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Cattle of Ages, by Cyril Ramaphosa (text) and Daniel Naudé (photography), has been released.

Recently the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) granted Environmental Authorisations (EA) to Rhino Oil and Gas Exploration South Africa (ROG) for natural gas exploration across four provinces, totalling 2.4 million hectares of land. Whilst there are currently two applications in KZN, so far only the authorisation across Northern KZN has been granted.

The public is only given 20 days from the date of the notification of the granting of the authorisation to appeal.

Strategically united against the applications, Agri SA on behalf of Kwanalu and each affected provincial union, submitted an appeal for each of the EA’s granted.

Written by Theo Boshoff, Agbiz Head: Legal intelligence

We must ensure that land reform happens, but in a sustainable way so that agricultural production and food supply remain vibrant over the coming years in order to prevent basic nutrition from becoming unaffordable. As it currently stands, Stats SA estimates that 13,8 million South Africans, or one in every four, live under the food poverty line, which means they cannot afford their basic food demands and are food insecure. If the price of food increases due to uncertainty regarding expropriation without compensation and the associated disinvestment into the sector, the situation will become even worse. It is therefore vital that we find solutions to accelerate land reform without causing large-scale uncertainty in the agro-food system.

  • The expected increase in government debt to 61% of GDP by 2022 raises South Africa’s risk for a credit downgrade - impacting negatively on the cost of production inputs such as fertilizer, fuel and agricultural technology as a result of a depreciating Rand.

By Wessel Lemmer, Senior Agricultural Economist at Absa

The world increasingly needs more food to meet the demand of a fast-growing population. According to a recent WEF report, we may run out of sufficient calories much sooner than 2050. Meanwhile, in South Africa the short-term economic outlook does not look great. An increase in policy uncertainty, disappointing economic growth and an increase in government debt may lead to another credit downgrade as early as the end of 2017. Any downgrade would further jeopardise the country’s food security as a weakening exchange rate will most likely lead to an increase in interest rates and higher import costs. This would drive up inflation and the consumer will be the poorer.

Agriculture contributed significantly to the latest positive GDP figures and can play an even bigger role in the economy, if given the support it needs.

Illovo Sugar South Africa (Illovo SA) has received official approval from the South African National Treasury Jobs Fund to provide capital for its project to develop 3 000ha of small-scale grower, cane land on the South Coast of KwaZulu-Natal. Working in partnership with Traditional Councils, this initiative will see Illovo SA create sustainable employment for black growers and their families, provide training opportunities for rural households and also increase its contribution to stimulating economic activity in deep rural areas.