SA Groundnut Forum (SAGF)
held on 18 February 2016 at 10:00 at the offices of the Oilseeds Industry, 49 River Road, Woodmead

  1. Opening

    The meeting was opened with a prayer offered by Mr Keun.

  2. Welcome

    The Chairperson welcomed all present to the meeting of the Groundnut Forum. She extended a special welcome to Mr Nepfumbada from the DAFF.

  3. Attendance


    Ms A Botha Chairperson
    Ms R Beukes DAFF Crop Estimates Committee
    Ms P Campbell Dept of Health
    Mr C Dominic Thokoman Foods
    Mr D Frank C Steinweg Bridge
    Mr N Hawkins SAGIS
    Mr R Higgs Triotrade Gauteng
    Mr T JG Jansen C Steinweg Bridge Processing
    Mr G Keun OAC
    Mr H Lazarus LBNUTS
    Mr C Louw GrainSA
    Ms WT Mafiri DAFF
    Ms C Makobe DAFF: FSQA
    Dr D Naicker PPECB
    Mr R Nerwich The Snack Factory
    Mr JL Nienaber RE Groundnuts
    Mr GC Nortje GWK
    Mr IF Prinsloo Tiger Brands
    Ms L Salomon ARC-GCI
    Mr AH Snyman GWK
    Dr G Thompson ARC-GCI
    Dr C van der Merwe Tiger Brands
    Mr W van der Walt OAC and SANCU
    Mr P van Heerden PPECB Bothaville
    Mr C van Rooyen Farmer's Weekly
    Mr G van Wyk VGM
    Mr P van Wyk VGM
    Mr A Visser Golden Peanut & Tree Nut SA
    Mr N Wegner PPECB
    Mr T Nepfumbada DAFF


    Mr A Evans RE Groundnuts
    Mr S Heilbron PPECB
    Mr F Minnaar GrainSA
    Ms J Sadie DAFF
    Mr GJH Scholtemeijer OAC
  4. Personalia

    Nothing noted.

  5. Finalisation of agenda

    The agenda as tabled was approved with the addition of the following matters:

    • Item 9.1 – Professor Mark Laing was not available to present his research project. Mr Keun indicated that he would try and organise the presentation for the next meeting.
    • Items 8.1 & 8.2 – The order of these items on the agenda was switched.
    • Item 10.3 – Presentation on kernel size by Mr Snyman.
  6. Approval of minutes

    Approval of the minutes of the meeting of the SA Groundnut Forum held on 28 October 2015


    1. That the minutes of the meeting of the SA Groundnut Forum that was held on 28 October 2015 be accepted as a true reflection of that meeting.
  7. Matters arising

    1. Farm audits: PPECB

      (Resolutions 8.1.1 and 8.1.2 of the SA Groundnut Forum minutes of 28/10/2015)

      The Chairperson noted that this issue would be discussed in more detail in the industry plan under item 7.4 of the agenda.

      It was noted that a reference document listing the relevant legislation would be drafted for the industry under the auspices of the Forum as part of the work to be done under the Industry Plan.

      Ms Campbell reported that there was no information available yet on the HACCP compliance status of processing and sorting facilities as per the FBO list and hence the matter was held over to the next meeting.

      In response to the Chairperson's suggestion that the issue of farm audits be removed from the agenda for subsequent meetings, it was pointed out that it was important to have feedback on farm audits at least once a year. Mr Keun agreed, and it was therefore decided to keep the issue of farm audits on the agenda.


      1. That a reference document for the industry listing the items of legislation relevant to the industry be drafted.

        Ms Botha
        Mr Keun

      2. That Ms Campbell reported that there was no information available yet on the HACCP compliance status of processing and sorting facilities as per the FBO list and hence the matter was held over to the next meeting.

        Mr Keun

      3. That in response to the Chairperson's suggestion that the issue of farm audits be removed from the agenda for subsequent meetings, it was pointed out that it was important to have feedback on farm audits at least once a year and that Mr Keun agreed, and it was therefore decided to keep the issue of farm audits on the agenda.

        Mr Keun

    2. Customs and Excise – blanched groundnuts

      The Chairperson reported that, in light of recent SARS rulings from mid 2015, blanched groundnuts would be moved to the same category as the raw product (ie.10% tariff).

      The issue concerned historical and future import. In terms of imports, importers have the option to appeal the findings with SARS. Future importers could consider applying for a temporary rebate because of decreased local crop production.

      The issue had been discussed within GrainSA which had expressed concern around the permanent removal of the tariff and its potential effect on local producers. The Chairperson informed the meeting that the temporary rebate would be managed according to strict ITEC rules to ensure the protection of local producers. GrainSA also raised their fears of instituting a temporary rebate as it is exactly in times like these where a rebate is needed.

      Mr P van Wyk felt that it was important to be fair to all farmers. Comments in response were made that the option of a temporary rebate could be considered by individual importers due to the low crop production this year, due to the drought and was not aimed at undermining local farmers.

      Mr Visser confirmed that the rebate would be subject to proof given to SARS that the imports were inevitable, and would only be temporary. The cost of the imports would therefore be managed to protect the end user.

      Dr Van der Merwe advised that the situation was similar to that of the tomato paste industry. The permit would be granted for a very specific amount to be exported and all necessary controls would be in place to prevent abuse. For every consignment imported there was a stringent procedure to follow, such as proving that the local product was not available in the quantities required.

      Mr Nerwich voiced his concern that the market would be flooded with imports and that the process had to be extremely well controlled.

      Mr Hawkins made reference to the Trade and Industry Act and suggested that the Forum will have to apply for temporary rebate on behalf of the whole industry. The Chairperson referred to the procedures as prescribed by ITAC and confirmed that the Forum structure and mandate does not allow for such an application and that individual importers will have to apply directly.

      The Chairperson agreed to request general feedback from the relevant parties once any application was on the table.


      1. That members be requested to give feedback to the Chairperson once any applications have been finalised.


    3. Producer Grading Guideline Amendments

      (Resolution 8.4.1 of the SA Groundnut Forum minutes of 28/10/2015)

      Mr Wegner reported on the Producer Grading Guideline Amendments, that numerous meetings had been held countrywide to obtain information in respect of the Guideline Amendments.

      The information still had to be processed before it could be made available to the industry, however, it was possible to make some preliminary deductions for industry input. The Chairperson offered to assist in circulating the necessary information to the industry. Mr Visser re-confirmed his offer to make international standards and literature available to Mr Wegner.

      In response to Mr Louw's suggestion of registering a project for the Guideline Amendments, Mr Wegner felt that although there was insufficient information to register such a project, he would start planning for one. The Chairperson requested that, regardless of possible existing literature, such a project plan should be submitted as soon as possible to allow for application of financing as well as to accommodate the upcoming harvest period during which sampling will have to be done.


      1. That Mr Wegner be requested to start planning and propose a project on the Producer Grading Guideline Amendments.

        Mr Wegner
        Mr Keun

    4. Strategic Industry Plan

      (Resolutions 7.1, 8.3.1 and 8.5.1 of the SA Groundnut Forum minutes of 28/10/2015)

      The Chairperson gave a presentation on the Strategic Industry Plan and highlighted the following:

      • General feedback: OAC meeting

        Funding was approved, subject to projects being underway. On the question of a specialist consultant, it was necessary to understand the role of such a person, before funding could be provided.

      • Cultivar trials

        The results, without identifying the specific cultivars, of the dryland and irrigation cultivar trials were highlighted, including graphs to illustrate kernel yield and shelling percentage as well as most profitable cultivars for the 2014/15 trials.

      • Industry plan

        Concerning the Industry Plan, a working plan was in the process of being drafted, after which, action plans would be rolled out.

        As far as cultivar trials and development, once a discussion and agreement with service providers had been concluded, the Chairperson would communicate the plan, findings, and technical information to the industry to give members an opportunity to provide input on the five-year rolling plan.

      • SAGF communication tool

        The Chairperson presented details of a blog site that has been deve-loped as the most affordable and effective communication tool for the industry.

        The blog page included international news, a resources page and local marketing information.

        Members were requested to send the Chairperson any news or information relevant to the rest of the industry for posting on the blog page. Click here for details of the blog page.

        The Chairperson was commended for her work in creating the blog page.

    5. Fosetyl Al

      (Resolution 10.2.1 of the SA Groundnut Forum minutes of 28/10/2015)

      The Chairperson gave a brief background to this issue, stating that high levels of Fosetyl Al had been detected in certain product exports to an EU buyer. It was important to determine whether this was an industry-wide phenomenon.

      Mr Nepfumbada of DAFF reported that Fosetyl Al was a difficult molecule and could not be attributed to a single source. Fertilisers were a possible source and their use on groundnut crops and other crops could have exposed groundnuts to Fosetyl Al.

      Mr Nepfumbada noted that when used, Fosetyl Al breaks down to phosphonic acid; therefore anything producing phosphonic acid would come across as Fosetyl Al.

      Another possible cause of contamination was experiments or research on neighbouring farms, even if the crops were not groundnuts. Illegal use of products could be another potential source. It was therefore a complex issue that required detailed analysis. It was noted that testing for the risk of fertilisers was different to testing for the risk of pesticides.

      For many years there was no reliable way of testing for phosphonic acid, but that was no longer the case. It could however be that South African laboratories did not have the scope to detect phosphonic acid.

      Mr Nepfumbada suggested that one way to address the issue would be to apply for a higher MRL. However, the industry must first determine the levels of Fosetyl Al being detected, to guide them in deciding how much to increase the MRL level.

      Mr Lazarus suggested that the industry be guided by the levels of Fosetyl Al detected by the treenut industry, which was 70%. It was important to raise farmers' awareness to this issue and for the industry to demonstrate that protective measures had been taken to address the problem.

      Mr Visser noted that the industry was taking this matter seriously and that it was in the process of conducting tests to determine the source of Fosetyl Al. Mr Visser agreed to share this information with the Forum as soon as it was available.

      Mr Snyman proposed raising MRL levels to 75%.

      Mr Nepfumbada reported that tests were conducted in the EU and USA on both raw and processed commodities but that in South Africa only raw commodities were tested.

      Processing of commodities could release more Fosetyl Al, therefore tests for raw and processed commodities should be applied and then compared. In the EU, the level of MRL was determined separately for raw and unprocessed products.

      Mr Snyman commented on the importance of reliable testing. Mr Nepfumbada responded that there were accredited laboratories and offered to liaise with them to establish the technology they used. Dr Naicker added that her laboratory had recently applied for a new instrument which should facilitate future testing.


      1. The industry to continue with tests to investigate the cause and levels of Fosetyl Al and share the results with the Forum.


      2. The Chairperson to raise this matter at the Food Forum Meeting.


  8. Industry information and marketing aspects

    1. Crop and area estimates

      Ms Beukes gave a presentation to the Forum on crop and area estimates.

      Ms Beukes had asked farmers which areas had been planted and the crop yields expected. These results would be communicated to the Forum at the next meeting.

      Ms Salomon commented that because of the late planting this season, far lower crop yields were expected.

    2. SAGIS: General feedback and market information

      Mr Hawkins gave a general feedback presentation to the Forum, details of which would be available on the SAGIS website.

      Mr Hawkins requested members to report new role players in the market as not all newcomers were registered with SAGIS.

      There was a drop in firms involved in processing. The edible market and the peanut butter market were more or less even at this stage.

      Import and export parity prices were presented. Mr Hawkins thanked everyone for their contribution to the statistical figures.

      Concerning statutory measures, these had been approved for the next four years.

      The Chairperson thanked Mr Hawkins for the presentation and congratulated SAGIS on their new website.

    3. PPECB Laboratory Services Groundnut Report

      Dr Naicker, PPECB Laboratory Manager in Centurion, reported to the Forum.

      She reported that there was still no decision on how the information on aflatoxins would be used by the industry as the matter is not clear cut. The lab had the sole mandate to test for aflatoxins in groundnuts for exports. Seven exporters had been selected for the report to the Forum.

      Samples had been consistent to date, however, it was uncertain in which production area the products had been obtained by those who had sent in samples. Results of the tests were confidential and were sent to the Department of Agriculture and the Groundnut Forum Chairperson.

      The Chairperson noted that the weekly report were used for red flagging of a wider national crisis or concern. Otherwise, there was not much scope for interpreting the information.

      Concerning pesticide analysis, Dr Naicker reported that she had received samples from five customers. The demand for testing from the groundnut industry had been slow.

      Dr Naicker informed the Forum that the laboratory was accredited for aflatoxin and pesticide testing. The facility also kept up with technological advances and adapted to new technology as it became available. Currently, UPLC technology was used.

      Two instruments had recently been purchased at a cost of R2.5 million and the methodology for use on the new instruments was being tested. In addition, the laboratory had adopted "green" practices and also "just in time systems".

      On the way forward, it was planned to:

      • Assist small and emerging farmers;
      • Expand the scope of pesticide residue testing;
      • Introduce cost cutting initiatives.

      The Chairperson asked the members of the Forum if anyone wanted to collaborate with the laboratory in assisting small and emerging farmers. Mr Louw of GrainSA agreed to send the laboratory information on the participants in the farmer development programmes.

      Dr Naicker encouraged forum members to visit the laboratory's website as it contained a host of useful information.

      Mr Van der Walt asked what controls were in place to ensure correct sampling. Mr Van Heerden responded that a Standard Operating Procedure existed. The Chairperson confirmed that sampling methods were very stringent and followed by strict controls.

      The Chairperson thanked Dr Naicker for her presentation.

  9. Research

    1. Presentation by Professor Mark Laing, University of KwaZulu-Natal

      Professor Mark Laing was unavailable and the presentation was therefore carried over to another meeting.

  10. Additional matters

    1. Articles

      The meeting took note of the articles included in the agenda as Annexure D.

    2. Statutory measures

      Mr Keun informed the Forum that this item was for noting. The initiative of applying for statutory measures was not ready for approval as one of the associations had yet to give feedback.

      The Forum supported the application for statutory measures.

    3. Presentation on peanut kernel size

      Mr Snyman of GWK presented on peanut kernel size. It was noted that 15% of exports had been lost because of peanut kernel size. Research was required on this issue to determine the causes affecting kernel size.

      Possible causes could be the seed, climate or nematodes. Poor kernel size constituted a problem for farmers and had led to a 50% drop in the planting of peanuts, the lowest level of planting in the last six to seven years.

      Ms Salomon mentioned three possible factors affecting kernel size, being the rotation system of farmers, gypsum, or nematodes.

      Mr Snyman responded that farmers did practice crop rotation, although they did not usually leave fields lying fallow. He noted that more gypsum was being used than in the past, which could be affecting the situation.

      In connection with a question raised by Ms Salomon on the genetic base used, Mr Snyman responded that farmers had planted 60/70 and 70/80 kernel sizes.

      The Chairperson agreed to take these issues into consideration in the proposed five-year plan.

      Mr Nepfumbada suggesting that the industry be proactive in tackling this issue and following the approach used by the Canola Industry.

      The Chairperson urged members to inform the necessary authorities of any new compounds being used as these should be registered accordingly.

      Mr Keun commented that the oilseeds industry annually did a web study to research new products, and afterwards engaged with local companies to discuss the new products. The industry also liaised with the necessary departments to start the process of registering the new products.

      Mr Keun suggested that the groundnut industry adopt a similar procedure, and proposed appointing someone to conduct a web study for the groundnut industry.


      1. That the issue of kernel size be included in the five year plan.

        Ms Botha

      2. That it be recommended to the OAC to appoint someone to do a web study on new products in the groundnut industry.

        Mr Keun

  11. Meeting dates 2016

    The Chairperson suggested holding the next meeting on the 27th July in Potchefstroom. It was agreed to make this decision closer to the meeting date.

  12. Adjournment

    There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 13:40. The Chairperson thanked the Forum members for their attendance.