We found a way to turn urine into solid fertiliser – it could make farming more sustainable

It’s likely that most of the food you’ll eat today was not farmed sustainably. The global system of food production is the largest human influence on the planet’s natural cycles of nitrogen and phosphorus. How much crops can grow is limited by the amount of these two elements in the soil, so they’re applied as fertilisers. But the majority of fertilisers are either made by converting nitrogen in the air to ammonia, which alone consumes 2% of the world’s energy and relies heavily on fossil fuels, or by mining finite resources, like phosphate rock. A…

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Stepping up on maximising women’s potential in agri

A webinar that aimed to assist female producers in developing their own voice in a sustainable and profitable farming business was held on 28 October. The virtual roundtable discussion, hosted by Corteva Agriscience in partnership with the Entrepreneurship Development Agency (EDA) at the Gordon Institute of Business School (GIBS), focused on innovative solutions to maximise the potential of women in agricultural development. The partnership is a strategy to work together on an immersive tailor-made programme that will kick-off in January 2021 to assist female producers in developing their entrepreneurial, business…

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Agriculture the main pillar of Limpopo’s economy

  Tourism, mining and agriculture have proven to be Limpopo’s three main pillars that support the province’s economy, with the province now boasting the second most agricultural jobs in the country. The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Limpopo claims urgent government intervention is needed to prevent massive job losses, unemployment and the escalating skill shortages that continue to hamper the ailing Limpopo economy. Tourism, mining, and agriculture have proven to be Limpopo’s three main pillars that support the province’s economy. The party said in a media statement on Tuesday that although…

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New law to bar foreigners doing business in Gauteng townships

  Johannesburg – Foreign nationals living in Gauteng will soon be barred by law from doing business in the province’s townships unless they obtain permanent residency status. The Gauteng provincial government wants to stop foreign nationals from operating some businesses in the townships as part of plans to revitalise the economy in a number of the region’s most densely populated areas. A proposed new law drafted by the Gauteng economic development department and premier David Makhura’s policy unit will reserve certain economic activities in townships for South African citizens and…

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Small and medium growers and innovation are key to South Africa’s citrus export growth

  While COVID-19 has disrupted many industries, the citrus industry in South Africa has emerged resilient, with strong demand in export markets and strong potential beyond the crisis. To tap this growth potential requires complementary public investment in ports and irrigation infrastructure, and technical capacity to negotiate access to wider export markets on favourable conditions. Demand for citrus in international markets has boomed under COVID-19 and prices have increased. For example, European prices for South African oranges in May 2020 were 7%-15% higher than a year earlier in euro terms, or around…

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Two sectors may be SA’s economic revivers

    Mining and agriculture were among the stand-out performers during what is set to be known as the ‘pandemic quarter’. An increase in maize exports and rising international demand for citrus fruits and pecan nuts helped the agricultural sector expand by more than 15% in Q2. Image: Shutterstock Statistics SA predicts that the second quarter of this year will become known as the ‘pandemic quarter’. Gross domestic product (GDP) fell by just over 16% between the first and second quarters. However, according to PwC chief economist Lulu Krugel, mining…

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Covid-19 and the climate present varying risks for Southern and East Africa agriculture

  Climate and pandemic risks could weigh on agricultural output and farm profitability in the 2020/21 season, and in turn, the livelihoods of those who are directly and indirectly dependent on the sector. The reports of a potential La Niña event during the coming summer months presents mixed fortunes for Southern and East Africa’s agriculture. For parts of East Africa, the La Niña weather event typically correlates with below-average rainfall in the months between December and February, while Southern Africa experiences wetter conditions over the same period. What makes this concerning for East Africa…

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Modernising water infrastructure: what will it take to address the water challenges in Africa?

JOHANNESBURG, SA,  Water is a critical resource and has a tremendous impact on Africa’s development. Unfortunately, climate change, together with a soaring population, has led to an increase in the demand for water – a demand that in many countries, outstrips the available resources. As the availability of water declines, the facilitation of water for domestic consumption, agriculture and other uses is becoming critical, as is the modernising of water infrastructure to meet the growing demand. Bear in mind that Africa is a continent with 1.2 billion people, and a…

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Is the coronavirus outbreak a risk for South Africa’s agriculture?

There is a strong sense of unease in the world right now. The coronavirus outbreak in China is fast spreading across Asia and other regions, and the health implications present risks for global value chains. From a macroeconomic perspective, we have already seen organisations such as the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development slashing growth forecasts for the year. Some of the economic data released in China this week was quite weak. In my own world of the agricultural economy, I have started to pick up concerns from various stakeholders…

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Partnerships in agriculture are more important than ever

CAPE TOWN – Food security, together with adequate nutrition, is a matter of life or death at one end of the market, while good agricultural practices are necessities at the other. Whether it’s food in abundance or eco-friendly food production – partnerships in agriculture are now more important than ever. Agriculture in South Africa has yet to achieve its full potential for a variety of reasons. And this year’s Nampo Cape exhibition comes at an important moment, as the industry has grown significantly since the drought of 2015. Recognising the…

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