Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 1 December: The COP28 Presidency today announced that 134 world leaders have signed up to its landmark agriculture, food and climate action declaration. Also announced was the mobilization of more than USD$2.5 billion in funding to support food security while combatting climate change and a new partnership between the UAE and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for food systems innovation in the fact of climate change.
The ‘COP28 UAE Declaration on Sustainable Agriculture, Resilient Food Systems, and Climate Action’ (the Declaration) was announced at a special session of the World Climate Action Summit (WCAS), led by Joko Widodo, President of Indonesia Giorgia Meloni, Prime Minister of Italy, Fiame Naomi Mata?afa, Prime Minister of Samoa and Anthony J. Blinken, Secretary of State for the United States of America. The Declaration addresses both global emissions while protecting the lives and livelihoods of farmers who live on the frontlines of climate change.
“There is no path to achieving the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement and keeping 1.5C within reach, that does not urgently address the interactions between food systems, agriculture, and climate,” H.E. Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment and COP28 Food Systems Lead, said.
“Countries must put food systems and agriculture at the heart of
their climate ambitions, addressing both global emissions and protecting the
lives and livelihoods of farmers living on the front line of climate change.
Today’s commitment from countries around the world will help to build a global
food system fit for the future,” she added.
The 134 signatory countries to the Declaration are home to over
5.7 billion people and almost 500 million farmers, produce 70 percent of the
food we eat, and are responsible for 76 percent all emissions from global food
systems or 25 percent of total emissions globally.
Endorsement of the Declaration will help in strengthening food
systems, building resilience to climate change, reducing global emissions, and
contributing to the global fight against hunger, aligned with the UN
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Declaration – the first of its kind
for the COP process - stresses the need for common action on climate change,
which adversely affects a large portion of the world’s population, particularly
those living in vulnerable countries and communities.
“Today signals a turning point, embedding sustainable
agriculture and food systems as critical components in both dealing with
climate change and building food systems fit for the future. Together we will
deliver lasting change for families, farmers and the future,” said H.E Almheiri.
While food systems are vital for meeting societal needs and
enabling adaptation to climate impacts, they are also responsible for as much
as a third of global greenhouse gas emissions. Many smallholder farmers in low-
and middle-income countries are also facing heightened vulnerability to climate
Key announcements made at the session today include:
The COP28 Food Systems and Agriculture Agenda has four pillars, covering national leadership, non-state actors, scaling up innovation, and finance.
COP28 is also working with representatives from every stage of the food system and agriculture value chain, including farmers, civil society, businesses, and local governments to accelerate the transition to regenerative agriculture.
The full list of countries who have signed the Declaration can
be found here.
Please click here for a factsheet on the announcement.
Notes to Editors COP28 UAE:
Read more: www.cop28.com
The storage sector has lost R267 million over a period of
six years. Agbiz Grain has initiated research projects for funding that will
focus on genetics on the one hand, and the history of downgrading over the past
15 years on the other. The two projects are complementary.
The storage sector needs to understand the future storage requirements of barley in order to limit risk and improve the sustainability and competitiveness of barley storage. The research will support the ongoing development of the malting barley storage protocol by Agbiz Grain and a review of the current malting barley grading regulations. – Agbiz Grain
dispute protocol was finalised in 2022 and is available on the Agbiz Grain
website at www.agbizgrain.co.za. The sampling section cannot be finalised until the South
African Grain Laboratory’s (SAGL) research into the three sampling devices has
Based on the results, Agbiz Grain will make a recommendation as to which device is suitable for dispute resolution and which one complies with the ICC standard. The results of SAGL’s research are expected shortly. Agbiz Grain has made a significant investment to facilitate the research in the interest of the entire value chain. – Agbiz Grain
United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently released its monthly
flagship report, World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates. The report’s focus has shifted from the 2022/23 season to
the 2023/24 season.
The 2023/24 global wheat production is forecast at 797 million tons, up 1% from the previous season. The larger harvest is anticipated in the European Union (EU) region, the US, Canada, China, India and Turkey. As a result of the expected large harvest, the 2023/24 season’s global maize stocks could increase by 1% year-on-year to 270 million tons. Moreover, the USDA forecasts 2023/24 global maize production at 1,2 billion tons, up 6% from the previous season.
The countries underpinning this improvement in production are the US, Brazil, Argentina, China and the EU region. Regarding South America, the El Niño weather event will present much-needed change of a prolonged four years of below-average rain during a La Niña event. The ending stocks could also increase by 6% to 314 million tons in the 2023/24 season because of the expected robust harvest. – Wandile Sihlobo, Agbiz
The wheat industry held its last indaba almost ten years ago. The need for a repeat of this event has arisen as the geopolitical and business environment has changed significantly since then. The planned indaba will possibly take place in October and will focus on the current role and structures in the industry, as well as the needs of the sector. Watch the press for more details. – Agbiz Grain
Stakeholders convened on 28 July to
discuss the possible introduction of a generic passport system. They presented
their respective systems in operation and explained the information collected
in the value chain and how it is captured from production to final delivery to
Certain stakeholders are increasingly demanding compliance assurances. Providing assurances will add benefits and costs to the chain. The feasibility of a generic passport system that is applicable to every stakeholder in the value chain, depends on the inclusive cooperation of all stakeholders and compliance with the principles of the competition act as part of a voluntary system. A generic passport system should be based on the same principles as an existing passport system where the inclusive cooperation of all stakeholders involved is contracted.
Being part of a generic passport system is not mandatory but voluntary, which increases the risk of failure. Traceability and compliance in the bulk grain value chain will be discussed at the Agbiz Grain Symposium in September. – Agbiz Grain
The Senwes Group recently announced its financial results for 2022/23. With a turnover of R13 632
million (growth of 25,3%), a profit after tax attributable to shareholders of
the company of R907 million (growth of 50,9%), and normalised headline earnings
of 558,1 cents per share (growth of 40,2%), all stakeholders should be smiling
despite the current challenges within the agricultural sector.
“It is important to note that the figures we are presenting relate to the financial year from 1 May 2022 to 30 April 2023. These figures include the harvest delivered in 2022 and the input costs incurred for the next harvest, which will only reflect in our 2023/24 figures,” said Francois Strydom, CEO of the Senwes Group. “When comparing the latest results to the previous year’s, we are grateful for a second consecutive good year.”
Strydom explained that the higher profits can be attributed to several reasons. “The Senwes Group has expanded significantly. Therefore, the higher figures don’t only come from the same customer base, but from more customers and more businesses. Although this is the second year that Suidwes’ figures have been included for a full year, the actual impact of the operational benefits is now at a much higher level. Falcon and KLK also delivered good results. Another important point is that the figures include ten months of our new John Deere dealerships in Germany. It remains crucial for us to allocate capital effectively.”
Strydom mentioned that maize that is not graded as WM1 usually represents around 6% of the harvest but has increased to approximately 35% in the past financial year. “This is due to the exceptionally high rainfall in the previous season, resulting in waterlogged fields. Despite the lower quality, producers were still able to deliver high volumes, and a beneficial maize price worked in their favour. The significant increase in input costs for all crops during the past financial year is also notable. A good wheat harvest also contributed to these financial results.”
The Senwes Group announced a final dividend of 40 cents per share and a special dividend of 56 cents per share. – Press release, Senwes
The government recently published
two controversial regulations in the Government Gazette for public comment. One is the Water Use Licensing Regulations, which seek to
introduce a black shareholding requirement to obtain a licence, and the other
is the draft Equal
Employment Targets proposed for the agricultural sector. (Read articles on both
these regulations in this issue of Agbiz Grain Quarterly.)
Agbiz is involved in both processes by interacting with the relevant departments. Since the proposals were formally published in the Government Gazette, they have received a strong response from many civil society organisations and the media.
Agbiz Grain believes that banking, as it is practised in South Africa, enables the creation of a more just, peaceful and equal world. If banks can gain greater recognition for the role they play in determining where capital and liquidity can best be allocated in the agricultural industry to promote economic growth, then the banking industry should not be treated as a passive participant in the creation of national policy. Our banks have the ability to determine the functioning of our modern agricultural practices and way of life. With the necessary confidence in our banking system, our democracy can stand stronger. – Agbiz Grain
India’s move to ban certain rice exports has sparked some
panic buying in various countries, with videos on social media showing bags of
the staple food flying off the shelves and long lines outside grocery stores.
The ban comes after India’s government earlier expressed concern over inflation ahead of its upcoming elections. According to Wandile Sihlobo of Agbiz, the problem with this view is that India faces far less inflation pressure than other regions. In June 2023, the country’s annual consumer inflation was 4,8%, down significantly from the start of the year when inflation was 6,5% in January 2023. Food inflation has moderated at roughly the same pace, measured at 4,5% in June 2023, down from 5,9% in January.
Importantly, India is a significant global rice producer, accounting for a 26% share in the expected 2023/24 global rice production of 525 million tons, according to data from the International Grains Council (IGC). Of the 50 million tons of rice for global exports projected for the 2023/24 season, India is expected to account for approximately 40%. Other notable rice exporters are Pakistan, Thailand, the US, Vietnam, China, Cambodia and Myanmar. However, India remains the largest exporter. The ban can there lead to major disruptions in the global rice trade and upside pressure on prices.
At the end of June 2023, global rice prices softened from the surge in May as global production prospects improved. This was a positive decline for an already declining global agricultural commodities basket from the peak levels seen after Russia invaded Ukraine in March 2022. – Wandile Sihlobo, Agbiz
Grain SA recently announced the
resignation of Dr Pieter Taljaard as CEO of the organisation. Taljaard is
headed for Canada where he will be managing a vertically integrated grain and
oilseed farm on the eastern border of Saskatchewan.
“It’s been a hard and sad decision, but at this stage of my career it is the last opportunity given my age to go on an adventure like this. Especially also given that we can experience this as a family together with our two teenage children,” Taljaard wrote on Grain SA’s website.
A committee was appointed by Grain SA’s board to search for the best candidate to take over the role of CEO. “Grain SA has talented and exceptionally committed personnel and I’m confident that we will manage this transition and continue to serve our members at the same level of professionalism and care we have all become accustomed to.” – Susan Marais, Plaas Media
least eight people were killed and 11 others injured in southern Brazil when a
grain silo exploded at the C Vale cooperative in Palotina, a city about 600km
west of the Parana state capital Curitiba. Parana is one of Brazil’s top
C Vale, a major producer of soya beans, wheat and maize that stores grain in 125 units across five Brazilian states and in Paraguay, confirmed in a statement that a “large-scale accident hit our central grain reception unit in Palotina”. The company said the cause was “yet to be determined”.
The associate membership category includes value chain stakeholders that render services or products directly to the handling and storage sector. Associated members do not only pay a membership fee, but also share information and make suggestions on how to improve certain aspects of the grain handling and storage sector business environment. During the end-of-year meetings with our associate members, the following was suggested for consideration in 2023:
According to recent JSE Market Notices, after a meeting with clearing members, financiers and fund managers, the JSE is committed to considering the following improvements to JSE-defined processes:
• Introducing a specific time frame for the buyer to either access JSE stock or confirm with the storage operator that good delivery was made; after this period, the ‘risk’ of good delivery passes from the short- to the long-position holder.
• Guaranteeing all JSE silo receipts and no longer look to each storage operator to guarantee the receipts they issue. This could be solved by the JSE establishing a fund that will underwrite all JSE silo receipts issued.
• If there is no turnover of stock in a particular silo, the JSE requires additional product or financial guarantees from the storage operator to ensure they can continue looking after the stock and have sufficient resources to replace the stock, which will experience natural quality deterioration over time.
Furthermore, that the following improvements were agreed to in the Agricultural Detailed Contract Specifications:
• Clarifying in the detailed contract specifications the circumstances surrounding alternate delivery and issuing receipts when quality and quantity are accessible (i.e. should not issue a JSE receipt if the required grade can only be met after screening or drying the product).
• Including a reference to storage operators placed under business rescue (most likely including this under the existing liquidation clauses).
The JSE is requested to consult sufficiently with the storage sector before making commitments or finalising agreements that concerns the storage sector.
The Market Notices can be accessed at the following links:
The Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) received a request to amend the maize grading regulations. Industry representatives such as Grain SA, Agbiz Grain, the NCM, Sacota and fma were invited to submit comments on the proposed amendments by the end of November 2022.
A meeting between the department and stakeholders took place in January this year. No consensus could be reached as there is uncertainty as to whether the research conducted is sufficient to support the proposed amendments – the lack of consensus influenced the DALRRD’s decision.
During the meeting, legislation prioritising food safety for consumers was emphasised. In this regard, any proposed modifications to a grading factor that may increase the occurrence of mycotoxins needs to be scrutinised. The storage sector submitted comments on the proposed amendments regarding defective kernels, water-damaged kernels, kernels infected with fungi, discoloured kernels and frost-damaged kernels.
The process of attempting to amend the grading regulations has again highlighted the importance of research. In-depth research and thoroughly conducted investigations, the results of which value chain stakeholders cannot dispute, are vital to support the search for consensus. The DALRRD will not approve amendments to the grading regulations until each sector’s respective representatives have reached consensus.
Certainty is needed regarding the requirements concerning the handling and storage of malting barley. Agbiz Grain obtained a legal opinion to ensure that collaborative discussions within the value chain complies with the Competition Act, 1998 (Act 89 of 1998).
The purpose of the discussions is to increase competition in the handling and storage of malting barley, and to prevent the unreasonable transfer of risks or costs, which may have a detrimental impact on the production and storage of malting barley.
The inputs received will be to agree on industry standards. This may lead to the finalisation of a malting barley storage protocol for acceptance by involved stakeholders in 2023. In compliance with the Competition Act, Agbiz Grain will ensure that the discussion to reach industry standards will be inclusive of the relevant stakeholders.
If you have an interest in the handling and storage of malting barley, register your contact details by emailing email@example.com.
Agbiz Grain has developed a food safety conduct supported by members. The conduct describes how the storage operator and its activities are managed or directed. The document communicates the conduct to clients, including producers, customers, and any other market participant that delivers grain and oilseeds for commercial storage to a storage operator.
Future revisions to the document will incorporate reviewed legislation or follow-up inputs reached by consensus between members. Members are encouraged to use the Agbiz Grain food safety conduct in storage agreements. By signing the storage contract and/or submitting to the harvest rules of the storage operator, the client is bound to the standardised food safety conduct of the storage operator.
The conduct fully supports the relevant legislation that the storage sector has to comply with. Any additional requirements demanded by clients in terms of food safety are not covered by the Agbiz Grain food safety conduct. The malted barley and canola passports are typical examples where additional requirements are negotiated between the respective storage operator and the respective clients. – Agbiz Grain
According to US Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, as of 25 September, 72% of the United States’ soya beans were at leaf drop, near the normal of 86%. The near-term forecast is for continued warm temperatures, so most soya beans should reach or be near maturity, according to Ken Hellevang, North Dakota State University agricultural engineer and grain drying expert.
“There is considerable variation this year due to the challenging spring, variation in rainfall, planting date, maturity rating and growing degree days, so it is important to check each field,” Hellevang says.
Soya bean moisture content in the field will fluctuate depending on drying conditions and air humidity. Moisture content can increase by several points with an overnight dew or rain event, and it can decrease by several points during a day with low humidity and windy conditions.
He recommends that producers try to harvest as much of their crop as possible before the moisture level falls below 11%. Producers will receive the best price for their soya beans when the moisture content is 13%. Prices will be discounted for beans at moisture contents exceeding about 13%, and beans are prone to storage problems at higher moisture contents.
Because harvest losses increase dramatically when the moisture content is below 11%, harvesting during high humidity or damp conditions may reduce shatter loss, according to Hellevang.
Soya beans at 11% to 12% moisture have similar storage characteristics as wheat or corn at about 13,5% to 14,5% moisture, and 13% moisture soya beans might be expected to store the same way as about 15,5% moisture corn. The 13% moisture content is adequate for winter storage, but for summer storage, the moisture content should be closer to 11%.
Global wheat prices recently rose sharply following Russia’s withdrawal from the Black Sea grain export deal. The most active wheat contract on the Chicago Board of Trade jumped 5,9% to US$8,78 per bushel, after hitting a high of US$8,93 per bushel earlier. Maize and soya bean prices have also risen, but to a lesser extent with maize futures up 1,2% and soya bean futures climbing 1,3%.
These increases come after Russia announced that it was suspending its involvement in the Black Sea Grain Initiative, which allowed vital agricultural products to be exported from several Ukrainian ports. Ukraine’s foreign ministry said that Russia had suspended its participation in the grain deal on “a false pretext of explosions 220km away from the grain corridor” and that by doing this, it was blocking “two million tons of grain on 176 vessels already at sea.”
Ukraine’s president said Moscow’s withdrawal from the grain initiative, which was due to be renegotiated in November, would exacerbate a global food crisis with countries in Africa, particularly Ethiopia, at risk of a severe famine.– CNBC
Gerard Ramage, SHEQ manager at the VKB Group, reached out to Agbiz and Agbiz Grain during this year, requesting the establishment of a SHEQ forum which would allow for the dissemination of information relating to health and safety practices in the workplace. Agbiz Grain has consequently set up an internal SHEQ committee to provide inputs and arrange future workshops.
The newly established SHEQ Forum held its first workshop in September this year, focussing on the legislation governing health and safety aspects. The workshop was presented by Lucinda van Rensburg of Implex. The forum will be held quarterly, and the outputs of each forum will be reworked into article format by Plaas Media, and published in subsequent issues of Agbiz Grain Quarterly. The first article based on the September workshop appears elsewhere in this issue
The second Agbiz Grain SHEQ Forum workshop will be held on 29 November 2022 from 09:00 to 10:30 via Microsoft Teams. The meeting will focus on legislative and compliance requirements relating to electrical installations and hazardous classification zoning.
To be invited to the quarterly SHEQ Forum, register the contact details of your SHEQ official with Annelien Collins at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Canadian grain producers will now have more time to ask for a final quality determination from the Canadian Grain Commission in the event of a grain grading dispute on their deliveries into Canadian Grain Commission-licensed primary elevators.
Formerly known as ‘Subject to Inspector’s Grade and Dockage’, producers can now ask that a sample of their grain delivery be sent to the Canadian Grain Commission for a final quality determination for up to seven calendar days after the date of their grain delivery. This right is available for grain producers who deliver a regulated grain into a Canadian Grain Commission-licensed primary elevator.
The Canadian Grain Commission has implemented these changes to the Canada Grain Regulations to support fair transactions in the Canadian grain sector. These regulatory updates have been made to reflect and keep pace with the current operational realities of grain handling and delivery in Canada.
The amendments clarify how long samples must be stored and allow more flexibility for producers and elevator operators to decide who will store delivery samples and where. In addition, grain producers will not need to be present at the time of delivery to request a final quality determination. – Canadian Grain Commission
The Agbiz Grain workshop for skills development providers (SDPs) for the occupational qualifications Grain Depot Manager (SAQA Qual ID: 118686, NQF level 5, credits 235) and Grain Grader (SAQA Qual ID: 118688, NQF level 4, credits 46) will take place on 9 November.
The workshop will share information required by SDPs to implement the registered occupational qualification for grain depot managers and grain graders. The aspects covered will include the accreditation of SDPs, assessment, quality assurance and certification. Accreditation is valid for five years from the date on which the QCTO granted accreditation to the SDP, or until the SDP is de-accredited by the QCTO.
Agbiz Grain members are required to request their respective training providers and representatives in their respective human resources departments to attend. SDPs that are interested in attending can register with Annelien Collins at email@example.com. – Agbiz Grain