portion of this success to South African supermarket chains expanding into neighbouring countries like Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Mozambique, Lesotho, Swaziland, Mauritius and Zimbabwe.

The change is particularly evident in the fruit and vegetable sector. According to the South African Produce Marketing Association, Africa has surged to number two in the top five major export markets for African fruit, behind only the European Union, and ahead of Asia, the Middle East, United Kingdom and Russia.

In vegetables, Africa is also the second most popular destination, accounting for just over 34 per cent of all fresh vegetable exports from South Africa; 83 per cent of potatoes, 80 per cent of carrots, 78 per cent of garlic, 76 per cent of ginger, 54 per cent of cucumbers and 34 per cent of tomatoes stay on the continent.

“Africa is the only part in the world where land can still be brought into production; the countries with the biggest growth potential in Africa and potential for South African farmers are in western and eastern Africa,” said Lindie Stroebel, CEO of the Produce Marketing Association. “Local procurement has become a priority for some supermarkets to address complications of transportation and border crossing.”

This evolution is evidence of the forward-thinking attitude of many leading farmers in South Africa despite the risks posed by infrastructure challenges, climate change, government policies and a growing number of brutal attacks on predominantly white farmers in the country.

Brylene Chitsunge is one such example, having bought her 1,000-acre farm near Pretoria in 2010. The feisty black farm leader raises Kalahari red goats, a breed of African cattle called Nguni, pigs, ostrich, rabbits and chickens, as well as growing vegetable and fruit crops.

Innovation and collaboration are the name of the game on her farm, where she’s willing to try just about anything to see if it will succeed, with the rule being “everything has to produce.”

Chitsunge’s small tomato crop now fills 10 greenhouses and is sold to over 200 restaurants as well as in leading South African retail chains like Pick n Pay and SPAR. She invented an overhead spray system for her greenhouses to help her produce a consistent, quality crop — each 1,000-plant greenhouse will produce about 10 tons of tomatoes.

“Quality, sustainability and appearance are very important,” Chitsunge said, adding that technology can help farmers add value. “I have cameras to stream video of my veggie fields or my chickens laying eggs for customers and I can remote-view my farm from anywhere.”

She’s also an outspoken advocate for advancing women and small-holder farmers, and for the need for education to build Africa’s agricultural future.

“It’s a value train, not a value chain,” Chitsunge says. “Education is so important, and if we get that right, it’s time for Africa,” she said.

The Schoeman family has been growing citrus in South Africa for almost a century, and the family business ships oranges, lemons, and mandarins from its almost 3,500 acres northeast of Pretoria to 32 countries around the world, including Canada.

They’re in the midst of building a new pack house to accommodate new plantings of mandarins and lemons, and are transitioning towards bio-friendly production, always with an eye to the future.

“If my neighbour’s farm goes up for sale, I would buy it; we have such a strong belief in South Africa,” said family patriarch Kallie Schoeman, a former South African national farmer of the year whose self-proclaimed motto is: “Get bigger, get better or get out.”

ZZ2 is one of South Africa’s largest produce companies, growing tomatoes, avocados, mangoes, and more, as well as raising stud cattle and weaners. The family-owned business employs almost 10,000 people in primary agriculture throughout South Africa, and uses a consistently updated framework to lead company development for the next 12 months.

That includes constantly adding new crops, new land, new technologies, and new markets as well as continually seeking out new opportunities.

For example, ZZ2 recently added almost 30 acres of cherries which strategically ripen about the time when British Columbia’s crop ends — making the company the only one in the world with fresh cherries for a six-week period, said ZZ2’s CEO Tommie van Zyl.

“We never thought we’d have a product that was so wanted it is being flown out — they’re flying to Hong Kong right now,” van Zyl said.

It’s a pattern that is repeated more and more, with horticulture creating models for other farmers to follow.

“We are building ZZ2 for the future, and the way we see things developing, it will represent in the future what South Africa looks like,” said van Zyl. “The future is more important than the past… we are inspired by what we think we can become.”

 Source: country-guide



Sustainability can be defined as taking care of present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

A recent report by sustainability consulting firm, Pure Strategies, shows that global corporate spend on sustainability is on the rise.  The incentive? Billions worth of added value in the form of increased sales, reduced costs, and additional earnings from in risk reduction, productivity gains, and enhanced growth opportunities.

The report demonstrates a clear link between sustainability programme investment and business benefits. As noted by Tim Greiner, Pure Strategies Managing Director, “The business case for sustainability has never been stronger. Investment is higher than ever, especially from the top performers.  But resources must shift to promoting more productive and regenerative systems, clean energy, safer materials, and fair opportunities.  These shifts are where change is most needed and where companies can find the greatest business value.”

To discover where and how your organisation needs to change, book your place at Sustainability Week 2017. Africa’s premier green economy forum, Sustainability Week 2017 is the only event of its kind that confronts the formidable topic of embedding sustainability from an African perspective. Multiple perspectives on a plethora of vital, cross-cutting industry topics provide attendees with the big picture – and the insight to allow them to begin making the decisions that will determine the future success of their enterprises.

Clear your windscreen

Confused about what sustainability means to your organization? Chances are you’re not alone.Chris Wild, executive director of Food and Trees For Africa and a speaker at the event, comments: “The truth is that people often throw the word sustainability around without actually knowing what it means in the South African context, or, more importantly how to get there. Normally when people talk about a sustainable project, it means that the project has had the ability to continue post their exit. Some might even call it sustainable while they are still involved in the project. People generally view sustainability through the lens of their own business or experience. I’ve had mining companies tell me that a project, where people were first-time farmers, should be financially sustainable within three months – a clearly unrealistic expectation, demonstrating a clear need for additional insight into the sustainability of agriculture on their part.”

Sustainability Week 2017 cuts away the confusion, clearing your windscreen so that you know exactly where your organisation stands. An array of industry-specific seminars explores the challenges and opportunities pertaining to the key sustainability topics of energy, transport, water, agriculture, tourism, mining, manufacturing efficiency, infrastructure, and waste management. Comments Gordon Brown, Director of Sustainability Week 2017: “Quite simply, Sustainability Week provides a toolkit for organisations to navigate the risks and opportunities in an uncertain world.  The competitive advantage that sustainability affords will enable private companies and public sector entities to become more efficient, more resilient and to create more value. By the end of the week, delegates will be in a much better position to develop clear targets, roadmaps, and actionable innovations that make practical business sense, whatever line of business they are in, and in many cases will have met the people that will help them to implement the change they now visualise.”

Get the job done

Of course, sustainability is more than good business policy: it underpins the development of society at large. Effective sustainable development requires not only a shift in mindset but also the acquisition of skills. “Development, in itself, requires a specific skill set,” says Wild. “Some people have the mindset of throwing money at the problem. Some approach it, perhaps unintentionally, from a patriarchal viewpoint. If development is going to be truly sustainable then these types of mindsets have to change. Time and again, we are shown that these are not the ways to develop people or projects, yet companies continue to do it. Successful projects should be measured on multiple levels. A project should be its own growing ‘organism’ which not only improves the lives of the beneficiaries but also the communities and government.”

To this end, Sustainability Week 2017 is augmenting its renowned sector focused seminars with outcomes orientated workshops designed to provide the hard skills to ensure successful project implementation. The Project Bankability workshop tackles hard-core finance issues; the Urban Development and Planning workshop provides a blue-print for effective, sustainable city administration; while the Start-ups and Business Incubation workshop opens the door to sustainable opportunities for entrepreneurs.

The seminars highlight a targeted set of the contemporary problems, solutions and opportunities intrinsic to the sector in focus” adds Brown, while the workshops address the core skills required to get the job done, and which are common to people from different sectors and departments.”

The Executive Mayor of City of Tshwane, Councillor Solly Tshepiso Msimanga fully embraces Sustainability Week as an opportunity for City stakeholders to reflect on how to yield the City’s three strategic pillars – namely revitalization of the economy, stabilization of the administration, and delivering of services especially to the poor – from a sustainability perspective. “If things are done in a sustainable way, the positive impacts will be felt beyond short-term planning cycles. We will be able to look back and feel proud.”

Hosted by Alive2Green, in partnership with the City of Tshwane, Sustainability Week 2017 will be held at the CSIR International Conference Centre from 13-15 June 2017.


Gordon Brown

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Twitter: @SustainWeekSA

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How a new way of thinking about soil sparked a national movement in agriculture

As word gets around that soil is alive, farmers have adopted a whole new attitude toward their land.

For three weeks every month, Ray Archuleta captivates audiences with a few handfuls of soil. He begins with two clumps, dropping them into water. The soil from a farm where the soil isn’t tilled holds together, while the tilled soil immediately disperses, indicating poor soil structure.

Next, volunteers from the audience — mostly farmers and ranchers — pour water over a soil that grew a variety of crops, and it runs right through. A sample of tilled soil that grew only corn is like a brick, and the water sits on top.

Water is the most precious resource for growing crops, and having a soil that is unable to absorb water is crippling for farmers.

The implications of Archuleta’s demonstrations are obvious to food producers, who see the fate of their acres in those clumps of soil.

The message is powerful, and producers drive home knowing that soil is alive, that it can be sick or healthy, and that healthy soil can do some pretty amazing things — like make a farm more resilient to drought, sequester enormous amounts of carbon, reduce erosion and support an ecosystem that’s teeming with life.

Archuleta, a conservation agronomist with the US Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, popularised these soil health demonstrations that by his estimates have reached more than 100,000 farmers and ranchers in the US alone.

He’s a pioneer of a movement that has recently stolen the spotlight from conventional agriculture.

Known as the soil health movement, it is a management philosophy centered around four simple principles: reduce or eliminate tillage, keep plant residues on the soil surface, keep living roots in the ground, and maximise diversity of plants and animals.

Some immensely successful farmers have ascended to celebrity status in the agricultural community preaching these principles. They are growing more food while drastically reducing their use of inputs like herbicides and fertilisers, which is the ultimate strategy for becoming more profitable.

Health denotes life and function. Quality is like the quality of a couch or something. Farmers intuitively grasp soil health.

Ray Archuleta, conservationist and agronomist, US Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service

Benefits on top of profitability include enhancing the health of ecosystems we depend on. The possibility of a win-win for farmers and the environment is a driving force for the movement.

“This whole movement emerged out of desperation,” says Archuleta. Over 10 years ago, he thought of a farmer friend of his and wondered, “Why can’t he make a good living on 600 acres of prime irrigated ground, and why can’t he bring his son into the operation? It starts dawning on me that something is wrong with modern agriculture.”

In many ways, that “something” is that farming has become too expensive. Over the past several decades, farmers have increasingly paid more for inputs like equipment, seeds and chemicals, while commodity prices have remained stagnant or even fallen.

Sociologists call this phenomenon the “double squeeze,” as the rising cost of doing business, combined with meager returns, has put pressure on profits.

Combined with soils that are deteriorating from centuries of tillage and monoculture, these trends exacerbate the vulnerability of a profession that is already fraught with uncertainty.

For farmers, the blend of poor soil and the double squeeze makes it harder to survive an extended drought or bounce back after a few failed crops. On a larger scale, it threatens rural economies, natural resources and food security alike.

But in 2011, Archuleta saw an opportunity to reverse these trends. Jason Weller, then the NRCS chief of staff, had assembled Archuleta and a group of other NRCS employees from around the country in Greensboro, North Carolina to create a plan for the federal agency to engage in the broader sustainable food movement.

The soil health movement had been bubbling around the country for two decades. The Greensboro team, and ultimately the NRCS leadership, decided the time was right to scale it up into a coordinated, national effort to advance soil health.

Birth of a movement

We don’t know who first uttered the term “soil health” in the US, but Jay Fuhrer started saying it in the 1990s. As a district conservationist with NRCS in Bismarck, Fuhrer was dismayed by the declining status of the soil in his region. He used to spend his summers building sod waterways on farms in North Dakota.

“We had all this erosion, and we were trying to establish a safe outlet for water coming off a field,” says Fuhrer. “But the question begs, why is the water coming off the field?”

The answer is what Archeluta demonstrates in his presentations today: Degraded soil has a hard time absorbing water. That means much of the water a farmer needs to grow crops runs off and eventually pollutes streams and rivers, taking precious topsoil with it.

“So we got together one day and we kinda looked at each other,” Fuhrer says, recalling a meeting at the field office in the early 1990s. “We asked, ‘how much further can we bring this system down?’ It got pretty quiet in that room. Honestly at that time, we didn’t really know what changes we were going to make, we just knew that what we were doing wasn’t working.”

So Fuhrer and the other NRCS conservationists in Bismarck dubbed themselves the “Soil Health Team.” Fuhrer doesn’t recall why the term “soil health” popped into his head, or where he heard it for the first time, but the team began to educate itself about ways to restore and maintain soil function.

They read academic papers and learned from successful producers in the region, and then they brought what they learned to other farmers and ranchers in North Dakota through workshops and farm tours.

Ray Archuleta knew something special was happening in North Dakota. He heard about Gabe Brown, a farmer and rancher, turning his operation around after a few years of failed crops by eliminating tillage, growing diverse mixes of crops and changing how he grazed his cattle to more closely mimic the way bison once grazed the prairie.

And he almost completely eliminated his chemical inputs, helping him to become more profitable.

Archuleta watched Fuhrer and Brown start to redefine agriculture in North Dakota. And when they popped into his mind years later in Greensboro, North Carolina, what had been an undercurrent suddenly took a turn toward the mainstream.

Critical moment

Today, government agencies, food and agribusinesses, universities, and environmental groups are all pivoting to support and capitalize on the possibility of a paradigm shift in agriculture, and they are investing millions of dollars in the process.

With thousands of farmers already on board, powerful partnerships have taken on the challenge of filling knowledge gaps in the science and economics of soil health that prevent other producers from taking the plunge. USDA announced a US$72.3 million soil health investment to help farmers adapt to and mitigate climate change.

A pledge of US$4 million from the Midwest Row Crop Collaborative, founded by Cargill, the Environmental Defense Fund, General Mills, Kellogg Company, Monsanto, PepsiCo, The Nature Conservancy, Walmart and the World Wildlife Fund, will augment an on-farm study and demonstration effort of soil health practices led by the farmer-led Soil Health Partnership.

And the Walton Family Foundation provided a US$626,000 grant to the Soil Health Institute to quantify the economic implications of soil health management systems. Money is coming from all sides to support this movement.

One of the most unexpected outcomes of the soil health movement is that groups that were once fighting each other are now working together to achieve the same goal.

In the fall of 2013, for example, representatives from Monsanto and the Rodale Institute (“the organic pioneers”), came together with the Walton Family Foundation, the Nature Conservancy, Cornell University, farmers, federal agencies and numerous other stakeholders to draft a strategic plan for advancing soil health as the cornerstone of land use management decisions.

This meeting, led by the Farm Foundation and the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, has helped spawn numerous initiatives, like the Soil Health Institute, with the goal of leveraging these powerful relationships to research and spread soil health.

What is the secret of soil health that enables such diverse groups to unite under the same banner?

There has been little analysis of soil health as a movement, but one possible reason for its success is that it nestled right in the middle of a Venn diagram of two ideologies that are so often at odds.

To productivists driven by the “feed the world” mentality of agribusiness and yield-maximising producers, soil health means bigger and healthier plants and animals. But it also jibes with environmentalists’ goals of improving water quality, sequestering more carbon, using less pesticide and herbicide, and providing greater habitat for biodiversity. At least for the moment, it truly seems to be a win-win.

Beyond that, however, the answer — one that can be instructive to other environmental issues — seems to lie in crafting and delivering a message that can be championed by all sides.

Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, the push by NRCS and the research community was to advance “soil quality.” This term worked fine for scientists, because it is easy to define and measure, but farmers didn’t connect with soil quality.

“Health denotes life and function. Quality is like the quality of a couch or something,” says Archuleta. “Farmers intuitively grasp soil health.” That minor turn of phrase made all the difference.

Similarly, soil health is aligned with many of the concepts of agroecology, but agroecology is not a staple of the American farmer’s lexicon. The soil health terminology made it possible for agroecological farming practices to emerge in mainstream American agriculture.

The success of soil health can also be attributed to the way the message is delivered. Demonstrations and conferences are the core infrastructure of the movement.

High-profile farmers and ranchers speak and write to thousands of producers around the country every year, sharing stories of how soil health has revolutionised their operations. Inspired by these talks, demonstrations and articles in farming magazines, producers experiment with soil health practices on their own farms.

Pockets of formal or informal regional producer networks have popped up all around the country, and they exchange what they’ve learned through experimentation. The movement has taken on a life of its own.

With momentum now spilling into countries around the world, global attention to soil is at an all-time high. The United Nations designated 2015 the International Year of Soils.

The race is on to understand soil in all of its complexity and to engage in agriculture that will prepare soil for the tough times ahead. Still in its infancy, the soil health movement will take continued effort and resources from all sides to maintain momentum.

But everyone is at the table together, and the table is set for a revolution.

Source: eco-business

South Africa confirms presence of invasive pest that infests maize

South Africa’s department of agriculture said on Friday that scientific tests have confirmed the presence of the invasive fall armyworm in the maize belt, the first time the crop-damaging pest has been detected there.

Countries with confirmed outbreaks can face import bans on agricultural products because the armyworm is classified as a quarantine pest. The pest can also cause extensive damage to crops and has a preference for maize, the regional staple.

The fall armyworm is an invasive Central American species that is harder to detect and eradicate than its African counterpart.

The South African samples were collected in the caterpillar stage and had to emerge as moths before positive identification could be done.

“This pest is a good flyer and cannot be contained in a specific area. Damage reported in South Africa so far is mainly on yellow maize varieties and especially on sweetcorn as well as maize planted for seed production,” the department of agriculture said in a statement.

The outbreak of armyworms has spread to Namibia and Mozambique and is causing “considerable crop damage” in southern Africa, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation said earlier on Friday.

Suspected outbreaks have also erupted in Zambia, Zimbabweand Malawi. They follow a crippling El Nino-triggered drought which scorched much of the region last year, hitting crop production and leaving millions in need of food aid.

The FAO said an emergency meeting would be held in Hararefrom Feb. 14 to 16 to shape coordinated emergency responses to the armyworm threat and other potential hazards such as the spread of avian flu which has been detected in other African regions.

In Malawi, where 6.5 million people, more than a third of the population, are dependent on food aid until this year’s harvest in March, the infestation has spread to all 28 districts in the country.

The armyworm moths lay eggs in maize plants and the caterpillars have also been known to march en masse across the landscape – hence the name. They have been known to destroy 90 percent of the crop in fields they infest.

South Africa’s agriculture ministry is registering pesticides for use against the fall armyworm.

Source: engineeringnews

East Africa: Irrigation Farming ‘Only Way to Food Security’

As Tanzania grapples with delayed rains that are certain to adversely affect agriculture, new analyses tout increased investment in irrigation as a solution to food insecurity.

Tanzania generates its food mostly through rain-fed agriculture which is currently being threatened by drought facing East African countries.

Agriculture accounts for about 25 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP) and the sector employs nearly 70 per cent of the working population.

Most parts of the country received rains below average between October and December last year and there are signs there will be insufficient harvests this agricultural season.

As experts advise the government to evaluate the drought in order to have a clear picture of what the food situation will be in the next few months and take the necessary precautionary measures, irrigation farming is being suggested as the long-term intervention needed to save agriculture. Tanzania is one of the countries which have a huge potential for irrigation farming–a potential that hasn’t been well exploited.

The National Irrigation Master Plan (NIMP) 2002 prepared by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food, Security and Co-operatives in collaboration with the government of Japan through its International Cooperation Agency (Jica) indicated that the total irrigation development potential in Tanzania Mainland stands at 29.4 million hectares.

Out of those, 2.3 million hectares are classified as high potential, 4.8 million hectares medium potential and 22.3 million hectares as low potential.

However, presently only 460,000 hectares are under irrigation. However, the government says it targets to expand irrigation farming to cover at least one million hectares come 2020.

The director general of the National Irrigation Commission, Mr Seth Luswema, says there is political will to develop irrigation in the country but more investment focus is needed from both the public and the private sector.

“We are now reviewing the irrigation masterplan as part of our effort to reach the targets,” he said over the phone, adding:

“Funding is still a challenge and as you know, it depends on the revenue collection. Some projects are integrated to have water resources and generate power. This kind of investment is not a joke. It needs collective efforts from public and private sectors,” he added.

He said Tanzania needs between Sh2 trillion and Sh5 trillion to complete irrigation projects that will increase the coverage to one million hectares as planned.

According to him, Tanzania has 2,800 irrigation schemes countrywide.

The minister for Water and Irrigation, Mr Gerson Lwenge, was quoted by the media last year as saying that more than Sh39 billion was allocated to the Irrigation Commission for the current budget year.

Tanzania enacted the National Irrigation Act 2013 in a bid to protect farmers from the growing stresses of extreme weather and climate change, by promoting better use of irrigation.

The National Irrigation Act strengthens the National Irrigation Policy of 2010.

Among other things, the law establishes the Irrigation Commission, a national body with the mandate to coordinate, promote and regulate irrigation activities across the country.

Researchers and experts are rooting for more investment in the irrigation farming as solution for the farmers to manage drought caused by climate change and reduce hunger.

“The development of irrigated agriculture has boosted agricultural yields and increased the number of cropping seasons to two or more in many parts of the world, thereby conserving important forest resources, contributing to price stability under climate variability, and helping to feed the world’s growing population,” says the deputy director of the Environment and Production Technology Division of the Washington-based International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) Claudia Ringler in a summary of new analyses.

For instance, rice production in irrigation schemes with developed infrastructure is estimated to be over 5.0 tonnes per hectare while under rain-fed agriculture the yield is less than 2 tonnes per hectare.

Last October, the 2016 Global Hunger Index (GHI) of the IFPRI ranked Tanzania 96 out of 118 countries, with a “serious” level of hunger. The country has made significant progress in reducing hunger, according to the report though, down from a high of 42.4 score in the “alarming” category in 2000 to 28.4 in 2016.

The GHI is a tool designed for the IFPRI to comprehensively measure and track hunger globally, regionally, and by country.

Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda were in the same group of “serious” level of hunger but with different scores.

The analyses indicate that a combination of accelerated irrigation development with increased investments in water use efficiency at the basin scale would reduce prices of rice, wheat, and maize by 7.4 per cent, 3.6 per cent, and 1.5 per cent, respectively by 2030.

“Although some of these investments might seem expensive, they would provide huge benefits to communities in the developing world and have the potential to help millions leave poverty and hunger behind,” adds Ms Ringler.

Source: allafrica

South African Department of Trade and Industry to introduce dedicated agro-processing incentive

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in South Africa is working on introducing a dedicated agro-processing incentive aimed at attracting investment, DTI Minister Rob Davies says.

“This sector is critical because of its labour intensity across the value chain and its high economic multipliers, especially with respect to exports. The incentive will contain strong conditionalities, including with respect to labour practices and empowerment,” says Minister Davies.

The Minister addressed the Manufacturing Indaba in the Western Cape, South Africa. The indaba brings together the country’s industrial movers and shakers with the intent of focusing on and boosting the growth potential of key industry sectors including automotive, construction, forestry and paper and packaging, among others.

Davies says the manufacturing sector and diversification of the economy is a key driver to attaining South Africa’s economic growth objectives.

“We all know that the performance of our economy has been flat, but we were saved by the second-quarter gross domestic product manufacturing statistics. That was mainly through the implementation of a transparent localisation policy that we have developed and this result also demonstrates that manufacturing and diversification of our economy is highly critical if we are to achieve our economic strategic objectives,” says the Minister.

Minister Davies says the largest parts of international trade were mainly focused on intermediate products.

“By the early 2000s, domestic boatbuilding capabilities had hollowed out, with the exception of the luxury yachting sector. Government introduced a stronger industrial financing instrument and boats were designated for local procurement. The sector is now witnessing the crowding-in of private sector funding and capabilities to meet demand both locally and internationally.”

The success of Nautic Africa (a shipbuilder and maritime services provider) now part of the Paramount group and Damen are testament to what can be achieved, Minister Davies said, adding that effort has also gone into the clothing and textile clusters in the last decade in the Cape.

“National government has deployed significant incentives to support, among others, companies in this sector in the province. We have injected R2bn incentives over the last five years to support the industry and successfully raise productivity and competitiveness,” says the Minister.

The MEC responsible for Economic Development and Tourism in the Western Cape, Alan Winde, said the conference focused specifically on agro-processing and oil and gas as they had demonstrated themselves to be key drivers that promote manufacturing.

“We have given ourselves a target of enabling 60,000 jobs in oil and gas at Saldanha Bay Industrial Development Zone. We are also doing work on skills, energy and for the removing of administrative red tape that hampers the flow of business,” said MEC Winde.

He said the Western Cape had set itself a target of producing 32,500 apprentices in the next three-years to work in the energy space and pleaded with delegates to make use of the unit established in his office to remove red tape.

Source: agricouncil

Only five exhibition stands remain for African Agri Investment Indaba

The African Agri Council presents the exclusive African Agri Investment Indaba, set to bring together hundreds of senior decision-makers from across the entire agri value chain including government officials, commercial farmers and agri stakeholders who are ready to connect with strategic and technical solution providers and looking for innovative investment and finance partners.

There are a number of opportunities for you to put your brand in front of a highly-qualified audience comprising of African and international agri business professionals.

Exhibit/Sponsor: We only have 5 exhibition booths remaining – exhibiting is the absolute minimum involvement you need to secure a dialogue with our highly-qualified audience. With all the market leading solutions, we are offering over 20 tailored sponsorship packages which will allow you to position yourself as a market leader within the industry. (View the current floorplan).

Advertise in the show guide: Position your company in the on-site show guide which will be distributed to over 4,000 industry experts. Contact us today.

Time is running out to secure your space at the most dynamic gathering of Agri business professionals in Africa.

Conference keynote sessions will be presented by:  

  • Senzeni Zokwana, Minister, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of the Republic of South Africa. South Africa
  • MEC Alan Winde, Minister of Economic Opportunities, Western Cape Government. South Africa
  • Nhlanhla Nene, Resident Advisor, Thebe Investment Corporation and Non-Executive Board Member, Allan Gray. South Africa
  • Seydou Bouda, Executive Director for Africa, World Bank. Burkina Faso
  • Vusi Khanyile, Executive Chairman, Thebe Investment Corporation. South Africa

For more information please view our brochure. We look forward to welcoming you to the Indaba!

Source: agricouncil

Become a member of the African Agri Council and benefit at our Indaba

In partnership with WESGRO and the Western Cape Department of Agriculture, the African Agri Council invites you to attend the 2016 African Agri Investment Indaba. All African Agri Council members will receive a discount of R 1,000 ($100) on the registration fee by simply quoting the code: AAC.

In addition to the Investment discovery sessions, the Indaba will include an interactive exhibition, a dynamic programme and excellent networking opportunities.

Numerous expert speakers will be presenting including:

  • Senzeni Zokwana – Minister, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, South Africa
  • MEC Alan Winde – Minister of Economic Opportunities, Western Cape Government, South Africa
  • MEC Lebogang Maile – MEC, Gauteng Department of Economic, Environment, Agriculture and Rural Development, South Africa
  • Yemi Akinbamijo – Executive Director, Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa – FARA, Ghana
  • Nigel Chanakira – Chairman, Zimbabwe Investment Authority, Zimbabwe
  • John Mutunga – Chief Executive Officer, Kenya National Farmers Federation (KENAFF), Kenya
  • Nhlanhla Nene – Resident Advisor, Thebe Investment Corporation and Non-Executive Board Member, Allan Gray, South Africa
  • John Purchase – Chief Executive Officer, Agricultural Business Chamber (AgBiz), South Africa

The programme will cover key topics across the entire agri value chain such as agri-processing, manufacturing, food processing, farming, investment opportunities and many more. For more information, please view our brochure.

With all the market leading solutions vying for attention, all African Agri Council members will receive a 25% discount on exhibition and sponsorship packages, allowing you to position yourself as market leaders. The AAC has allocated a pavilion at a prime position for its members – only 10 stands available! View the floorplan here.

We look forward to welcoming you to the African Agri Investment Indaba next month.

For enquiries, contact Spell Sigxaxhe: +27 21 700 5511 or

Source: agricouncil

$30bn boost for African agriculture – Let’s turn pledges into businesses at the Agri Investment Indaba!

Press Release

Has Africa’s growth run out of steam? This question has been on the minds of many investors, business leaders and policy makers as they observe increasing interest in key industries such as agriculture, energy and technology, with however limited access to financial resources. Companies (African and international) are looking for business-building opportunities and governments are seeking to accelerate growth by diversifying their economies.

The time has come for businesses and governments across the African continent to translate opportunities into tangible economic benefits. Although Africa’s economies have diversified to an extent, more is needed to overcome economic vulnerabilities. With the need for large companies to power the continent’s growth, the agriculture industry is certainly committed to play its part.

It was a blockbuster moment for African agriculture at the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) as African leaders, businesses, and major development partners pledged more than US$30 billion dollars in investments to increase production, income and employment for smallholder farmers and local African agriculture businesses over the next ten years. The collective pledges at the 2016 AGRF are believed to represent the largest package of financial commitments to the African agricultural sector to date.

There’s a call for investors and financiers to join the “Seize the Moment” campaign and keep the momentum by turning these pledges into actual business. With a key focus on production of scale, technological advancement and access to market tabled at agricultural forums and government cabinets, the African Agri Council (AAC) has developed the African Agri Investment Indaba (AAII), the gateway to bankable agri projects in Africa, as a move towards seizing the moment.

While African agriculture has seen significant progress, there’s a greater need to emphasize on the impact of lack of financial resources in the agriculture industry to ensure a good return for our progress. Much more is needed for African countries to feed themselves and the world.

Do you want to gain access to investment and key partners that will take your company and agri projects to the next level? The African Agri Investment Indaba (AAII) 2016, taking place from the 28 – 30 November 2016 at the CTICC in Cape Town, is the meeting place for senior government officials, executives and entrepreneurs across the agri value chain. With over $1bn worth of projects already in our database and a growing investor participation competing for the best projects to grow their agri portfolio, AAII 2016 is the ideal deal-making forum.

For more information, please visit our website ( and
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Issued by the
African Agri Council, Julia Barton-Hill, Key Stakeholder Relations and Marketing Director – African Agri Council on 083 456 5308 or

The African Agri Council is a network of global executives, decision makers and key stakeholders in Africa’s agricultural industry. It connects executives with their peers, policy makers, investors & financiers and leading global service providers across Africa and around the world.

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