• Thundershowers expected during the week, especially over the eastern parts where a possibility exists for storms to become severe. Dry and sunny conditions will return over the whole country by the weekend.

  • "Employment opportunities in agriculture will dramatically decrease over the next decade due to the abnormal outflow of labour that can be attributed to the extreme economic pressure on the agricultural industry, the new unprecedented technological development deriving from the fourth industrial revolution in the world and the expropriation of land without compensation," says Fanie Brink, an independent agricultural economist.

  • In the Langkloof most topfruit orchards have finished flowering and growers are in the process of fruit thinning. Their dams are full and yet the new season has brought an unwelcome irony: a year ago, Langkloof dams were 30% full and the nearby Kouga Dam 12.6% full (later dropping to a mere 6%), but there were no water restrictions on Langkloof fruit producers.

  • SA poultry farmers must raise their efficiency to compete, says Ted McKinney, undersecretary for trade and foreign agricultural affairs in the US agriculture department.

  • The impact that the South African agricultural sector has on the economy, is far greater than just its contribution to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) and also has a major impact on unemployment figures, particularly in rural areas.

  • Between the end of the Canadian cherry season and the start of the Chilean season, at the beginning of October, there is a period of about two to three weeks when the UK market has no other cherry supplier than South Africa.

  • October’s sales figures were also the highest monthly total in the past three years, since October 2015.

    Of the total vehicle sales, 74.1% represented dealer sales, 20.2% represented sales to the vehicle rental industry, 3.2% to government and 2.5% to industry corporate fleets.

    The South African economy continued to experience difficult conditions with consumers’ disposable income remaining under pressure. Continued weakness in the latest Purchasing Managers’ Indices and the Reserve Bank’s Leading Indicator suggested that business conditions would probably remain difficult over the short term.

    On the positive side, new-vehicle affordability had continued to improve with new car price inflation remaining well below the Consumer Price Index for the past 15 months.

    Automotive companies were also offering attractive sales incentives.

    Naamsa noted that export sales had also registered strong gains, in line with industry expectations. The 34 134 vehicles exported represented a 20.9% year-on-year improvement.

    The association said vehicle exports remain a function of the direction of the global economy which continues to reflect fairly robust growth despite rising protectionism and trade disputes.

    The momentum of export sales had increased over the past few months and, taking into account relatively strong order books reported by most vehicle exporters, exports should improve further and reflect strong upward momentum in 2019 and subsequent years.

    The projection of industry export sales for 2019 was at 385 000 export units compared with an estimated figure of about 340 000 for 2018.

  • Earlier this year, Nick Serfontein wrote an open letter to South African President Cyril Ramaphosa asking him to take the views of white farmers on board as the government considers expropriating land without compensation to reduce rural poverty.

  • From planting to pollination, which is typically the period between October and February, the weather becomes an important factor in the South African summer grains and oilseeds market. 

  • I am sure many will agree that this has been an eventful year for the South African sugar industry, particularly from a trade perspective. A few months ago, hardly a week would go by without seeing stories of sugar imports threatening the local industry.

  • American think-tank, the Cato Institute, recently published a warning of the possible effects that expropriating privately-owned farmland may have on South Africa.

  • There is a lot of good going for the South African agricultural industry, which often gets overshadowed by policy discussions.

  • A tiny tree-killing beetle with the awkwardly long name of Polyphagous Shothole Borer was detected in South Africa for the first time last year. It’s now attacking and inserting its deadly fungal ally, Fusarium euwallaceae, in a wider array of tree species across a much wider geographical area.

  • Last week, the South African Weather Service noted that ‘the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is still in a neutral phase and although most models indicate a strong strengthening towards an El Niño phase in the early summer season, it is not expected to have an influence on South Africa during the first half of summer.’

  • While light showers in some parts of the Western Cape might have somewhat slowed the harvest process over the weekend, the pace could pick up within the next two weeks due to expected cool and drier weather conditions in the province.

  • The South African cherry export season has got off to a positive start, following some reports of various weather-related challenges around the country.

  • An American research team set tongues wagging in South Africa this weekend when they called on South Africa to learn a lesson from the Robert Mugabe regime, in order to avoid becoming a “second Zimbabwe” when implementing land expropriation policies.

  • The South African agricultural industry is in a good place, which often gets overshadowed by broader policy discussions.

  • Two things became immediately clear as the crisis unfolded. The first was that, as we’ve already noted, the municipal, provincial and national authorities had absolutely no idea how to deal with the looming disaster.

  • The optimal planting window opened at the beginning of this month in the sunflower seed growing areas, but it is still a fairly quiet period in the fields as the expected rainfall has not yet materialised in most areas. This is not much of an issue because the optimal planting window will open until early January 2019.