South Africa’s agricultural import bill in 2021 was US$6,9 billion. The top five imported products that year were palm oil, rice, wheat, poultry meat as well as whiskies and other spirits.
The recently released data by Statistics South Africa showed that the country’s consumer food price inflation moderated to 6,6% y/y in March 2022 from 6,7% y/y in the previous month.
I want to make a few points about KwaZulu-Natal’s contribution to South Africa’s food sector and whether the country is at risk due to the provincial damages.
The deteriorating road infrastructure increases the transaction costs for farmers and agribusinesses, which have to shift their resources towards maintaining roads even though this is a public sector duty instead of investing time and capital in their businesses.
Since the Russia-Ukraine war started on the 24th of February, the global grains and oilseed supplies have remained a major focus for countries across the globe. The prices of essential commodities such as maize, wheat, palm oil, sunflowers seed, and soybeans have increased notably over the past few months.
In the last quarter of 2021, South Africa’s primary agricultural jobs increased by 7,1% from the corresponding period a year ago to 868 000, which is well above the long-term agricultural employment of 780 000.