South Africa

COVID-19 relief vouchers hijacked by ‘fake farmers’, says DA

The way in which the COVID-19 relief scheme for small-scale farmers was designed and how it was adapted over time says a lot about government’s understanding of farming and the food system.

Poultry industry on high alert after bird flu confirmation

The South African poultry industry is on high alert after the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (agriculture department) confirmed an outbreak of avian influenza on a commercial chicken layer farm in Ekurhuleni, Gauteng on Monday, 12 April.

Free State farmers renew calls for more crime task teams

Additional task teams need to be deployed in the Free State as a matter of urgency to act as a buffer against the rising crime rate, specifically to combat the high incidence of livestock theft along the Lesotho border.

Guidelines for livestock exports by sea now open for comment

Interested parties have until 30 April to submit written comments on draft guidelines aimed at enhancing the ethical transportation of livestock from South Africa by sea.

Global fertiliser prices at a two-year high

International fertiliser prices, except for potassium chloride, were at their highest levels in more than 24 months during March, according to Ikageng Maluleke, an agricultural economist at Grain SA.

SA to harvest its largest table grape crop on record

Despite a challenging season, it is expected that the South African Table Grape Industry’s (SATI) crop estimate will be exceeded by more than two million cartons, making it the largest crop on record.

Crumbling roads push up production costs for grain farmers

The severely damaged road system in the Free State is making it difficult for farmers in that province to deliver their crops to market, eroding agricultural profit margins in the process.

Extension of Land Bank negotiations ‘a cause for concern’

It is concerning that negotiations between the financially embattled Land and Agricultural Development Bank of South Africa (Land Bank), the National Treasury, and the bank’s lenders, have exceeded the 31 March 2021 deadline to develop a mutually acceptable Commitment Agreement for the Land Bank’s operational restructuring and settlement of its substantial debt repayment requirements.

Poor performance of former land department under scrutiny

The poor performance of the former Department of Land Reform and Rural Development came under scrutiny during a recent Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development meeting.

Room for further increases in SA’s record maize estimate

Although the Crop Estimates Committee's (CEC), second production estimate for the 2020/2021 summer grain and oilseed production area was only adjusted upwards by 1%, there is room for further upward adjustments.

New Western Cape rural safety desk to combat crime

The Western Cape Department of Agriculture has established a rural safety desk as part of the province’s economic recovery plan.

Land Bank debt negotiations nears deadline

If the Land and Agricultural Development Bank of South Africa (Land Bank) and National Treasury cannot reach a mutually acceptable plan with the bank’s creditors on how its approximately R40 billion debt will be restructured and its misfortunes sustainably turned around, the agricultural sector faces an uncertain future.

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