South Africa: Understanding South Africa's Agriculture Trade Patterns

opinion

The prospects for South Africa's agricultural exports in 2020, particularly of maize, wine and fruit, are on the up. However, the red meat sector is an industry that is still on the back foot because of biosecurity concerns.

After reaching a record level of $10.6-billion in 2018, South Africa's agricultural exports fell by 8% year-on-year (y/y) in 2019 to $9.8-billion. This, however, was unsurprising as agricultural production data for 2019 showed a notable decline in a number of exportable commodities because of the drought.

The temporary ban on exports of livestock products and wool in 2019, following the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease at the start of the year, also contributed to the decline in exports. Be that as it may, the top exportable agricultural products for 2019 included citrus, wine, grapes, apples and pears, sugar, macadamia nuts, wool and maize.

Over the same period, South Africa's agricultural products imports declined by 4% y/y to $6.4-billion. This was underpinned by the decline in the import value of rice, meat, wheat and palm oil. But these products remained among the top imported agricultural products in value terms. Overall, this subsequently led to a 12% y/y decline in South Africa's agricultural trade surplus...

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