To ease your site search, article categories are at bottom of page.

April 27, 2009

South African agricultural exports rebound

by Wouter Kriel

The South African agricultural sector has managed a turn-around to become a nett exporter again, despite a 9% drop predicted in global trade this year. The sector posted a deficit last year.

Dr Ferdi Meyer, an analyst at the Bureau for Food and Agricultural Policy (BFAP) at the University of Pretoria, attributed this to the cyclical nature of agriculture. "Drought and good years will always play a role in how this sector performs," said Dr Meyer. "We became a nett importer because of unexpected demand from our burgeoning middle class, but since the economic downturn local demand has contracted, while there’s still a good crop on the land with exportable surpluses."

Prof AndrĂ© Jooste, senior manager at the National Agricultural Marketing Council (NAMC), said fluctuations in the exchange rate played a significant role in changing our status from an importer to an exporter. He said a lot of noise was made over South Africa’s nett import status for agricultural products, but an analysis of what caused this shows products such as rice, oil cake, palm oil and whiskey were the major processed imported articles, along with wheat, tobacco and coffee.

"Except for wheat, we don’t produce these products, so it’s not a true reflection of the state of our agricultural sector," he said.

The latest NAMC figures show an increase of 99,05% in wheat imports from 2007 to 2008, with a 46% annual increase in imports for 1998 to 2007. Wheat imports cost South Africa R1,82 billion in 2007, said Prof Jooste.

Jannie de Villiers, executive director of the National Chamber of Millers, said South Africa’s food security is not in a good position.

"We rely on countries such as Argentina to supplement our wheat production, but they recently stopped exporting to us on very short notice," he explained. He said South African farmers decide whether to plant wheat based on economics and government should revise its policies regarding wheat tariffs to make wheat more attractive to local producers.

Further, the lack of genetically modified wheat is prohibiting the wheat crop from improving in the same way as maize, which achieved a 25% crop yield improvement over the past four years.
"We need government to invest in research to improve our local wheat industry as much as possible," said De Villiers.

Stemmed tobacco imports increased by 51,45% over the same period, and coffee showed an increase of 121,2% for the period 2006 to 2008. From 2007 to 2008, rice imports increased by 80,75% and soya oil cake imports by 75,78%. From 2006 to 2008, palm oil imports increased by 207% and whiskey imports increased by 37,7%.

This contributed to a processed-product trade deficit of R7,1 billion, an increase of 3% for the period 2007 to 2008. South African processed exports increased by R6,4 billion, or 38% from 2007 to 2008. Imports of processed products increased by R7,8 billion or 35% over the same period.

Farming UK

Article Categories

AGRA agribusiness agrochemicals agroforestry aid Algeria aloe vera Angola aquaculture banana barley beans beef bees Benin biodiesel biodiversity biof biofuel biosafety biotechnology Botswana Brazil Burkina Faso Burundi CAADP Cameroon capacity building cashew cassava cattle Central African Republic cereals certification CGIAR Chad China CIMMYT climate change cocoa coffee COMESA commercial farming Congo Republic conservation agriculture cotton cow pea dairy desertification development disease diversification DRCongo drought ECOWAS Egypt Equatorial Guinea Ethiopia EU EUREPGAP events/meetings expo exports fa fair trade FAO fertilizer finance fisheries floods flowers food security fruit Gabon Gambia gender issues Ghana GM crops grain green revolution groundnuts Guinea Bissau Guinea Conakry HIV/AIDS honey hoodia horticulture hydroponics ICIPE ICRAF ICRISAT IFAD IITA imports India infrastructure innovation inputs investment irrigation Ivory Coast jatropha kenaf keny Kenya khat land deals land management land reform Lesotho Liberia Libya livestock macadamia Madagascar maiz maize Malawi Mali mango marijuana markets Mauritania Mauritius mechanization millet Morocco Mozambique mushroom Namibia NEPAD Niger Nigeria organic agriculture palm oil pastoralism pea pest control pesticides pineapple plantain policy issues potato poultry processing productivity Project pyrethrum rai rain reforestation research rice rivers rubber Rwanda SADC Sao Tome and Principe seed seeds Senegal sesame Seychelles shea butter Sierra Leone sisal soil erosion soil fertility Somalia sorghum South Africa South Sudan Southern Africa spices standards subsidies Sudan sugar sugar cane sustainable farming Swaziland sweet potato Tanzania tariffs tea tef tobacco Togo tomato trade training Tunisia Uganda UNCTAD urban farming value addition value-addition vanilla vegetables water management weeds West Africa wheat World Bank WTO yam Zambia Zanzibar zero tillage Zimbabwe

  © 2007 Africa News Network design by Ourblogtemplates.com

Back to TOP