SA Canegrowers and Kwanalu celebrate Women in Agriculture this August

SA Canegrowers and Kwanalu celebrate Women in Agriculture this August


With Women’s month approaching, the KwaZulu-Natal Agricultural Union, Kwanalu, is launching a campaign to celebrate the contributions and roles of women in the sector, with the intention of creating a valuable network of women to connect, collaborate and inspire one another.

“Women and the agricultural sector are not synonymous, but the truth is that there are so many women involved in the industry besides for female farmers; including leading businesses, working in offices, in the field and on the road, as well as working indirectly within the farming sector in companies that are linked to the agricultural sector,” says Kwanalu CEO, Sandy La Marque.

The campaign will feature all women and their roles within the sector throughout August – from the small-scale grower to the CEO’s of agri-related businesses and institutions.

“As mothers, daughters, sisters, wives and aunts, women are often the backbone of support for the family – ensuring that there is food on the table and driving the successes of loved ones. On top of that, if they aren’t running their own business operations, they are often involved in many of the daily tasks that keep a farm, and the sector as a whole, supported,” says La Marque.

On Monday, 31 August, Kwanalu will host a Women in Agriculture Webinar, in partnership with SA Canegrowers, that will feature an all-female line-up of inspirational speakers who will share their tools for agri-business success, their experiences, how they overcame challenges in the industry and the art of juggling many hats as a woman.

Kwanalu calls on all women involved in the sector to join a welcoming network that aims to bring together like-minded women to connect, collaborate and inspire whilst gleaning on the experiences of others.

“It’s time that we recognise the contribution of women in the sector and, together, assist and inspire each other in our everyday challenges. It’s a chance to meet new friends, find new business and learn from one another in a safe space without judgement,” says La Marque.

Become part of the Women in Agriculture network or nominate someone you think may benefit from it, and find out more about the Women in Agriculture Webinar on 31 August. For further information on women in agriculture, farming in KZN and Kwanalu visit the website



Based in Durban, KZN, South Africa, Greenbelt Projects is an environmental consultancy providing all-inclusive environmental management services with a practice of excellence, integrity and innovation in environmental management, which facilitates the implementation of sustainable projects for our clients. Through our involvement from project inception, construction phase through to operational phase, our approach balances the needs of the environment and development objectives within the various regulatory frameworks.

Key Services

Environmental Screening

Environmental Feasibility and Due Diligence

Basic Assessments

Environmental Impact Assessment

Water Use Licence Applications

Environmental Management Plans and Programmes

Environmental Control Officer and Monitoring Services

Waste Management Licence Application

Atmospheric Emissions Licence Applications

Strategic Environmental Assessments

Environmental Management Frameworks

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and mapping

Alien Invasive Plant Management and Monitoring Plans

Rehabilitation Plans

Project Management


Director and Principal Environmental Consultant, Steven Whitaker,  has obtained an undergraduate BSc degree in Geography and Environmental Management, and a postgraduate BSc Honours degree in Environmental Management, certificates in ESRI Geographic Information Systems (mapping) and extensive Environmental Impact Assessment training. Steven has gained over 13 years of work experience in the environmental industry and has successfully completed and managed a variety of environmental management related projects. Well versed in Environmental Impact Assessments, Basic Assessments, Water Use Licencing, Environmental Monitoring, Waste Management, Mining Industry Applications, Environmental Management Programmes and Geographic Information Systems (mapping), Steven has built up a sound working knowledge in the environmental field and respective regulatory frameworks. Steven prescribes to the International Association for Impact Assessment South Africa (IAIAsa).

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Cell: 071 140 8350


China punishes Australia for promoting an inquiry into covid-19

China punishes Australia for promoting an inquiry into covid-19

Crushing tariffs on barley follow a ban on certain beef imports

May 21st 2020

China’s ambassador to Australia, Cheng Jingye, recently warned Australia it was treading a “dangerous” path by pressing for an independent inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus (one that might reveal China doing more to suppress information about early infections than to quash the outbreak itself). If relations between the two countries soured, Mr Cheng threatened, Chinese tourists might have “second thoughts” about holidaying Down Under. Families might wonder whether Australia really was the “best place to send their kids” to study. Ordinary Chinese might no longer want to “drink Australian wine, eat Australian beef”.

In the event, China this week agreed to an inquiry, in the face of international pressure at the World Health Organisation’s annual assembly (held online). But it did so after slapping tariffs of over 80% on Australian barley on May 18th, having already banned beef from Australia’s four biggest abattoirs on May 12th.

The abattoir ban blocks perhaps 35% of Australia’s exports of beef to China. Karen Penfold, whose family is among the exporters affected, says it has been scrambling to find other buyers for its prime steak. Barley growers, based mostly in Australia’s west, send at least half, or A$600m ($393m), of their annual exports to China, where the grain is used as animal feed and to make beer. Farmers reckon the new tariffs will all but kill the trade.

China has not directly linked its measures to displeasure with Australia. It claims to be worried about labelling and sanitary standards when it comes to the beef. The barley tariffs are the culmination of an 18-month investigation into hidden subsidies. Moreover, Australia has itself imposed anti-dumping measures on 17 Chinese exports, including office printing paper and stainless steel sinks. Some of Australia’s trade complaints “have long stretched credibility”, says Gareth Evans, a former foreign minister.

Yet there is little doubt that China’s moves are in retaliation for criticism of the way it handled the pandemic. “This is clearly a case of political coercion,” says Peter Jennings of the (hawkish) Australian Strategic Policy Institute, a think-tank in Canberra. China has long resented Australia’s suspicious politicians, who have legislated to stop China meddling in Australian democracy and were quick to bar Huawei, a Chinese telecoms giant, from building 5g networks in Australia on security grounds. Australia has objected to China’s increasing aggression in the disputed South China Sea, and criticised the internment of over 1m Muslim Uighurs in China’s far west. Richard McGregor of the Lowy Institute, a think-tank in Sydney, says China sees Australia as stirring hostile sentiment by “going around the world and warning other countries about China’s misbehaviour”. Mr Cheng accuses the Australian government, under Scott Morrison, the prime minister, of following instructions from President Donald Trump to “launch a political campaign against China”.

The products caught up in the spat represent only a tiny sliver of Australian exports to China, which amounted to A$153bn (7.7% of gdp) last year. The biggest earners include coal, gas, iron ore, tourism and education. But the latter two are likely to shrink rapidly as fewer people venture abroad because of the pandemic. What is more, the huge scale of trade gives China ample opportunity to inflict further harm. Australia exports more to it than to its five next biggest markets combined.

Bloomberg, a news agency, reports that the Chinese government is considering submitting other choice Australian products, including seafood, dairy and wines, to new quality checks and anti-dumping reviews. Obscure changes to rules about iron ore are causing alarm. This highlights Australia’s conundrum: it has no consistent China policy. For years it has been happy to sell stuff into what Mr Jennings calls an “easy market”. But it also wants to continue to air ideological and geopolitical grievances. As a result, China has it over a few million barrels of full-bodied Shiraz.

Courtesy: The Economist

Land Bank holds out begging bowl to government – Business Maverick today

Land Bank holds out begging bowl to government – Business Maverick today

The Land Bank has become another basket case state-owned entity (SOE) facing a smothering cash-crunch — and it is eyeing SA’s deteriorating public finances for emergency assistance. 

The SOE that extends loans to emerging and established farmers wants financial help from the government and existing lenders after it defaulted on some of its debt payment obligations.

That the Land Bank defaulted on the obligations to lenders of about R738-million, which matures before the end of April 2020, means that the SOE is facing serious cash-flow issues and cannot continue with its mandate of disbursing loans to farmers on a large scale. 

The Land Bank, which estimates that it provides 28% of SA’s agricultural debt, has decided to make “limited” loan disbursements to the sector.

The bank had total assets amounting to R52.4-billion during its 2019 financial year, of which R44.5-billion comprised loans to farmers. Beyond lending, the Land Bank also provides insurance cover to farmers from risks such as natural disasters, fire, flooding and theft. 

But the default on its debt obligations to unnamed lenders is a blow to the bank, which recently hired Ayanda Kanana as permanent CEO in February 2020 to stabilise an entity that doesn’t enjoy unfettered financial support from the government, unlike SAA and Eskom.

In January, the Land Bank was downgraded to junk status by Moody’s Investors Service, with the credit rating agency saying the bank has a declining quality of assets, as seen in the rise of its soured loans, which made the bank’s profile riskier than the general banking sector. The value of loan impairments (money that may never be collected from borrowers) reached R324.7-million in 2019, a nearly six-fold increase from R55.5-million in 2018. 

The bank asks for help 

The Land Bank says the Moody’s downgrade was the straw that broke its back. Now the Land Bank has asked for help from its lenders, including multilateral development finance institutions such as the World Bank and African Development Bank. 

“[The] Land Bank is engaging with its funders to request for a debt standstill and deferral of settlements for a predetermined period to enable the bank to develop a business plan, restructure its balance sheet and negotiate a restructuring of its liabilities with funders,” the bank told Business Maverick on Tuesday 28 April.

The bank wants to raise up to R5-billion from lenders to meet its medium-term liquidity requirements, including an agreement for lenders to defer interest on their due debt.

“There is a general willingness by all parties to find solutions for the restoration of liquidity and sustainability of the bank.”

But before lenders agree to throw a lifeline to the Land Bank, some want the government to first make an undertaking to financially assist the bank.

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni is open to this, saying at a press conference on Friday 24 April:

“The Land Bank has come under severe stress… It is in trouble and our responsibility is to support the Land Bank.” 

The support may come in the form of government guarantees that the Land Bank can use to solicit further funding from lenders. A guarantee is an agreement that the government or the fiscus would pay the Land Bank’s debt if it defaults on payments. In February, the National Treasury provided the Land Bank with government guarantees of R5.7-billion, but has only used R1.4-billion. The bank says it has requested further guarantees to support its fundraising efforts.

Land Bank’s debt instruments 

The Land Bank has defaulted on two domestic medium-term note (DMTN) programmes that were launched in 2010 and 2017. The programmes are debt instruments used by a company – at its discretion – to fund operational activities. To raise money in the open market, a company would issue debt or notes to lenders with a promise of paying back the money with a fixed and floating interest rate at a later stage. 

For its 2019 financial year, the Land Bank had outstanding debt or notes amounting to R13.4-billion under its DMTN programme. The default of some of the debt under the programme, which has occurred, can prompt all lenders to ask the Land Bank to immediately pay back all outstanding amounts (R13.4-billion). 

It’s unclear if all outstanding amounts under its DMTN programme are guaranteed by the government, which will be forced to pay lenders R13.4-billion if the Land Bank defaults on all outstanding debt. Asked if the DMTN programme is backed by government guarantees, the bank says:

“We prefer not to publicly share this information at this time of the bank’s engagements with funders.”

Lenders could also opt to liquidate the Land Bank, which would spark a fire sale of the SOE’s assets, to recoup the money they are owed. The Land Bank confirmed to Business Maverick that not all noteholders (lenders) demanded the repayment of the money they are owed. BM

Image: Business Maverick

Article: Ray Mahlaka


Field visit confirms near extinction of the world’s rarest macadamia from Aussie bushfires

Field visit confirms near extinction of the world’s rarest macadamia from Aussie bushfires

A group of dedicated enthusiasts braved the fire ravaged landscape in central Queensland’s remote Bulburin rainforest on April 14 for the first time since the disaster to see how Macadamia jansenii, a species as rare as the country’s Wollemi Pine, had fared.

Field naturalist and retired sugarcane farmer, Keith Sarnadsky who was a member of the team allowed to inspect the fire damage for the first time after roads into the park were cleared of fallen trees said almost all of the small Mj trees touched by fire appeared to be dead.

Some of the larger plants may have died due to their own stump burning, but some now have suckers appearing. Most of the dead plants didn’t appear to have had extremely hot fire around them,” Sarnadsky said.
The discovery of about 150 trees in 2018 had trebled the known population of Macadamia jansenii, or the “Mj”, a species first recognised by the modern scientific community in 1992. Sarnadsky who found the new trees over several expeditions in the spring of 2018, was also on the 1983 expedition when cane farmer Ray Jansen initially discovered the Macadamia jansenii species, the first new macadamia in 120 years.

Denise Bond, executive officer of MCT, said until FAME (the Foundation for Australia’s Most Endangered Species) funded any further searches for Macadamia jansenii in 2018, it was not even known that the new trees existed.
“We were thrilled when Keith discovered these new trees to add to the tiny original population of 60 individuals, but that same year wildfire came within 10km of the habitat, and now our fears have been realised with the December 2019 fires burning at least a third of the new trees,” Bond said.
“We hoped they were safe, nestled in sub-tropical rainforest, but we have been proved wrong. Luckily, we have a small but dedicated team of traditional owners, the Gidarjil Rangers, amateur and professional botanists, researchers and park rangers who are passionate about protecting this endangered macadamia and the subtropical rainforest that sustains it. We’re applying for funding to increase fire and weed management across the Bulburin landscape.”
Ian McConachie, an MCT founding member, said as the Mj grows in an area that is much hotter than the commercial macadamias, it is likely to have genes that will be used in the future to mitigate the effects of global warming.
Leaf samples taken from the newly discovered Mj are currently being analysed to see how the genetic diversity of the population is distributed across its habitat. The 43 original trees have meanwhile been cloned, with new trees being grown in botanic gardens across Australia as part of an “insurance population”.
MCT aims to learn more about the ecology and genetics of Macadamia jansenii and preserve its genetic diversity in ex-situ plantings as well as increasing the range of its current habitat, particularly in anticipation of the impacts of climate change.
The Australian non-profit is the world’s only charity devoted to conserving macadamias.

Caption: New life brings hope after fires burn rare macadamias   Image credit: Keith Sarnadsky

bauma CONEXPO AFRICA 2021: concept re-engineered

bauma CONEXPO AFRICA 2021: concept re-engineered

bauma CONEXPO AFRICA 2021: concept re-engineered

Africa’s key construction machinery trade show revamped with new opportunities for industry

bauma CONEXPO AFRICA, Sub Saharan Africa’s Leading Trade Fair for Construction, Building Material, Mining, Agriculture & Forestry Machines, Machinery and Vehicles will be back in South Africa in 2021 with a new look and an expanded focus, to deliver enhanced cross-sector growth opportunities in sub-Saharan Africa.

Already the premier trade show for construction and mining machinery, bauma CONEXPO AFRICA will now also feature agricultural and forestry equipment and machinery. This will give government bodies, developers, contractors, industry associations, financiers and other sector stakeholders a one-stop overview of the latest services and solutions available across the infrastructure development, construction, forestry and agriculture value chain.

bauma CONEXPO AFRICA is one of Messe München’s six international bauma events, and is modelled on bauma in Munich, in collaboration with AEM, organizer of CONEXPO-CON/AGG. bauma is described as the ultimate trade fair in the industry, attracting over 620,000 international visitors while CONEXPO-CON/AGG is the leading industry exhibition in the North American market. As a gateway for international companies to the African market and for African enterprises to the global market, bauma CONEXPO AFRICA attracted around 15,000 high-level visitors and exhibitors in 2018 and expects these numbers to increase significantly in 2021.

Addressing Africa’s industry challenges

“Africa’s construction and infrastructure development sectors are facing economic challenges at the moment; therefore we have engaged industry leaders to discuss ways in which bauma CONEXPO AFRICA could more effectively support industry growth. As a result of their input, we have re-engineered this key event to foster greater cross-border collaboration and highlight business growth opportunities, and we will feature solutions that enable businesses to operate smarter and more cost-effectively,” says Suzette Scheepers, CEO of Messe Muenchen South Africa. “We have also revisited our sponsorship and exhibitor packages to deliver significant additional value.”

With an expanded African focus, bauma CONEXPO AFRICA plans to host buyer and diplomatic delegations from across sub-Saharan Africa, and to actively foster interaction and business exchange between the region’s governments and private sector.

The latest equipment and services

Among the solutions to be on show will be agricultural machinery and tractors, machinery and plants for the production of building material, construction and mining equipment, engineering services, occupational safety products and services, plant hire services, quantity surveying technologies, and forestry machinery.

High-level industry conference

In addition to showcasing the latest international products and solutions, bauma CONEXPO AFRICA will host a high-level industry conference, Africa Forum, focusing on trends, challenges and opportunities across sub-Saharan Africa. At the conference, industry experts will discuss key issues such as infrastructure investment, the ROI on public-private partnerships, and China’s role in mining and infrastructure in Africa.

Business-boosting supporting programme

bauma CONEXPO AFRICA will also feature a strong supporting programme including CPD accredited Workshops and Masterclasses, Tech Talk Forum sessions covering topical issues, product demonstrations and the University Innovation Awards. The trade show will also facilitate B2B meetings, dedicate sessions to women in industry, and will showcase up and coming entrepreneurs, giving them an opportunity to network with local and international industry leaders.

bauma CONEXPO AFRICA will be staged at the Gallagher Convention Centre in Johannesburg from 13 – 16 October 2021. Discounted Early Bird exhibitor packages and comprehensive new sponsorship packages are now available. For more information, contact the South African office For international enquiries email




Issued by ITP Communications on behalf of Messe Muenchen SA. For further information please contact Leigh Angelo at or Tel: (011) 869 9153.