The AMT South Africa Agricultural Outlook Conference

Please remember to register before 31 May 2014!

The AMT will be held in Pretoria on 30 September 2014. The conference is a highlight on the annual South African agricultural calender and an excellent opportunity to network. Institutions such as ABSA, Standard Bank, Landbouweekblad and SENWES, NWK, Afgri, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Nedbank, the National Agricultural Marketing Council, Old Mutual, Santam Agriculture as well as Protein Research Foundation and the Land Bank play a huge role in ensuring the successful hosting of this important event.

For bookings or enquiries contact:
Mrs Minda Bornman, Communications and Marketing Manager at: minda@amtrends.co.za or +27 12 348 8344/27

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2015 AgriBEE charter deadline

The AgiBEE sector code was gazzetted in 2012 under section 9 (1) of the B-BBEE Act no. 53 of 2003 after some robust and constructive discussions by stakeholders. In line with other sector codes gazzetted before 2013, the Code was aligned with the Department of Trade and Industry’s (the DTI) codes of good practice issued in 2007.

Newly re-appointed DTI Minister, Dr Rob Davies, gazzetted the revised codes in October 2013 after consultation with the broader public. This implies that all sector codes already gazzetted under sub-section 9 (1) will have to align with the revised codes of good practice due to the new changes. Sector Charter Councils were given a transitional period until October 2014 to align, but the DTI has since realised it was not possible and extended the deadline to April 2015.

According to the DTI the revised codes among others took into account inflation and implementation problems. The AgriBEE Charter Council recently held a two-day workshop in East Rand, Johannesburg, to develop a strategic plan for the Council. Mr Edwin Mohlahlo, chairperson of the AgriBEE Charter Council, explained the strategic plan will pave the way forward for the alignment of the codes, the institutionalisation of the Council as well as the development of monitoring and evaluation programmes. The strategic workshop further developed three groups that are going to be the working drivers of the Council, with the first group being responsible for alignment, second group, responsible for institutionalisation and the third group, monitoring and evaluation.

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Africa poultry growth

Astral Africa’s poultry operations delivered revenue growth of 22% to R248 million (March 2013: R203 million) as a result of higher day old chick sales with the completion of the expansion project in Zambia. Operating profit decreased to R11 million (March 2013: R20 million), with the profitability of the division impacted by a poor performance from Tiger Animal Feeds in Zambia as a consequence of unfavourable raw material positions and stock mismanagement. Foods Limited (Astral) recently released its interim results for the six months ended 31 March 2014.

Astral’s finance costs was marginally lower at R11, 8 million (March 2013: R12, 5 million) with R6, 8 million of costs on finance raised to fund the construction of the new Standerton Feed Mill having been capitalised. Once this feed mill is commissioned, it will be expensed through the Statement of Comprehensive Income. The improvement in cash flows from operating activities resulted in an inflow of R293, 3 million compared to the inflow of R18, 2 million for the previous period. “We maintained a strong and conservative financial position with the net debt to equity ratio decreasing from 15.5% at 30 September 2013 to 12.5% at 31 March 2014.

The interim dividend of 200 cents per share declared for this period is in line with the Group’s dividend cover of 2.0 times;” said Daan Ferreira, Astral’s Group Financial Director. Should the South African Poultry Association application to the International Trade Administration Commission (ITAC) for anti-dumping duties against the EU be successful, the company believe that this will go “some way” to improving the imbalance in the supply and demand for chicken. Although Astral supports the requirement for regulatory control around brining, the proposed 15% brining level should be debated in order to establish the best outcome for all stakeholders, the company stated.

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Malawi to host AFOYA awards

Preparations across the African continent are underway for the second, Africa Annual Farmer Organisation of the Year Awards (AFOYA), to be held in Malawi later this year. This follows a meeting between the three organising partners, the Southern African Confederation of Agricultural Unions (SACAU), African Investment Climate Research (AFRICRES) and the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). AFOYA seeks to acknowledge the leading role Farmer Organisations (FOs) play in promoting food security across the continent. The awards recognises a farmer groups that has demonstrated the ability to improve the livelihoods of the smallholders in Africa. The 2014 awards are scheduled to be held in Lilongwe on 12-13 November 2014, and will consist of various agricultural categories.

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2014 Africa Infrastructure Summit

Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), President Macky Sall of Senegal will host a Summit on financing Africa’s infrastructure from June 14-15 in Dakar. The highly anticipated event aims to promote the participation of the private sector in the financing and development of Africa’s infrastructure. In preparation for the Summit, a number of projects have been identified for implementation as part of the African Union/NEPAD Programme for Infrastructure development in Africa (PIDA). The PIDA approved projects will be show-cased to private investors and facilitate a discussion on their investment potential.

President Sall will host the Summit as a member of the NEPAD Heads of State and Government Orientation Committee, supported by the NEPAD Agency, the African Union Commission, the African Development Bank, the Economic Commission for Africa, World Bank and other partners.  The Summit is in response to the outcomes of a study conducted by NEPAD and the Economic Commission for Africa on Domestic Resources by African Leaders. The Study makes recommendations aimed at harnessing domestic resources for the financing of development in Africa, and in particular, for infrastructure development, which experts note, is a key driver for the acceleration of regional integration and competitiveness. The by-invitation only summit will facilitate an interactive engagement between political and business leaders on sustainable development through domestic financing.

Economic Commission for Africa

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