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Agriculture News

Wine grape supply balances with demand in 2024 harvest season

By: Marleny Arnoldi     20th May 2024 The 2024 wine grape harvest has yielded 1.09-million tonnes from 87 848 ha, which is 7% lower than the prior harvest season, industry body Vinpro reports. Vinpro consultation services manager Dr Etienne Terblanche says the 2024 harvest season was a journey marked by careful planning and the... 

Astral poultry division makes notable financial recovery in H1

By: Marleny Arnoldi     20th May 2024 JSE-listed integrated poultry producer Astral Foods has reported improved results for the six months ended March 31, on the back of its “reset, refocus and restart campaign” which was launched in response to significant losses incurred from loadshedding and avian influenza in the 2023 financial... 


Absa partnering with development finance agency to help East African coffee farmers

By: Rebecca Campbell     15th May 2024 South African banking group Absa and the International Finance Corporation (IFC – part of the World Bank group) will jointly provide a commodity trade finance facility, worth up to $60-million, to a leading global green coffee merchant, Volcafe. This facility will strengthen Volcafe’s operations... 

Coffee beans in a cup

Tribunal conditionally approves Sea Harvest’s acquisition of Terrasan businesses

By: Marleny Arnoldi     15th May 2024 The Competition Tribunal has conditionally approved the proposed merger whereby subsidiaries of JSE-listed seafood and aquaculture company Sea Harvest intend to acquire certain subsidiaries of Terrasan. The subsidiaries being acquired are those engaged in the catching, processing and sale of... 

fish processing line

John Deere showcases continued technology, innovation focus  

15th May 2024 Equipment manufacturer John Deere South Africa will continue to focus on pursuing innovation on its machines and technology as it looks to strengthen its footprint in Africa. Tasneem Bulbulia tells us more. 

John Deere showcases continued technology, innovation focus
John Deere showcases continued technology, innovation focus

Poultry association calls for vaccination to prevent H7N6 avian influenza outbreak

By: Schalk Burger     13th May 2024 The South African poultry industry is calling for immediate intervention to avert an outbreak of the H7N6 strain of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) that it is grappling with, following a year of significant losses, including the culling of 9.5-million birds. While traditionally reliant... 

A photo of chickens

High Court dismisses embattled Tongaat’s appeal on levies owed to industry

By: Marleny Arnoldi     8th May 2024 After not paying levies owed to the South African Sugar Association (Sasa) since October 2022, sugar producer Tongaat Hulett has again been ordered by the Durban High Court to pay the outstanding levies. The levies are essential to the economic survival of many sugarcane farmers and the... 

Sugar inside Durban export terminal

World Bank suggests actions for lower-emission agricultural land use

By: Marleny Arnoldi     7th May 2024 The World Bank has outlined in a report the actions that every country can take to make the global agrifood system more sustainable and achieve markable reductions in greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions. The bank says the world is faced with a largely misunderstood reality in that the system that... 

Cans with food

Data, drones can improve local agriculture

3rd May 2024 Smart technology, powered by artificial intelligence (AI) and unmanned vehicles, can counter various challenges in the agricultural sector, boosting productivity, reducing costs and assisting in preserving precious resources, says drone technology company DJI product manager Ruan Botha.... 

An image of DJI product manager Ruan Botha
RUAN BOTHA Innovative solutions are required for long-term sustainability and growth

Access to farming equipment boosts mechanisation

By: Nadine Ramdass     3rd May 2024 Agricultural technology company Hello Tractor, celebrating its tenth anniversary this year, aims to improve small-scale farming practices through its app Hello Tractor, which facilitates increased access to farming equipment. With a core focus on improving African agriculture through... 

An image of farm equipment working on a farm
FARM MECHANISATION Farm equipment can supplement the need for physical labour, minimising the impact of labour shortages on small-scale farms

Scientists explore how to improve crop yields – on Mars

By: Reuters     2nd May 2024 For future human bases or colonies on Mars to be self-sustaining, a reliable source of home-grown food will be a must. It simply would be too costly and risky to rely upon rocket deliveries to meet the food needs of colonists. With this in mind, scientists are exploring ways to optimize space... 

Critical minerals, food crops at risk of climate disruption by 2050, report shows

By: Darren Parker     30th April 2024 More than 70% of critical minerals needed for the transition to net zero emissions will be at risk from climate disruption by 2050, professional services firm PwC says. The firm's latest report, titled ‘Climate Risks to Nine Key Commodities Report’, shows that the production of copper, cobalt and... 

A graph showing the heat stress and drought riks of various commodities

CGA, ECDC to spend R1.2m on capacitating ten Eastern Cape citrus farmers for exports

By: Marleny Arnoldi     29th April 2024 The Grower Development Company of the Citrus Growers’ Association of Southern Africa (CGA) has partnered with the Eastern Cape Development Corporation (ECDC) to bolster commercialisation prospects for black farmers producing citrus in the province. The 18-month agreement signed between the... 

Citrus fruit being picked

Astral to post 465% rise in earnings as operations normalise

By: Marleny Arnoldi     29th April 2024 Integrated poultry producer Astral Foods has advised that its earnings per share (EPS) for the six months ended March 31 will increase by between 465% and 475% year-on-year. This will result in interim EPS of between 913c and 930c apiece, compared with EPS of 162c in the first half of the prior... 

Astral Foods broiler house
Astral Foods broiler house

Can South Africa turn around 30 years of real economy underperformance?

By: Terence Creamer     26th April 2024 In this essay, Terence Creamer reflects on the factors that have shaped South Africa’s real-economy sectors of manufacturing, mining and agriculture over the past 30 years and considers ways to end the economy’s persistent underperformance 

Magazine cover image

South Africa makes second WTO complaint over EU citrus rules

By: Reuters     25th April 2024 South Africa has lodged a complaint against the European Union's (EU's) citrus black spot (CBS) regulations, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) said on Wednesday. The EU is a major market for South African citrus fruit, accounting for a third of its citrus exports and the move is the African... 

A WTO logo on an office building

Fly farmer Maltento opens laboratory to expand insect research

By: Irma Venter     24th April 2024 Fly farmer Maltento has unveiled a new laboratory at its insect breeding facility in Cape Town. The laboratory has been built to expand Maltento’s research on insect biotechnology, and aims to position the company as a leader in the functional ingredient and sustainability space. 

Image of Maltento's Dominic Malan and Dean Smorenburg
Dominic Malan and Dean Smorenburg

Research group reports that the latest El Niño had a significant impact on South Africa

By: Rebecca Campbell     19th April 2024 A South African research group has reported that the 2023/24 El Niño phenomenon was the fourth strongest yet recorded, and that it had a noticeable impact on South Africa. The research team, designated the El Niño Southern Oscillation Reference Group (ENSO-RG), was convened by the Council for... 

South Africa to keep anti-dumping duties on chicken imports from US

By: Bloomberg     18th April 2024 South Africa’s trade minister approved a recommendation to maintain anti-dumping duties on frozen bone-in chicken portions originating in or imported from the US. Following an investigation that started in December 2022, the International Trade Administration Commission of South Africa, known as... 

A 30% increase in whole grain adoption can reduce carbon emissions by 120Mt - BCG finds

By: Marleny Arnoldi     17th April 2024 A report published by global consultancy Boston Consulting Group (BCG) finds that, with thoughtful and gradual changes to how wheat is grown, processed and consumed, the food system can be transformed to be more nutritional. With grains, in particular, including wheat, corn and rice, most... 

Grain in hand

African Risk Capacity to pay out insurance to drought-affected Southern African farmers

By: Marleny Arnoldi     17th April 2024 Farmers in Mozambique and Zambia are being impacted by one of the worst droughts in decades, United Nations (UN) assistant secretary-general Reena Ghelani has said as she met with stakeholders to organise food and cash assistance in countries affected by the drastic El Niño-induced weather. She... 

Drought in corn field

South Africa challenges EU on citrus export restrictions

By: Bloomberg     15th April 2024 South Africa has taken a preliminary step toward filing a complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO) against the European Union (EU) over its treatment of citrus imports from the country, people familiar with the situation said. Two years ago, the EU imposed requirements for additional... 

Citrus fruit being picked from trees

Woolworths launches regenerative farming practices campaign

By: Schalk Burger     12th April 2024 Retail company Woolworths has launched a Farming for the Future campaign, with the aim of encouraging farmers to implement regenerative farming practices. By partnering with farmers who adopt restorative practices, Woolworths seeks to amplify its impact and foster a community of agricultural... 

Emerging mohair farmers boosted by new Eastern Cape support programme

By: Rebecca Campbell     11th April 2024 A new initiative, the Mohair Industry Support Programme (MISP), was launched in the Eastern Cape province on Thursday. MISP is a result of the signing of a three-year memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the Eastern Cape Development Corporation (ECDC) and the Mohair Empowerment Trust (MET).... 

South Africa's science, innovation dept launches circular minerals, metals initiative 

By: Darren Parker     11th April 2024 South Africa's Department of Science and Innovation (DSI), through the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), has launched the first of three new government-led collaborative circular economy initiatives focusing on priority economic sectors that were identified by government in... 

DSI technology innovation deputy director general Mmboneni Muofhe
Photo by Creamer Media
DSI technology innovation deputy director general Mmboneni Muofhe

Sibanye’s post-mining agri initiative seeks commercial farming, agribusiness partners

By: Marleny Arnoldi     5th April 2024 Nonprofit initiative Bokamoso Ba Rona has published a request for expression of interest, in seeking to partner with established commercial farmers and/or agribusinesses to spearhead Bokamoso’s catalytic projects. Bokamoso Ba Rona, which is Sesotho for ‘Our Future’, was founded by multinational... 

Farm uses electricity generated from sugar waste

5th April 2024 A farm in the Czech Republic is showing how valuable food crops can be grown using heat and electricity that are generated using biogas produced from agricultural waste. The farm at Suchohrdly, about 40 km south west of Brno, in Czech Republic, meets its own energy needs by producing biogas from... 

Pumps crucial to sugar processing – supplier

By: Simone Liedtke     5th April 2024 As the sugar industry continues to evolve in a rapidly changing market landscape, the investment in modern, efficient pump solutions and effective maintenance practices will remain vital, says pumps supplier Schurco Slurry process and technical specialist Donovan Higginson. By doing so, sugar... 

The investment in modern, efficient pump solutions can optimise sugar operations
PUMPING INVESTMENT The investment in modern, efficient pump solutions can optimise sugar operations

Firm offers durable flooring solution, corrosion protection

By: Simone Liedtke     5th April 2024 The deterioration and corrosion of concrete infrastructure have presented significant challenges in harsh operational environments such as sugar mills. Corrosion protection, epoxy flooring and waterproofing company Verni Speciality Construction Products has, therefore, developed its Supaflor... 

Supaflor polyurethane heavy-duty offers superior resistance to the specific conditions in sugar mills
SUPAFLOR PU HD Supaflor polyurethane heavy-duty offers superior resistance to the specific conditions in sugar mills

TPT outlines actions to support 15% growth in citrus exports during 2024 season

By: Terence Creamer     4th April 2024 Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) reports that it has recruited 200 additional cargo coordinators and has set up dedicated lanes for refrigerated containers at all KwaZulu-Natal container terminals in preparation for the citrus fruit export season, which begins this month. Congestion at the country’s... 

TPT outlines actions to support 15% growth in citrus exports during 2024 season

Agriculture, fossil fuel burning the main reasons why Africa is emitting more carbon

By: Marleny Arnoldi     3rd April 2024 Research by University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) academics finds that Africa has moved from being a net carbon sink to a net carbon source in nine years, meaning the rate at which carbon is being released from the continent has increased. Wits explains that Africa went from absorbing more... 

Livestock farm

InfraCo Africa invests $12m to scale up solar irrigation offering in sub-Saharan Africa

By: Schalk Burger     2nd April 2024 Sub-Saharan African private sustainable infrastructure project developer InfraCo Africa has made a $12-million equity investment in climate-smart agriculture equipment company SunCulture to scale the latter’s solar irrigation offering across the region. The investment is part of an oversubscribed... 

African food sustainability needs greener production, less waste, PwC study shows

By: Schalk Burger     2nd April 2024 Greener food production methods and the avoidance of food waste are required to future-proof Africa’s food supply and to meet the expected future demand for nutrition in a sustainable way, says professional services firm PwC in its 'The sustainable food revolution: Future-proofing the world’s... 

Association expects higher export volumes across all citrus fruits

By: Marleny Arnoldi     2nd April 2024 As the citrus export season starts this month, the Citrus Growers’ Association of Southern Africa (CGA) is confident that 37.9-million 15 kg cartons of lemons will be exported to key markets, which is an increase of 7% year-on-year. Lemon exports have more than doubled since 2016.  

Packed oranges

Small growers achieve certification

29th March 2024 Five small timber growers in KwaZulu-Natal in December became the first participants to achieve forest certification through the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) Sappi Group Scheme for small growers. The growers were part of Sappi’s Khulisa programme. 

The above image depicts the five small timber growers who participated in the Sappi Khulisa programme
Photo by Sappi
PEFC CERTIFIED Five small timber growers in KwaZulu-Natal are the first to participate in the Sappi Khulisa programme and achieve certification through the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification for small growers

Drones deliver predator bugs for sustainable pest control

29th March 2024 Wine producer Vergelegen wine estate, in Somerset West, has partnered with collaborative venture SkyBugs to test the use of drone-delivered beneficial insects to control pests in its vineyards. SkyBugs, a partnership between integrated pest management provider FieldBUGS and agritech company... 

An image of SkyBUG's drone system for dispersing beneficial insects
REACHING NEW HEIGHTS Drone dispersal ensures more effective distribution and coverage of beneficial insects

Sustainability trend creates opportunities for paper producers

29th March 2024 The pulp and paper manufacturing industry holds a meaningful position in the landscape of South Africa's industrial sector, says industry association Paper Manufacturers Association of South Africa (PAMSA). As the backbone of numerous sectors, “its vitality is paramount to South Africa’s economic... 

An image of a paper ream at a paper mill
THE CIRCLE OF FIBRE On average, the country recovers 1.1-million tonnes of paper and paper packaging each year, with 75% to 80% of the fibre going back into local production. More than half of the country’s locally manufactured paper is made from recycled paper fibre
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