Farmersweekly reports that according to the latest trade data released by Statistics South Africa (Stats SA), in the second quarter of this year, South African agricultural exports increased by 12% month-on-month, or about R51 billion. Wandile Sihlobo, chief economist at Agbiz, attributed the growth to the sizeable agricultural output volume in the 2021/22 production season, and general solid global demand, even at higher maize prices.
Sihlobo predicted that the nation's agri exports would soften in the third and fourth quarters, resulting in total exports for the year being slightly lower than last year, yet in a positive balance. This is mainly due to the 2021/22 maize production of 15 million tonnes, which is expected to be 8% lower than the previous year, the impact of new EU plant safety regulations on citrus exports and the impact of foot-and-mouth disease on meat and wool exports.
The Russia-Ukraine war will also continue to impact trade, already resulting in the slowing down of citrus exports because of the loss of markets in the Black Sea region. On average, Russia accounted for 7% of South Africa’s citrus exports in value terms and 12% of South Africa’s pear and apple exports.