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08
Dec

2018 SOUTH AFRICAN MACADAMIA CROP FORECAST

The Southern African Macadamia Growers’ Association (SAMAC) recently conducted a crop forecast survey for the 2018 season. A figure of 56 000 tons of NIS (nut-in shell at 1.5% kernel moisture content) is estimated to be produced in 2018. This is still lower than the projected long term forecast of 57 600 tonnes in an industry that is expanding more rapidly than when the long term projections were made, although it should be noted that a more accurate forecast can only be made at the end of January. Although the final volume of the global 2017 macadamia crop will only be known in 2018, it is no secret that it was again a world record accompanied by record prices. “Despite the 2017 global crop being the largest ever recorded it is clear that the global demand has increased substantially. Consistency of supply has been a worrying aspect of the macadamia industry, so a significant increase in volume from the largest macadamia exporting nation, is what the market needs to satisfy this growing global demand and to continue to encourage new products with macadamias”, said Mr. Jens Borchert from Palm Nuts and More, a German-based macadamia importer and distributor.

 

The final 2017 crop volumes will also be made available in January, which it is anticipated to be slightly more than 42 000 tonnes NIS. Fifty two percent (52%) of the 2018 crop is expected to be produced in Mpumalanga, followed by Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal and other regions (Table 1).

 

Table 1. Expected 2018 macadamia crop forecast distribution by province.

ProvinceLimpopoMpumalangaKwaZulu-NatalEastern CapeWestern Cape
Precentage Contribution26%52%20%1%1%

A reduction in import tariffs for macadamias was announced in late November by the Chinese Government. The tariff was reduced from 19% to 12%. SAMAC has been working hard with various role players, especially in China to facilitate a lower import duty and many months of discussions have finally paid off. This will assist the industry to remain competitive in one of its most important export markets.

Fifty five percent (55%) of the crop is expected to be processed to kernel in 2018, which is more than the previous season. Mr Walter Giuricich, chairman of SAMAC says “The industry is well on the road to recovery after the recent drought and the 2018 season macadamia crop is looking promising. Many handlers are expanding their markets, which is a positive sign of a growing industry. The demand for macadamias remains high and we are confident that the expected higher volumes will encourage the market to further grow and develop.”

An updated forecast will be issued in January 2018.

 

 

Issued by the Southern African Macadamia Growers’ Association (SAMAC)
8 December 2017
Contact: Barry Christie
Tel: +27 73 084 1772
barry@subtrop.co.za
www.samac.org.za

 

07
Dec

Macadamia thieves get punished for their crimes

News Date: 04 November 2017

Written by: Isabel Venter

 

Four macadamia thieves appeared in the Louis Trichardt District Court this week where they were punished for their crimes.

Bushy Nedzamba Musiiwa (33), Always Nedzamba (43), Eric Makanise (42) and Jimmy Munyai (34) pleaded guilty to single counts of theft. They were caught red-handed while stealing a bakkie load full of macadamias from Mr Fritz Ahrens on 10 April this year.

According to Ahrens, the men (who were all in his employ at that stage) managed to switch off the security cameras in order for them to pick the nuts. They were caught leaving the farm with the bakkie.

In their plea explanation, which was read into the court record by their legal representative, the men did not give a reason as to why they had unlawfully taken a load of nuts. They did, however, offer an apology to Ahrens and asked the court not to hand down a sentence of direct imprisonment . The men stated that they, together with their families, had been punished enough in the months following their arrest since they lost their income.

“The complainant [Ahrens] has not suffered any financial loss … the goods were recovered in a good marketable condition,” said the four men.

State prosecutor Bethuel Makhado pointed out to the court, however, that the fact that the men were without employment and income was as a result of their own actions. “Did they work on the farm for free? No, they committed a serious offence. If this court does not give out stiffer sentences, we will not be rid of this cancer … day in and day out this court deals with the theft of avocadoes and macadamias,” said Makhado.

Makhado further pointed out that, taking into consideration that all four had been employed at the farm, they might have been at the head of an established syndicate.

The court took this into consideration and sentenced all four men to a fine of R10 000 or 18 months’ imprisonment, of which the fine was suspended to the amount of R5 000 or nine months wholly suspended for five years.

This in effect means that the men were slapped with a R5 000 fine each, which they were ordered to pay in instalments over the next three months. Their bail money, which they paid in the amount of R5 000 after their arrest, was also declared forfeited to the State.

 

Taken from: https://www.zoutnet.co.za/articles/news/44769/2017-11-04/macadamia-thieves-get-punished-for-their-crimes

06
Dec

China Cuts Import Tariffs on Dried Fruit and Nuts

Written on: November 26, 2017

Written by: Sevan Golnazarian

November 22, China’s Tariff Policy Commission of the State Council promulgated changes to 2017 tariff policies. According to the notice, effective December 1, import tariffs for some consumer goods will be reduced by implementing a provisional tax rate.

A total of 10 nuts and dried fruit are among those affected. This is the first major adjustment to tariff policy since the value-added tax on imported agricultural products was reduced to 11% in July.

Import tariffs on the Brazil nut, cashew, and pecan will fall to 7%—this includes dried, fresh, in-shell and no-shell goods. As for the macadamia nut, the tariff rate will drop from 19% to 12%. Almond and pistachio tariffs remain unchanged at 10% and 5% respectively.

With regard to dried fruit, duties on both dried coconut and avocado (dried and fresh) will be reduced to 7%. The import tariff rate on dried cranberries remains at 15%, however.

Overall, growing demand and upgraded consumption by Chinese consumers necessitates the reduction of tariff rates on agricultural goods. At the same time, tariff reductions for products, such as the macadamia nut and avocado, bring some primary supplier countries closer to the benefits enjoyed by nations with a free trade agreement with China.

Taken from: http://www.producereport.com/article/china-cuts-import-tariffs-dried-fruit-nuts

06
Dec

INC-Funded Study Reinforces that Nuts May Help Improve Endothelial Function

November 2017. Research and knowledge on the effects of nut consumption on human health has increased in recent years, suggesting that nut consumption may play a key role in the prevention of chronic diseases, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease (CVD), among others.

Some chronic diseases are accompanied by a state of low-grade of inflammation which influences the progression and development of the disease. Changes in this inflammatory state can be identified via inflammatory biomarkers, for example C-reactive protein. Endothelial dysfunction is associated with the development of cardiovascular disease. This recent systematic review and meta-analysis, published in BMJ Open journal, examined the effect of nut consumption on inflammatory biomarkers and endothelial function[i].

Thirty-six articles describing 32 studies were included in this review. In the studies, nuts were consumed in either prescribed doses (18 to 85g/day) or as a percentage of dietary energy, so that the amount of nuts provided to each subject was different.

The study found evidence for favorable effects on flow mediated dilation, a measure of endothelial function. These findings align with a review conducted by the European Food Safety Authority in 2011 to substantiate the health claim: “Walnuts contribute to the improvement of the elasticity of blood vessels”. There was however a lack of consistent evidence on inflammatory biomarkers.

The study concluded that including nuts within a healthy dietary pattern may have favorable effects on endothelial dysfunction, which is associated with cardiovascular disease.

“This research helps to identify the mechanisms by which nut consumption may contribute to reduced cardiovascular disease risk in the context of a heart healthy diet. It adds to the scientific evidence which is built upon with continued research,” said Prof. Linda Tapsell and her colleague, Dr. Elizabeth Neale at University of Wollongong (Australia), both Principal Investigators of this research.

This study was supported by the INC International Nut and Dried Fruit Council.

 

About the International Nut & Dried Fruit Council

INC members include more than 700 nut and dried fruit sector companies from over 70 countries. INC is the leading international organization regarding nuts and dried fruit health, nutrition, statistics, food safety, international standards and regulations.

 

 

[i] Neale EP, et al., 2017. The effect of nut consumption on markers of inflammation and endothelial function: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. BMJ Open.

 

17
Aug

Notice of Annual General Meeting 6 September 2017

Dear SAMAC member

 

It was recently brought to the attention of the SAMAC board that due to a legal technicality in the announcement of the General Meetings regarding the adoption of proposed Memorandum of Incorporation (MOI), voting on the MOI, SAMAC directors and the statutory levy will be postponed and no voting will take place this week.

 

Therefore only the SAMAC AGM will take place at the Sibaya Casino on Wednesday September 2017. The meetings scheduled for Levubu and Nelspruit on 7 & 8 September respectively have been cancelled.

 

The board will shortly send out a communication regarding the rescheduling of the voting on the three motions. In the interim the board has taken the opportunity to address some areas of dispute and we believe we have come up with solutions acceptable to all.

 

We apologise for any inconvenience caused but believe the long term benefits will be worth the delay.

 

Kind regards

 

SAMAC Board of Directors

 

14
Aug

Nasionale Minimumloon: Wie, waar, hoekom en hoe?

Nasionale Minimumloon: Wie, waar, hoekom en hoe?

Die Nasionale Minimumloon wetsontwerp, sowel as die NEDLAC ooreenkoms, blyk ‘n groot bron van kommer te wees in die landbousektor. Hierdie dokument lig die mees belangrike aspekte van beide uit:

1. Die teikendatum is 1 Mei 2018:

Die bogenoemde teikendatum word in die NEDLAC ooreenkoms uitgesit, en dit beteken dat die regering nasionale wetgewing tussen nou (Augustus 2017) en die teikendatum (1 Mei 2018) wil promulgeer en implementeer.

Gegewe dat die wetsontwerp waarskynlik hewig by NEDLAC gedebatteer gaan word en daarna nog deur parlementêre prosesse moet gaan voor goedkeuring, is die tydsraamwerk besonder kort. Tydens ‘n gesprekforum met die Departement van Arbeid op Vrydag 10 Augustus het dit duidelik geword dat die implementeringsdatum nie geskuif gaan word nie, maar ook nie sonder die nuwe wet ingebring kan word nie. Amptenare kon nie die teenstrydigheid aanspreek nie.

Nietemin sal Agri SA voortgaan om deel te neem aan die proses en seker maak dat die belange van die landbousektor beskerm word. Deur BUSA lewer Agri SA kommentaar op die wetsontwerp en word daar seker gemaak dat die wetsontwerp binne die bestaande arbeidswetgewing inpas. Verder vergader Agri SA Maandag met die CCMA om verhoudinge te verstewig. Die CCMA gaan die aangewese forum wees waar geskille oor minimumlone aangehoor word.

2. Die voorgestelde minimumloon is R20 per uur:

Die ooreenkoms vermeld twee uitsonderings: Huiswerkers kwalifiseer vir 75% van die minimumloon (R15 per uur), en werkers in die landbousektor vir 90% van die minimumloon (R18 per uur). Hierdie uitsondering is soortgelyk aan internasionale tendense, waar werkers in hierdie twee sektore normaalweg ‘n persentasie van die totale minimumloon betaal word, of heeltemal uit so ‘n ooreenkoms gelaat word.

In die Suid-Afrikaanse konteks, met ons hoë werkloosheidssyfer, bly die vraag of ons die werkloosheidskoers wil vererger, of meer mense toegang wil gee tot werk, teen laer betaling. Die regering sal nie hele sektore toelaat om nie die minimumloon te betaal nie, maar het besluit dat ‘n Nasionale Minimumloon Kommissie tot stand gebring moet word, wat spesifiek navorsing sal doen om die vlak van die minimumloon te bepaal, en ook metodes om die betaling van die minimumloon te beloon, sal ondersoek.

Die huidige minimuloon soos bepaal in die landbou sektorale vasstelling is R15.39 (Maart 2017 to Februarie 2018). In Maart 2018 sal dit verhoog na R15.39 + CPI (5.5% geskat) + 1% = R16.39 (Maart 2018 – Februarie 2019). Dit bring die minimumloon volgens sektorale vasstelling na R1.61 per uur minder as die Nasionale Minimumloon, wat op 1 Mei 2018 sal inskop.

Aftrekkings wat volgens die sektorale vasstellings toegelaat word (soos behuising), sal steeds toegelaat word. Die sektorale vasstellings sal voortaan as skedules aan die Wet op Basiese Diensvoorwaardes geheg word, eerder as aparte sektorale vasstellings soos nou die geval is.

Die Nasionale Minimumloon is van toepassing op die volgende kategorieë werkers:

  1. Voltydse werkers.
  2. Deeltydse werkers.

Die Nasionale minimumloon tref nie onderskeid wat gebied betref, soos die sektorale vasstellings soms doen nie.

Die Nasionale Minimumloon word aan werkers betaal vir ure gewerk, en sluit bonusse en ander voordele uit. Aftrekkings ingevolge artikel 34 van die Wet op Basiese Diensvoorwaardes word toegelaat, met die instemming van die werker.

Dit is belangrik om te onthou dat dit die werkgewer se verantwoordelikheid is om produktiwiteit te bestuur, en dat dit meer en meer belangrik gaan word om die produksie van werkers korrek te bestuur, soos arbeidskoste verhoog.

Die doelwit is om huiswerkers en werkers in die landbousektor binne twee jaar op dieselfde vlak te betaal as werkers in ander sektore. Dit sal onderhewig wees aan die navorsing wat deur die Nasionale Minimumloon Kommissie gedoen sal word.

3. Werksure sal vooraf vasgestel word:

Die huidige voorstel is dat ‘n werker vir ‘n minimum van 4 ure per dag vergoed word, ongeag hoe lank daar gewerk is.

4. Die Nasionale Minimumloon word slegs elke tweede jaar hersien:

Dit beteken dat die minimumloon eers weer in 2020 hersien sal word, en werkgewers het die diskresie om verhogings (al dan nie) in 2019 toe te staan.

5. Die Nasionale Minimumloon is onderhewig aan dieselfde kwytskelding (exemption) proses as die huidige sektorale vasstelings:

Volgens die huidige vasstellings mag werkgewers ingevolge artikel 50 van die Wet op Basiese Diensvoorwaardes aansoek doen vir kwytskelding. Dieselfde proses sal met die Nasionale Minimumloon gedoen word, maar die aansoeke moet binne 30 dae hanteer word. Indien ‘n werkgewer nie binne 30 dae terug hoor vanaf die Departement van Arbeid nie, mag die werkgewer aanneem dat die kwytskelding toegestaan is. Die proses sal ook elektronies hanteer word, baie soos SARS se e-filing stelsel.

6. Werkgewers mag nie diensvoorwaardes wysig as gevolg van die Nasionale Minimumloon nie:

Volgens die NEDLAC ooreenkoms sal geen werkgewer toegelaat word om eensydige veranderinge aan diensvoorwaardes soos werksure te maak as gevolg van die implementering van die Nasionale Minimumloon nie. Deur dit te doen sal ‘n werkgewer hom skuldig maak aan nie-nakoming (non-compliance), en/of ‘n onbillike arbeidspraktyk. Afleggings as gevolg van die implementering van die Nasionale Minimumloon kan werkgewers blootstel aan nie-nakoming of onbillike ontslag-sake. Die regering het aangedui dat werkgewers bygestaan sal word om die Nasionale Minimumloon aan werkers te kan betaal, en die bystandsmetode sal bepaal word deur die navorsing wat die Nasionale Minimumloon Kommissie sal moet doen.

7. Ten slotte:

‘n Minimumloon is nie ‘n vreemde konsep vir die landbousektor nie, siende dat die sektor se arbeidskoste alreeds sedert 2003 deur sektorale vasstellings bepaal word. Hierdie sektorale vasstellings word grootliks nagekom, veral in Gauteng en die Wes-Kaap, met die kwytskelding proses wat nog altyd ‘n opsie is vir werkgewers wat nie die minimumloon kan bekostig nie.
Agri SA moedig nakoming van die Nasionale Minimumloon aan, en sal elke geleentheid benut om die wetlike proses te beïnvloed om te verseker dat werkgewers in staat gestel sal word om werkers volgens die Nasionale Minimumloon te betaal, en sodoende groei en voorspoed in die landbousektor te verseker.

Jahni de Villiers
Hoof: Arbeid en Transformasie

14
Aug

National Minimum Wage: Who, where, why and how?

National Minimum Wage: Who, where, why and how?

The National Minimum Wage Bill, as well as the agreement signed at NEDLAC (hereafter the NEDLAC agreement) in February 2017, has been a source of concern within the agricultural sector. This document highlights the most important aspects of the agreement reached, as well as specific provisions in the draft Bill:

1. The target date is 1 May 2018:

In the NEDLAC agreement, a target date is set at 1 May 2018. This means that government wants national legislation, enforcing the national minimum wage, promulgated and implemented between now (July 2017) and the target date.

Given that the bill is currently at NEDLAC where it is foreseen that it will be robustly debated, and that it will still need to go through the parliamentary processes before it becomes law, this timeframe is extremely narrow. During a discussion forum with the Department of Labour on Friday 10 August 2017, it became apparent that the implementation date will not be moved, but that the minimum wage cannot be introduced without the new legislation. Officials could not clear up this contradiction.

However, Agri SA remains committed to participating in the process, and will make sure that the interests of the agricultural sector are served. Through BUSA, AgriSA can comment on the draft legislation, and ensure that it fits into the current employment legislation framework. Furthermore, Agri SA is meeting with the CCMA National Office on Monday 13 August to strengthen relations. The CCMA will be the forum where disputes regarding the minimum wage will be adjudicated.

2. The proposed minimum wage is R20 per hour:

The agreement stipulates two exceptions: Domestic workers qualify for 75% of the minimum wage (R15 per hour), and workers in the agricultural sector will be paid 90% of the minimum wage (R18 per hour) as from 1 May 2018. It is important to note that this dispensation is on track with international trends, where workers in these two sectors are often paid a percentage of the agreed minimum wage, or excluded in total.

In the South African context, with such a high unemployment rate, the critical question remains whether we want to exacerbate the unemployment challenge or whether we want to give more people the opportunity to be employed at lower wages. Government will not allow whole industries to opt out of paying the National Minimum Wage, but has resolved that a National Minimum Wage Commission will be created, with the view of providing research to support the level at which the National Minimum Wage is set as well as providing guidance on incentivising the payment of the National Minimum Wage.

The current hourly rate in terms of the sectoral determination is R15.39 (March 2017 to Feb 2018). In March 2018, this will increase to R15.39 + CPI (5.5% forecast) + 1% = R16.39 (March 2018 – Feb 2019). This brings the sectoral determination to R1.61 per hour less than the National Minimum Wage, which will be applicable as from 1 May 2018.

Deductions which are made in accordance with the sectoral determination, will still be allowed. The sectoral determinations will be attached as schedules to the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, instead of stand-alone determinations as they are now.

NMW is applicable to the following categories of workers:

  1. Fulltime employed workers.
  2. Casual workers.

The National Minimum Wage is not subject to the distinction between urban and non-urban areas, as is found in the current sectoral determinations.

The National Minimum Wage is calculated as money paid for hours worked, it excludes bonuses and other benefits. Deductions are allowed in accordance with section 34 of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, and must be agreed to by the employee.

It is important to remember that managing productivity is the responsibility of the employer, and it will become more important to manage productivity properly as the cost of labour increases.

The aim is to elevate both the domestic worker and agricultural sectors to be on par with the National Minimum Wage, within two years of implementation. This will be subject to research done by the National Minimum Wage Commission, which will be established in terms of the National Minimum Wage Act.

3. Minimum working hours will be determined:

The current proposal is that workers will be paid for 4 hours of work, regardless of how long they worked.

4. The National Minimum Wage will only be reviewed every second year:

This means that the minimum wage will only be reviewed in 202, and employers have the discretion to determine increases (if any) in 2019.

5. The National Minimum Wage will be subjected to the same exemption process as the current sectoral determinations:

Employers may, currently, apply for exemption from the sectoral determinations in terms of section 50 of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act. The same process will be followed for the National Minimum Wage, but with the added commitment that the turnaround time for exemption applications will be 30 days. If an employer has not heard whether an exemption has been granted within the 30-day time-frame, such an employer may deem the exemption as granted. The system used will resemble SARS’ e-filing system.

6. Employers will not be allowed to change conditions of service due to the National Minimum Wage:

According to the agreement reached at NEDLAC, no employer will be allowed to unilaterally adjust conditions of employment, such as working hours, because of the introduction of the National Minimum Wage. Doing this would constitute non-compliance, and/or an unfair labour practice. Retrenchments due to the inability to pay workers the National Minimum Wage, may also open employers to possible non-compliance, or unfair dismissals. Government has resolved to assist employers to reach payment of the National Minimum Wage, the method will depend on research done by the National Minimum Wage Commission.

7. In conclusion:

Minimum wages are not a foreign concept to the agricultural sector, as the sector has been subjected to sectoral determinations since 2003. These are largely complied with, especially in Gauteng and the Western Cape, with the exemption process being available to all employers who are unable to pay their workers in accordance with the sectoral determinations.
Agri SA encourages compliance with the National Minimum Wage, and will utilise every opportunity to influence the legislative process to enable employers to pay the National Minimum Wage, to ensure growth and prosperity in the agricultural sector.

Jahni de Villiers
Head: labour and Transformation

01
Aug

New study co-funded by INC reveals nut consumption is associated with reduced weight gain

July 2017. This recent study published in the European Journal of Nutrition investigated the association between nut intake and changes in body weight after 5 years of follow-up. Researchers also estimated the risks associated with overweight or obesity after higher nut consumption[i].

Nuts are energy-dense foods; they can provide 160-200kcal per serving (30g-a handful), so the concern that high nut consumption may lead to weight gain persists. For that reason, the present study aimed at analyzing if a frequent nut intake incorporated into a normocaloric, standard diet leads to weight gain.

373,293 participants were recruited between 1992 and 2000 from 10 European countries in the frame of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study. Body weight was measured at the beginning of the study and after a median follow-up of 5 years, and food consumption was assessed by country-specific validated food-frequency questionnaires. Results observed that those participants who consumed more nuts (more than one serving per week) gained less weight when compared to non-consumers. On the other hand, the frequency of nut consumption was associated with a 5% lower risk of becoming overweight or obese. Participants with a normal weight who consumed more nuts (6g/day) had a 5% lower risk of becoming overweight or obese compared with non-nut consumers. At the same time, overweight individuals at baseline also had a 5% lower risk of becoming obese.

The study concluded that a higher nut consumption was associated with less weight gain after 5 years and also a lower risk of overweight or obesity. Thus, these findings support dietary recommendations to increase nut intake and include them in our diet.

“This is the largest study ever conducted, showing that nuts are a non-fattening healthy food” said Dr. Joan Sabate, Professor of Nutrition at Loma Linda University and Senior Investigator of this research.

This study was supported by the INC International Nut and Dried Fruit Council.

 

About the International Nut & Dried Fruit Council

INC members include more than 700 nut and dried fruit sector companies from over 70 countries. INC is the leading international organization regarding nuts and dried fruit health, nutrition, statistics, food safety, international standards, and regulations.

[i] Freisling H, et al., 2017. Nut intake and 5-year changes in body weight and obesity risk in adults: results from the EPIC-PANACEA study. Eur J Nutr. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00394-017-1513-0

 

 

01
Aug

SIZA Guide to Law and Best Practice in Fire Safety on Farms

SIZA has complied a useful guide to the law and best practice in fire safety on farms.

 

GIDS TOT DIE WET EN BESTE PRAKTYK VIR BRANDVEILIGHEID OP PLASE IN SUID-AFRIKA

Fire-Safety-Guide-May-2017finalafrikaans

 

GUIDE TO THE LAW AND BEST PRACTICE IN FIRE SAFETY ON FARMS IN SOUTH AFRICA

Fire-Safety-Guide-May-2017finalenglish
26
Jul

Grootplaas Onderhoud – 25 Julie 2017 – Elsje Joubert

  • Elsje Joubert, waarnemende tegniese bestuurder van Subtrop, gesels oor die subtropiese vrugtebedryf en gee raad oor stinkbesies en makadamiaboerdery.

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