In my view

Huge pressure on logistics network expected hence the bumper harvest

As we started the New Year in 2021 the situation looked very serious particularly in KwaZulu-Natal with COVID-19 fatalities increasing daily. For many of us the deadly impact of Covid-19 and its new mutations regrettably is now only fully being appreciated.

There are a lot of unknowns as far as COVID-19 is concerned and no one can say with any certainty where this pandemic will lead or what the ultimate outcome will be even after a full rollout of the vaccines. It is this uncertainty and climate of fear of the unknown that all of us must now come to terms with and this certainly has not made doing business in South Africa any easier.

On the economic front when COVID-19 struck in early 2020 the International Rating Agencies had all downgraded South Africa to ‘junk status’. This also came on the back of power outages, rising unemployment, political uncertainty within the ruling party, the revelation and/or confirmation of widespread corruption particularly in the SOE’s and resulting from state capture. The COVID-19 lockdown inevitably worsened an already weakened economic outlook for South Africa.

Capacity, productivity and congestion at our main ports will remain a constraint during the import/export season at hand. The sustained and sometimes lethal attacks on trucks between Durban and Johannesburg and ongoing rail inefficiencies in the grain industry continue to erode confidence in the logistics sector. With a bumper maize and wheat crop in the pipeline, our logistics network will be under huge pressure over the next 6 to 8 months.

Commercial maize: The revised area estimate for maize is 2 750 900 ha, which is 5,37% or 140 100 ha more than the 2 610 800 ha planted for the previous season, and 0,92% or 25 600 ha less than the preliminary area estimate of 2 776 500 ha released in January 2021 as per the Crop Estimates Committee.


Wheat: The expected production of wheat remained at 2,109 mill. tons, whilst the expected yield is 4,14 t/ha. This is the largest expected wheat crop since the 2,130 mill. tons of the 2008 season as per the Crop Estimates Committee.

Social and political tensions have inevitably heightened during 2020 and will probably remain high during 2021. While grain crop outputs have been exceptionally good and are anticipated to continue into the 2021 season, households’ food security conditions have worsened due to widespread job losses. Statistics indicate a year-on-year decrease in employment and the new proposed minimum wages for domestic and farmworkers will continue to have a significant financial impact.

In closing, it has been a very challenging time both domestically and internationally. Huge changes are happening all over the world, namely a wealth imbalance, climate change, food security, and the way in which we conduct business and interact with one another – not the least of which is remote learning, communication and work. None of us can predict where this will all end up but people will inevitably learn how to adapt to changing conditions.

For those involved in the food and allied industries we are proud to have contributed to the maintenance and improvement of the agricultural base in South Africa and remain committed to ensuring the success of our mission going forward no matter what challenges we may encounter and overcome.

We can only hope and pray for strong and committed leadership in South Africa and a steady hand at the helm to guide us together through these unchartered waters.

Lukas Swarts
BOARD MEMBER

Mobile: 082 444 3227
Email: lukas@ensignship.com

Lukas Swarts

Mobile: 082 444 3227
Email: lukas@ensignship.com

To all friends and members in the grain industry…

What a year 2020 has been! It was filled with challenges, hiccups and lockdowns! But, like the resilient industry we are, we managed the difficulties and here we are at the beginning of 2021. Whatever problems await us in the future, we’ll work out solutions as we go along – provided we do what we always do: supporting each other like family should.

GOSA is proud that, despite the circumstances, the grain industry successfully handled the second biggest maize crop ever during the previous season. It was also the biggest wheat crop in 18 years! Barley and canola followed suit by surpassing all previous records. We salute our farming community and the members of GOSA for proving, once again, that perseverance and faith will sustain us in even the most difficult of times. The ravages of COVID-19 were not enough to dampen our spirit.

The export of grain proceeded despite the pandemic and 636 000 tonnes of white maize were exported to Zimbabwe and Mozambique. Taiwan and Vietnam received 1,2 million tonnes of our yellow maize. The GOSA family’s contribution to these achievements was indispensable, and we are proud to play our part in alleviating hunger on a world-wide scale.

It is a fallacy to imagine that our lives will become happier and richer as we acquire more and more money and possessions. It simply isn’t true. We are involved in agriculture because we strive to meet the needs of others. Our prosperity is not defined by what we own, but by what we provide to households big and small. It is the knowledge that we play a pivotal role in society that keeps us motivated to do what we do best. GOSA remains committed to this philosophy.

COVID-19 continues to be a challenge in 2021. With new variants contributing to the current atmosphere of uncertainty, our planned simposium in March may be in jeopardy. We await further developments and government statements which will have an influence on our decisions regarding our next get-together. We all know how difficult it is to plan ahead in these times.

Alternatives to the customary congress must be considered. The GOSA management meets towards the end of January to discuss various scenarios. We have already started planning to host virtual workshops with various topics applicable to our industry.

Please visit our webpage to stay abreast with the latest news as well as our planned virtual workshops. We sincerely hope to gather as one big family as soon as Covid allows us to do so.

In closing, I don’t just want to thank everybody for their loyalty and support, like we usually did in the past. This year I want to add the wish that you will all be safe, healthy and observe the protocols to contain the spread of the pandemic. May 2021 add to your happiness and joy as we continue to strive to be providers to the nations.

Hein Rehr
GOSA President

Mobile: 082 451 1569
Email: hein@natfum.co.za

Hein Rehr
PRESIDENT
Mobile: 082 451 1569
Email: hein@natfum.co.za

Take account of 2020 and live the change in 2021

Good day to all from a very hot Johannesburg. Can you believe that the year 2020 is rushing towards an end? We have seen a year full of trials and tribulations.

We are also amidst the amazing harvest being taken off the fields in the Western Cape and summer crops being planted at the moment up north. At this stage we have received some wide spread rainfall to get all the farmers excited and hopeful to conclude a successful planting season. The eastern regions have had a good month of planting thus far with the end of their planting window coming closer. The North West and central Free State have had a few fast and furious storms to get their planting season only going now.

GOSA wishes to congratulate the industry on staying steadfast throughout this year, handling a huge harvest, facilitating new business and initiatives in very challenging times. This is also the time of year to look back and be thankful – thankful for being safe in a pandemic, thankful for provision, thankful for opportunities to grow in business and in relationships.

It is our special wish to you, our members, associated industries and role-players to come together in unity for our cause to enhance knowledge, know-how and opportunities inside the GOSA platform. With this unity in mind we can face 2021 and whatever it may bring. At GOSA the door is open for discussion, growth and interaction to create the needed relationships.

With relationships come joyful times, hard work and also sad times. It is especially sad when GOSA have to say goodbye to members who left such deep footprints in the industry. A special word of gratitude goes out to the late Mike Thompson and late Chris Pretorius. Thank you for so many years of being GOSA ambassadors with endless knowledge in field, application and time forged relationships. We will miss you.

As we go into this festive season, may we take account of 2020 and live the change in 2021. GOSA wishes all a Blessed Christmas full of love and time with the family. Please be safe and mindful of the pandemic and the frustrations it brings. This too shall pass; like all the others did.

Looking at 2021, we are marching on in planning another great GOSA Annual Symposium in Mossel Bay. Please take note of published symposium related updates.

GOSA regards

Ferdinand Meyer
Board member

Mobile: 083 293 0336
Email: ferdi@roninsolutions.co.za

Ferdinand Meyer

Mobile: 083 293 0336
Email: ferdi@thisisronin.com

We work in an incredible industry

What a great privilege it is to me to write to you on the eve of probably one of the most beautiful crops that I have seen here in the Overberg in 23 years. A lot can still happen before the combine harvesters are sent into the fields, but the potential can be even better than that of our biggest crop in 2016.

This is just further proof of the incredible industry in which we work every year. Just 12 months ago the southern Cape harvested one of the smallest and most difficult crops – which put our producers and companies under great financial pressure. Our dam levels were below 20% and the Cape barely escaped Day Zero.

Now, a year later, our biggest dam, the Theewaterskloof Dam, is overflowing! Everything by the grace of God.

The harvest prospects for the southern Cape in these favourable climate conditions are above average, and average to above average in the Swartland. The average wheat and barley prices are R400/ton higher than in 2019. This has a positive effect on farm profitability, and also on the economy of the two regions.

Over the past year we have also faced one of our biggest challenges with the advent of the bizarre Covid-19 virus. Everything we were used to was suddenly turned on its head. Businesses and doing business have changed for ever, and everyone had to adapt to a new normal.

However, we can take a few positives from Covid-19 too. People realised what is really important, and family time has once more become something everyone can enjoy. Even in business we had to go back to the basics again.

Well, with the promising crop in the Cape and at Level 1 of the Covid-19 lockdown, I can just thank the Heavenly Father for his rich blessings.

GOSA Cape experienced a quiet year and we definitely missed the annual workshop. However, our committee is working hard on the next workshop – which we hope to present next year.

Everyone in the Cape should enjoy the harvest. We believe everything will go well.

George du Plessis
President GOSA Cape

Cell phone: 082 924 8755
Email: gduplessis@overbergagri.co.za

George du Plessis
PRESIDENT
Mobile: 082 924 8755
Email: gduplessis@overbergagri.co.za

Enjoy the familiar; and welcome change

At midnight on 21 September this year South Africa moved down to Level 1 of the Covid-19 lockdown. What a relief that was to all of us!

Going hand in hand with the so-called new normal, it was clear the people were excited about taking such a small step in the direction of the familiar. Everyone is once again fully enjoying the freedom and the camaraderie at social gatherings. Every possible opportunity to break away is grabbed with both hands and we enjoy the personal interaction with old friends and also relatives.

Just like we underwent constant change during the Covid-19 pandemic, we are now at the beginning of a new season, which entails change. The past winter is regarded to have been one of the coldest yet, with the lowest temperatures in eight years measured in certain areas. The prospect of summer makes us all excited … not only are we moving with the changes brought by the pandemic, but it is also the start of a new season in the summer rainfall area.

The current indications are that we can look forward to a La Niña season. Favourable rains and even possibly above-average rainfall in the biggest part of the summer-grain area are expected. After the good rainfall in the past season in the winter rainfall areas, every person involved in the grain industry cannot but be very excited about the season ahead.

We have a lot to be grateful for. Not only are we at Level 1 of the pandemic in our country, but we believe and trust that a blessed year awaits us. One thing is certain – in the course of time change will definitely also come. The wonderful part of this is our adaptability to change. So, enjoy the familiar and welcome change – it can quite probably add value to our lives.

Regards to everyone and enjoy the change!

Stefan van Staden
Council member: GOSA

Cell phone: 083 301 0262
Email: stefan.vanstaden@afgri.co.za

Stefan van Staden

Mobile: 083 301 0262
Email: Stefan.VanStaden@afgri.co.za

Be prepared for the new way of doing things

It is encouraging that we have effectively been on Level 2 of lockdown since 18 August this year. The country has been suffering under the impact of COVID-19 for more than five months. Many decisions were made and proclaimed by the government and we can argue for hours about whether they were the right or the wrong decisions. The fact is that this pandemic was not familiar to us and nobody could really predict what its impact would be.

As far as health is concerned, many people have been directly affected – or indirectly, through loved ones who contracted COVID-19. Our hearts go out to everyone who lost loved ones during this time.

So, how was the grain industry affected? We are privileged and blessed that we are currently harvesting the second biggest grain harvest in the history of South Africa. This crop was planted before COVID-19 appeared on our doorsteps. Good rainfall at the right time and favourable agricultural conditions contributed to the current harvest. Prices are also currently still higher than one would expect with such a good harvest and we are glad that producers can benefit from this. Agriculture is contributing to the country’s economy to a great extent at present.

Except in isolated cases – and grain storage and milling facilities that had to close down for brief periods – the industry was relatively free from a material impact by COVID-19. Consumption did drop due to lower levels of consumer spending, and this impact will still be felt for the next year or two.

However, it is an indisputable fact that the world will never be exactly the same as before COVID-19. There is a new way of doing things, and the pandemic will lead to even more new trends, working methods and changes.

To us in the grain industry it remains important to be properly prepared for the new trends and working methods. How will our industry change? How do we prepare ourselves?

Time will tell, but we must be ready.

Marco Pretorius
Board Member and Treasurer: GOSA

Cell phone: 082 924 6222
Email: marco.pretorius@afgri.co.za

Marco Pretorius
TREASURER
Mobile: 082 924 6222
Email: marco.pretorius@afgri.co.za

You are in the right industry

Wow, we are experiencing interesting, exciting times! What is your five-year plan? What do your resolutions for the new year look like? What does this year’s budget look like? The new normal these days is Zoom and Teams …

I do not think one of the answers I would have written down next to each of the above questions in January 2020 still applies today. There is also a saying that one should never waste a good crisis.

So far the grain industry as a whole has experienced fewer of the economic restrictions that the Covid-19 pandemic has caused for the greater economy.

Results of a survey by World-grain.com in May 2020 revealed that the grain industry experienced both positive and negative repercussions during the period of the pandemic. The biggest negative effect was the reduction in the products and the stability of the workforce in this highly specialised field.

According to the research, the biggest positive experience was a growth in small, unprocessed packaging for food-aid schemes. The manufacturing of packaging material by smaller suppliers with few employees, as well as smaller distributors who could operate locally, had the most positive effect on that side. The retail industry therefore to a great extent compensated for the contraction at wholesale level.

Stay safe and wash your hands. You are in the right industry!

Source: Word-grain.com

Johan van Rensburg
Vice President

Cell phone: 087 358 8882
Email: johan.vanrensburg@vkb.co.za

Johan van Rensburg
VICE PRESIDENT
Mobile: 087 358 8882
Email: johan.vanrensburg@vkb.co.za

Moving the nation forward with CCC

Many years ago, my daughters and I were driving from Cape Town to Mossel Bay. We just moved from Gauteng, where GP appeared on the registration plates of most vehicles. As this is not the case in the Western Cape, it quickly became a regular road trip tradition among the two, as they would try to match each registration with the town to which it belongs. The longer we drove, the better they would get.

As we drove into the beautiful small town of Riversdale, home of the sleeping beauty, my daughters noticed the CCC registration plates, and immediately matched it to its rightful owner. I was impressed with them, but not so much with the small, quiet town that I later suggested we should rather refer to as “REVERSE-dale”. A town that upon first impression seemed completely abandoned and left behind at the time.

About a week ago, I was driving to Cape Town for the first time in a long time. As I drove through Riversdale, my mind wandered back to that particular conversation with my daughters, and I got to thinking. What does the CCC registration stand for in the greater South Africa today? Covid, Crime, Corruption? Or maybe: Crisis, Carnage, Chaos? All of these, words referring to a reverse and not a forward action. Words that most probably makes us as a nation feel just as abandoned and left behind as I thought “Reverse-dale” was.

This is no longer the case. Over the years, as I got to spend more time there, I’ve gotten to know this small town as a hidden gem, with kind-hearted people and a lot of potential.

Given some time, we too might realise that with Cooperation, Contribution and Confidence in Christ, CCC can just as well represent Change, Character and Courage. And that together, we can change the fate of our nation and move it forward!

Tom Terblanche
BOARD MEMBER
Mobile: 082 891 1656
Email: tom@graincarriers.co.za

Tom Terblanche

Mobile: 082 891 1656
Email: tom@graincarriers.co.za

Uncertain times often also offer opportunities

Today I would really have liked to look back on the GOSA Symposium that was to have taken place in March 2020, but Covid-19 and the panic around it brought the country and many industries to a standstill. We as South Africans never thought a day would come when we had to greet each other through masks and would not be allowed to shake hands, braai together and talk about sport, the weather and politics – and not be allowed to visit our parents, children and other loved ones.

Over the past 20 years we have already experienced so much that – according to the experts– could have meant the end of the world: Y2K, anthrax and viruses like SARS, E. coli, bird flu, Ebola, and now Covid-19 are only a few examples. One thing is certain: uncertain times often also offer opportunities.

As an organisation that serves agriculture, GOSA, like most industries in the sector, is grateful that we could continue placing food on the tables of millions of people in challenging times. During the lockdown the harvest commenced, producing one of the biggest maize crops ever. Thank you to every role player who went out of their way to make this possible under very difficult conditions.

Every role player had to think differently and make adjustments to comply with legislation in terms of Covid-19. New opportunities and new schools of thought can and will change the grain industry permanently. Things we took for granted in the past should bring new challenges in the future.

All the best and peace to all during this period.

Lukas Swarts
BOARD MEMBER

Mobile: 082 444 3227
Email: lukas@ensignship.com

Lukas Swarts

Mobile: 082 444 3227
Email: lukas@ensignship.com

We have a long way to go…

It is a special privilege for me to communicate in this manner with the members, interested parties and all the friends of GOSA.

GOSA’s new board was elected recently. It is an even greater privilege to talk to you as your newly elected president. Filling the shoes of our retiring president, Annatjie Loio, will not be an easy task, but you can rest assured that the board and I will give only our best.

Requests were received from the grain industry to investigate the possibility of GOSA and Agbiz Grain merging and forming one body. Prof Johan Willemse was appointed to investigate the possibility. Talks were held with agribusinesses, role-players in the industry, members of GOSA and Agbiz Grain. After discussions had been completed, the two boards met and the possibility was discussed and explored further.

During the discussions the following was agreed upon:

  • The mandates of the two organisations differ significantly and it will be very difficult to form one organisation at this stage.
  • All parties agreed that better co-operation and co-ordination are required in the future to optimise scarce manpower and costs.
  • Joint workshops et cetera will be held to eliminate duplication.
  • The chairperson of Agbiz Grain and I will meet as soon as possible to get this going and implement it.

The lingering drought of the past three years and uncertainty about expropriation without compensation place enormous pressure on all institutions within the value chain of agriculture. Our members have to make difficult decisions every day about where and how to save money.

I am of the opinion that agriculture in South Africa must make its own decisions about the future and should not wait for politicians to do this on their behalf. The government of the day apparently is not particularly interested in the farmer out on the farm. There are 57,5 million people who have to eat, therefore food security remains the buzzword. The maize crop currently being harvested, together with the carryover stock from the previous season, will be sufficient to feed the country.

With everything taken into account it is important for GOSA to also play its role in the value chain. The organisation’s main aim is to create an environment within which the handling, storage, marketing, financing, distribution, transport and processing industries in the grain industry can play their role effectively. GOSA is part of the agricultural family and co-operation in any area can only be to the benefit of the family.

In conclusion I would like to express my sincere appreciation and gratitude towards everybody who supports GOSA so loyally. We have a long way to go, but I believe that the GOSA board and I will make it the perfect organisation of choice for you.

Finally, I want to thank our Heavenly Father who makes it possible for us to serve an organisation like GOSA.

Greetings

Hein Rehr
PRESIDENT

Hein Rehr
PRESIDENT
Mobile: 082 451 1569
Email: hein@natfum.co.za
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