The Xchange Platform Agricultural Market Viewpoint with Wandile Sihlobo

Agricultural Market Viewpoint with Wandile Sihlobo

Agricultural Market Viewpoint with Wandile Sihlobo
Weekly English South Africa Investing · Food Narrated by Sam Mkokeli, Richard Humpries
36 Episodes
1 – 20

Sentiments in SA agriculture

This week we discuss sentiments in SA agriculture and agribusiness. This is an important matter because it influences the long-term investment path and growth of the sector. The sentiments in agriculture are measured through the Agbiz/IDC Agribusiness Confidence Index (ACI). In its recent reading, after a 4-point decline in Q4…
26 Mar 17 min

How South Africa may leverage the BRICS chair for agribusiness

Despite BRICS not being a trade bloc, its economic cooperation arrangement offers South Africa a strategic platform to advance its trade interests. The agricultural sector is interested in this grouping, mainly in advancing exports into China and India. These countries already import a sizable volume and value of agricultural products…
20 Mar 14 min

A conversation with Eugene Willemsen of PepsiCo

This past week I sat down with Eugene Willemsen. Eugen is the Chief Executive Officer for Africa, Middle East and South Asia (AMESA) at PepsiCo. With a rich career spanning over 27 years in PepsiCo, Eugene has risen through the ranks to steer the AMESA region valued at $6.1B in…
13 Mar 17 min

Positive outlook for SA summer crops

The start of South Africa's 2022/23 summer crop production season was challenging for farmers and agricultural role players because of excessive rains. Crop planting in various regions of the country was delayed by roughly a month, threatening yield prospects. But the warm weather at the end of January and much…
6 Mar 13 min

Policies ripe for implementation in SA agriculture

There is so much in the implementation pipeline of South Africa’s agriculture policy this year. The past four years have largely seen various initiatives that sought to inject confidence in the sector. These are now ripe for implementation, especially ahead of the 2024 general elections. A major development in recent…
27 Feb 13 min

Solid exports in SA agriculture

Despite various headwinds throughout the year, South Africa's agriculture exports for 2022 did not decline as much as some feared. Data for the first eleven months of the year show exports at a cumulative US$11,9 billion, up by 3% from the same period in 2021. Moreover, US$11,9 billion is the…
20 Feb 15 min

With Dr. Johnny van der Merwe on grains

I was on a call with Dr Johnny can der Merwe, an agricultural economist at North West University discussing the grain markets, and we decided to record the chart and release the audio here. Broadly, we are both optimistic about South Africa’s 2022/23 grain and oilseed production conditions, and see…
13 Feb 20 min

SA maize and wine outlook

The latest harvest news in wine grapes and maize paints a mixed outlook for these two subsectors. In this week’s podcast, we explore the production conditions in these separate subsectors, and the outlook for the harvest. First, South Africa’s wine grapes for this year are projected to be lower than…
6 Feb 17 min

El Nino on the horizon

As the deepening energy crisis continues to present problems for different parts of the agricultural sector, another major challenge that could confront South Africa's agricultural sector in a few months is a change in weather conditions from favourable rains to drier and hot conditions. This would be a switch from…
30 Jan 17 min

Energy crisis now a food security risk

There is probably no issue more urgent than the worsening energy crisis for South Africa's agriculture and agribusinesses. Farmers who rely on irrigation have all expressed concerns that persistent loadshedding negatively affects production. In crucial field crops, roughly 20% of maize, 15% of soybean, 34% of sugarcane and nearly half…
23 Jan 17 min

Crumbling basic infrastructure limits agriculture and tourism

The interlinked problems of poverty, unemployment and weak economic activity continue to plague rural towns and communities in SA. However, the two industries that could help ease some of these challenges — agriculture and tourism — face various constraints that limit their growth potential. Beyond the big topics of ambiguous…
16 Jan 17 min

The State of SA Countryside

My annual December drive from Pretoria to the Wild Coast in the Eastern Cape always allows me to assess South Africa's agricultural conditions after the first few months of the summer season. Whether one enjoys this trip largely depends on weather conditions. In drought seasons like in 2015, this could…
9 Jan 15 min

Key trends in SA agriculture in 2023

Happy new year folks, South Africa's agriculture will likely have a downbeat start into 2023. The gross agricultural value added for 2022, which will be released in March, will probably show a mild contraction. This would be a notable shift from two consecutive years of solid growth, with the sector…
1 Jan 12 min

Jobs in SA agriculture

In this week’s segment, agricultural economist Wandile Sihlobo reflects on South Africa’s agricultural jobs data for the third quarter of 2022. Although South Africa's agricultural sector faced numerous challenges in the 2021/22 production season – from tough production conditions in grains and oilseeds, disease outbreaks in livestock, and trade barriers…
25 Dec 2022 15 min

SA tractor sales decline in November 2022

In this week’s segment, agricultural economist Wandile Sihlobo reflects on South Africa’s agricultural machinery sales. After registering positive growth since May 2020, South Africa’s tractor sales fell by 5% year-on-year in November 2022, with 704 units sold. Still, the current sales are well above the long-term monthly average of 565…
18 Dec 2022 14 min

SA agricultural exports up 10% in Q3

In this week’s segment, agricultural economist Wandile Sihlobo reflects on South Africa’s agricultural trade for the third quarter of 2023. South Africa's agricultural trade data paint an encouraging picture, although the sector continues to struggle with poor roads network and inefficiencies in some rail networks and ports. On the latter,…
11 Dec 2022 16 min

Resilience of SA agriculture

In this week's segment, I focus on critical events shaping South Africa's agriculture and performance. I expect a mild contraction in the gross value added following two years of solid growth. Still, it is essential to note that overall activity has remained strong, and the sector has maintained its core…
6 Dec 2022 20 min

Land Reform in South Africa

In this week’s special segment, agricultural economist Wandile Sihlobo speaks with Professor Johann Kirsten, Director of the Bureau for Economic Research, Stellenbosch University, about an article he co-authored with him on South Africa’s land reform. Here is an extract: South Africa’s land reform policy remains highly contested. But, in our…
30 Nov 2022 28 min

Optimism about SA maize harvest

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) 's Pretoria office is a key institution and it is worthwhile to keep an eye on their views. They recently released an updated view of South Africa's 2022/23 maize production season, leaning strongly towards the views of South Africa's Crop Estimates Committee (CEC)…
28 Nov 2022 17 min

Heavy rains in SA agriculture

In this week’s podcast segment, agricultural economist Wandile Sihlobo shares his observations of how the heavy rains in South Africa influence farm activity. He provides granular insights into each agricultural subsector. For example, the rains have had a mixed impact on fruits, where Banana and macadamia fields were distracted in…
23 Nov 2022 17 min
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