OPDT   OIL & PROTEIN SEEDS DEVELOPMENT TRUST
OAC   OILSEEDS ADVISORY COMMITTEE

OPDT
OIL & PROTEIN SEEDS DEVELOPMENT TRUST

OAC
OILSEEDS ADVISORY COMMITTEE


Minutes

SA Groundnut Forum (SAGF)
held on 30 October 2013 at 10:00 at the offices of the Oilseeds Industry, Woodmead

  1. Opening

    The meeting was opened with a prayer, offered by Mr Gerhard Scholtemeijer.

  2. Welcome

    The Chairperson, Mr Gerhard Keun, welcomed all present to the last meeting of the Groundnut Forum in 2013.

  3. Attendance

    Present

    Mr GTduT Keun Chairperson
    Ms A van Deventer Vice Chairperson
    Mr J Cohn OLAM
    Mr A Cronjé Tiger Consumer Brands
    Mr GL de Kock Roba
    Mr O de Witt Praxia Trading
    Mr JCG du Preez Consultant
    Ms M Edwards Foodcorp
    Mr N Hawkins SAGIS
    Mr S Heilbron PPECB
    Mr WJ la Cock SA Groundnut Marketing
    Mr C Louw GrainSA
    Ms C Makobe DAFF
    Ms C Mapatlare DAFF
    Mr V Mapfumari DAFF
    Ms D Marabe DAFF
    Mr GC Nortjé GWK
    Ms J Sadie DAFF
    Ms M Scheepers DAFF
    Mr GJH Scholtemeijer OAC
    Dr J Swanevelder Observer
    Mr C Thabethe NDOH
    Dr G Thompson ARC-GCI
    Dr W van der Walt OAC
    Mr C van Rooyen Landbouweekblad
    Mr PP van Wyk VGM
    Mr C van Zyl Triotrade
    Mr A Visser P-Farm
    Ms E Harmse OPDT Contractor

    Apologies

    Mr W Higgs Triotrade
    Mr L Lourens Pepsico
    Mr M Mosome DAFF
    Mr R Nerwich The Snack Factory
    Mr K Nienaber RE Groundnuts
    Ms M Purnell Grain Silo Industry
    Ms L Salomon ARC-GCI
    Dr M Visser GrainSA
    Mr N Wegner PPECB
  4. Personalia

    Wishes for a full recovery were conveyed to Ms Purnell, together with the Forum's congratulations on her appointment as the Chief Executive Officer of the Grain Silo Industry.

  5. Finalisation of agenda

    The agenda was accepted as it stood, with the addition of:

    • Item 9.5 – Groundnut Industry stand at Nampo;
    • Item 9.6 – Combined Groundnut Farmers' Day;
    • Item 9.7 – SADEC Trade Hub; and
    • Item 9.8 – Japanese authorities' visit to South Africa, August 2013.
  6. Approval of minutes

    1. Approval of the minutes of the meeting of the SA Groundnut Forum held on 30 July 2013

      Resolved:

      1. That the minutes of the meeting of the SA Groundnut Forum, that was held on 30 July 2013, be accepted as a true and fair reflection of that meeting.
  7. Matters arising

    1. Seed quality

      (Resolution 7.1.1 of the SA Groundnut Forum minutes of 30 July 2013)

      The Chairperson called on Mr Louw to provide feedback on progress attained on the matter of seed quality.

      Mr Louw reported that a meeting had been called between GrainSA, SANSOR, and the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF), in order to discuss the issue with regard to the omission of certain physical requirements of groundnut seed, after the Oilseeds Board had been disbanded. He said SANSOR had indicated that the addition of more physical requirements would involve more handling, which would have an effect on the quality, and would also incur additional costs, and had suggested that the current physical requirements of groundnut seeds be left unchanged. He noted that SANSOR had also suggested that the size of the bags be decreased from 50kg to 25kg.

      Mr Louw continued reporting, and said GrainSA's Groundnut Specialist Working Group had accepted SANSOR's suggestions, and had suggested that the number of inspections done on seed quality should be increased.

      The matter was considered to be concluded.

    2. Laboratories: Germination tests

      (Resolution 7.3.1 of the SA Groundnut Forum minutes of 30 July 2013)

      The Chairperson reported that three laboratories, viz. the Official Seed Testing Laboratory, Advance Seed and Incotec had been identified as possible candidates to do germination tests on groundnut seed. He asked if it was necessary for the Forum to further progress the matter.

      Mr Visser reported that Senwes had handled the last batch of germination tests efficiently,and had issued their reports timeously. He suggested that Senwes be informed of the groundnut industry's satisfaction with the way the matter had been handled lately, and asked to confirm whether they planned to continue offering this service to the industry.

      The matter was considered to be concluded.

      Noted:

      1. That cognisance be taken that Senwes will be informed of the groundnut industry's satisfaction with the way germination tests on groundnut seeds had been handled lately, and asked to confirm whether they planned to continue offering this service to the industry.

        Chairperson
        SAGF

    3. Farm audits: PPECB

      (Resolution 7.4.1 of the SA Groundnut Forum minutes of 30 July 2013)

      Ms van Deventer presented an overview of the developments with regard to farm audits since 2005, and of the way the Perishable Products Export Control Board (PPECB) intended to manage the process as from 1 October 2013.

      Ms van Deventer reported that the working group, that the Forum had selected to deal with the matter, had compiled a guide aimed at producers, in order to address the problems that had resulted in the PPECB's decision not to issue audit clearances during the previous farm audits. She said the guide specifically related to groundnuts. She then presented an overview of the contents of the guide. She said Afrikaans and English versions of the guide will be available for distribution by the middle of November, and would be channeled to the producers, via the processing plants. She noted that the guide would be publicised in the media.

      The Chairperson said comments and suggestions on the guide would be appreciated. He noted that any uncertainties and questions could be referred to the Forum. He called on the various processors to provide an indication of the number of copies that would be required. He expressed the Forum's gratitude to the Oilseeds Advisory Committee for providing the necessary financing for the compilation of the guide. Mr Scholtemeijer in turn thanked the Forum for the valuable work that had been done.

      Mr Heilbron noted that the PPECB appreciated the work that had been done. He said the PPECB and DAFF were currently consulting with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) on the extent to which the changes that were being effected in the United States' food safety legislation would impact on local industries. He mentioned that he would do a presentation on this at a future meeting.

      Mr Heilbron said audits would be done during the growing season, and that data relating to the previous two years' activities would have to be submitted by the producers.

      Mr Mapfumari thanked all involved for the work that had been done. The Chairperson thanked Ms van Deventer, GrainSA, the PPECB and DAFF for their inputs.

    4. Phyto-sanitary requirements

      (Resolution 7.6.1 of the SA Groundnut Forum minutes of 30 July 2013)

      The Chairperson referred the members to the copy of the permit for the importation of controlled goods, that had been included with the documentation of the meeting. He said the permit stated that groundnut seed for planting purposes had to be tested for the peanut stunt virus only.

      Mr Visser suggested that the necessary steps be taken so as to include peanut smut in the phyto-sanitary regulations. Dr Thompson reported that he discussed the matter with scientists at the ARC, who had suggested that certain nematodes and other diseases also be included in the phyto-sanitary regulations for groundnut seed imported for planting purposes. He said a document would be submitted in this regard.

      The Chairperson suggested that the matter be held in abeyance, until such time the ARC's document had been submitted.

      Mr van Zyl asked whether imported edible groundnuts were also subject to phyto-sanitary regulations. Mr Visser suggested that clarity be established on this. The Chairperson confirmed that he would follow up on the matter.

      Resolved:

      1. That feedback is being awaited on the issue of phyto-sanitary regulations applicable to imported edible groundnuts.

        Chairperson
        SAGF

      2. That feedback is being awaited on the issue of phyto-sanitary requirements applicable to groundnut seed intended for planting.

        Dr Thompson
        SAGF

  8. Industry information and marketing aspects

    1. SAGIS: General feedback and market information

      Mr Hawkins presented an overview of the latest groundnut information, as compiled by SAGIS. He said the information included, inter alia, data on national and international supply and demand, local production figures, data on imports and exports, data on international and local stocks as well as indicative import and export parity prices, international prices and food prices. He noted that the Crop Estimates Committee's (CEC) groundnut production estimates were in line with the deliveries, as reported by SAGIS. He added that the information was published on the SAGIS website.

      The members took cognisance of the market information SAGIS had compiled for the Groundnut Forum, of the weekly bulletin dated 10 October and of the monthly bulletin, dated 23 September 2013.

    2. Crop and Area estimates

      Cognisance was taken of the documents reflecting the final production estimate for summer crops for the 2013 production season, the document reflecting the producers' intentions to plant summer crops in 2014, as well as the document Ms Scheepers had prepared for the meeting of the Groundnut Forum. The Chairperson called on Ms Scheepers to elucidate on the information.

      Ms Scheepers said according to the final estimate, 46 900 hectares had been planted to groundnuts, with a crop of 42 300 tons. She noted that the 2013 crop of 42 300 tons was 47,1%, or 37 610 tons, less than the previous five year average crop of 79 910 tons, and 45,1%, or 34 756 tons, less than the previous ten year average crop of 77 056 tons. She mentioned that the document she had prepared included a table, that reflected the situation with regard to local groundnut production from 2003 to 2013.

      Ms Scheepers said the initial forecast of 64 600 tons had been adjusted downward continuously during the course of the season, mainly as a result of drought stress. She noted that the average yield for 2013 stood at 0,90 ton per hectare, which is 40,0% lower the the previous five year average yield of 1,50 tons per hectare and 39,6% less than the previous ten year average of 1,49 tons per hectare. She added that the average groundnut yield in 2013 was the lowest since 1995.

      Ms Scheepers reported that the CEC had released data on the producers' intentions to plant summer crops in the 2014 season. She said producers had indicated that they intended to plant 48 500 hectares to groundnuts, which would be 3,6%, or 1 600 hectares, more than the plantings of the previous season. She mentioned that favourable groundnut prices and increased plantings under irrigation had been listed as reasons for this expansion. She noted that the expected plantings were 6,6% less than the previous five year average of 51 900 hectares, and 5,7% less than the previous ten year average plantings of 51 452 hectares.

      The Chairperson thanked Ms Scheepers for her contribution, and opened the matter for discussion.

      Mr Scholtemeijer said in his view, the low average yields that had been attained over the last ten years, indicated that the local groundnut industry was not flourishing. He raised the possibility of launching a groundnut yield challenge competition, so as to illustrate to the industry what could be achieved. He said average yields of five to six tons per hectare was not out of the question at all.

      Dr Thompson said the ARC aimed for a minimum yield of 2 tons per hectare on dryland, with higher yields under irrigation. Mr Visser supported the idea of a yield competition. He said P-Farm aimed for an average yield of 5 tons and above per hectare under irrigation, and for more than 2 tons per hectare on dryland. Mr de Kock noted that rain would be the limiting factor on dryland yields, but added that 2 tons per hectare was a good target.

      Mr van Wyk reported that some producers had obtained average yields of 4 tons per hectare with the cultivar Tufa, and 4,5 tons per hectare with the cultivar Akwa, both under irrigation. He said it seemed as if groundnuts performed better, in longer rather than shorter rotation intervals. He remarked that the soil's condition and crop rotation contributed to yield to a greater extent than did the cultivars that had been planted. He said groundnuts were by far the most lucrative crop to produce.

      Mr Nortjé said the average yield in the GWK area had been between 3,2 and 3,5 tons per hectare for the last five years. He noted that a target of 5 tons per hectare had however been set. Mr Hawkins said it would be interesting to obtain information on the genetic potential of the various groundnut cultivars. He said groundnuts were not the easiest crop to cultivate, and that one may very well ask whether the problem with low yields was not related to production practices, plant diseases, and so forth. Dr Swanevelder agreed that genetic potential, environment and production practices were the main contributing factors to satisfactory yields.

      Mr Scholtemeijer said the Forum's challenge was to get the heart back into the industry.

      Mr Visser said he would compile guidelines for a groundnut yield challenge competition, in collaboration with Ms van Deventer and Mr Nortjé.

      The Chairperson invited comments on the area estimates for the various production areas. Mr van Wyk said dryland producers' final planting decisions would depend on the weather. He noted that planting would probably commence the following week, in irrigation areas, depending on soil temperatures. He said financing was a big issue.

      Mr Visser reported that some dryland producers had already started planting. Mr de Kock said in his area, groundnuts could be planted until 16 December. He noted that producers were keen to plant groundnuts, due to the profitability of the crop, and also because of the fact that groundnut production did not have much of an effect on cash flow.

      Mr Cohn agreed that financing was a big issue. He said it seemed as if plantings were mainly driven by the processing plants, and added that it would be positive if GrainSA could also add some momentum to groundnut production. Mr Louw said GrainSA did what it could to alleviate problems in the groundnut industry. He noted that suggestions would be welcome.

      Mr Nortjé mentioned that there was a slight shortage of groundnut seed. He said GWK had already planted 300 hectares.

      Resolved:

      1. That guidelines would be compiled for a groundnut yield challenge competition.

        Messrs Visser, Nortjé,
        Vice Chairperson
        SAGF

  9. Additional items

    1. Articles

      Cognisance was taken of the articles included as Annexure G.

    2. Report: Dr Baldessari

      Cognisance was taken of Dr Jorge Baldessari's report on his trip to parts of the South African groundnut growing region. Mr Scholtemeijer said Dr Baldessari could be invited to a follow up tour. Dr Thompson noted that the groundnut industry would benefit from such a tour. He said April and May would be suitable months for the tour, as harvesting was done during that period.

    3. Agricultural Products Standards Amendment Bill

      Mr Mapfumari announced that the deadline for the submission of comments on the Bill had been extended.

    4. Joint Food Safety Forum and MRL Working Group

      Cognisance was taken that there were no new matters to report on.

    5. Groundnut Industry Stand at Nampo

      Mr Visser suggested that the groundnut industry take a stand at Nampo Harvest Day, as part of a generic marketing drive. Mr Scholtemeijer said a budget in this regard would have to be submitted.

      The Chairperson pointed out that end November was the deadline for application for stands. Ms van Deventer suggested that the combined groundnut farmers' day receive priority attention, and that a stand be taken at the 2015 Nampo Harvest Day.

      Dr Thompson mentioned that the ARC-GCI stand featured all of the crops that the institution did research on.

      The Chairperson suggested that the matter be held in abeyance, for discussion at a following meeting of the Forum.

      Resolved:

      1. That the matter with regard to taking a groundnut industry stand at the Nampo Harvest Day be discussed at a following meeting of the Forum.

        Chairperson
        Mr Visser
        SAGF

    6. Combined Groundnut Farmers' Day

      Mr Scholtemeijer said a combined farmers' day, where an international speaker addressed a matter of importance to the industry, had to be planned well in advance. He suggested that the Forum took cognisance of this.

      Mr Louw reported that GrainSA's plans for a producers' day had not progressed satisfactorily. He agreed that planning had to be done well in advance. Mr van Wyk noted that March would be an ideal time to present such a day.

      The Chairperson ruled that the matter be held in abeyance.

      Resolved:

      1. That the matter with regard to a combined groundnut farmers' day be discussed at a following meeting of the Forum.

        Chairperson
        Mr Visser
        SAGF

    7. SADC Trade Hub

      Dr van der Walt reported that various initiatives had been launched to promote trade between the member countries of the South African Development Community (SADC). He said this included various actions related to aflatoxin, amongst others. He mentioned that the SADC Trade Hub operated from an office in Zambia. He said it was important to have the necessary checks and balances in place locally, as the Zambian situation was quite dynamic.

      The Chairperson said the relevant information would be made available to the members of the Forum.

      Resolved:

      1. That information regarding the SADC Trade Hub be made available to members.

        Chairperson
        Dr Van Der Walt
        SAGF

    8. Japanese authorities' visit to South Africa, August 2013

      Ms van Deventer reported that certain Japanese authorities visited South Africa at the end of August 2013, in order to collect information on food hygiene laws, export controls and export inpection systems in South Africa. She noted that citrus was the primary commodity of interest to the Japanese, but added that some attention was also paid to groundnuts.

      Ms van Deventer reported that she had provided an overview of the way aflatoxin was managed in South Africa, during the wrap up meeting, that was held in Durban. She said the Japanese visitors had provided very positive feedback on the PPECB laboratories.

  10. Election of office bearers

    1. Election of Vice Chairperson

      The Chairperson noted that the Chairperson and the Vice Chairperson were appointed for a period of two years, and that their terms did not run concurrently. He called for nominations for the position of Vice Chairperson of the Groundnut Forum for the period November 2013 to November 2015.

      Ms van Deventer was unanimously re-elected as Vice Chairperson of the Groundnut Forum.

      Resolved:

      1. That Mr A van Deventer be re-elected as Vice Chairperson of the Groundnut Forum for the period November 2014 to November 2015.

        Chairperson
        SAGF

    2. Election of Steering Committee

      The Chairperson said the Steering Committee of the Groundnut Forum had in the past consisted of the chairperson, vice chairperson, and representatives of the processors, producers and research, and had not really been very active. He asked whether the members wished to appoint a Steering Committee as in the past, or whether a policy should be adopted which entailed that the Chairperson and the Vice Chairperson dealt with day to day matters, and that small task teams or working groups be appointed as and when important and urgent matters had to be addressed.

      Mr de Kock said in his view the issue of farm audits had been dealt with very efficiently, and that he would support the Chairperson's suggestion. Ms van Deventer suggested that some form of structure be given to the task teams, with terms of reference being drawn up, and with deadlines in place. Mr Visser agreed with this.

      Mr Scholtemeijer suggested that the approach be tested for a trial period of one year. The suggestion was accepted.

      Resolved:

      1. That a policy be adopted in terms of which a Steering Committee will not be appointed, with small task teams or working groups being appointed as and when important and urgent matters had to be dealt with. This policy will be reviewed in November 2014.

        Chairperson
        SAGF

  11. Meeting dates 2014

    The following dates were determined for meetings during 2014:

    • 12 February;
    • 26 March;
    • 29 July; and
    • 29 October.
  12. Adjournment

    The Chairperson thanked the members for all their contributions during the past year. He wished all a safe journey home. There being no further business to discuss, the meeting was adjourned at 12:55.