I am generally optimistic that South Africa’s food price inflation might not exceed an average of 5% y/y in 2021. The La Nina rains have boosted agricultural production – across all subsectors. For maize, which is essential and discussed extensively, we expect a harvest of 16,6 million tonnes (from 15,3 million tonnes in 2019/20). This will be the second-largest harvest on record and well above the Crop Estimates Committee’s estimate of 15,8 million tonnes.
South Africa is now ranked 69th most food-secure country out of 113 countries, from 44 (out of 113) in 2019. Technically, South Africa’s scoring dropped by just a point from last year’s position (scoring 57,8 down by 1,4 from 2019 in the Global Food Security Index). Still, other countries improved notably, resulting in a drop in South Africa’s ranking.
This paper proposes a theoretical enterprise development model of a Modified Agricultural Business Incubator (MABI) specifically tailored to South Africa’s agricultural sector’s developmental needs, both for primary producers and agri-processing businesses. This model is specifically designed to provide a supportive business environment for black agricultural business owners where a particular focus is placed on their developmental needs.
The 2020/2021 production season has so far been favourable, not just for SA but for most of Southern Africa, including Zimbabwe
South Africa could have its largest summer grain and oilseed harvest on record in 2020/21 production season
The data released this afternoon by the Crop Estimates Committee (CEC) show that South Africa’s 2020/21 summer grain and oilseed production could increase by 5% y/y to 18,5 million tonnes. While this is still the first production estimate for this season, with eight more to follow, this could be the largest on record if it materializes.
The Quarterly Labour Force Survey data show that South Africa’s primary agricultural jobs were down 8% year-on-year in the fourth quarter of 2020, with 810 209 people employed.
The Central Energy Fund’s preliminary estimates suggest that South Africa’s petrol (95 ULP inland) and diesel (0.05% wholesale inland) prices could increase by 57 cents per litre (c/l) and 48 (c/l), respectively, on 03 March 2021. This adjustment means the retail price of petrol could rise to R16,24 per litre from the current level of R15,67 per litre. Simultaneously, the wholesale diesel price could increase to R14,06 per litre from R13,58 per litre in February 2021.
South Africa is a food secure country at national levels. Still, the household level is food insecure, and the numbers increase because of the pandemic’s economic shock. There are risks to the country’s food security, which policymakers, farmers and agribusiness will need to monitor closely.
South Africa’s food price inflation softened to 5,6% y/y in January 2021, from 6,2% y/y in the previous month. The deceleration was in most product prices in the food basket except for bread and cereals, which accelerated from the levels seen in December 2020. Nevertheless, this was overshadowed by the slowing price inflation in meat; fish; milk, eggs and cheese; fruit; and vegetables.
The new African Free Continental Trade Area phases out 90% of tariffs on all goods traded between African Union member states over a 5-to-10-year period. This seeks to boost intra-African trade and investment in regional value chains. The current 41% share of SA agricultural exports that goes to Africa is concentrated in SADC. The opening of other markets presents an opportunity for further expansion in goods such as oranges, apples and wine.