SA agricultural exports remained robust in Q2,2023

South Africa's agricultural exports amounted to US$3.4 billion in the second quarter of this year, up by 0,1% y/y. Despite challenges in key export markets such as the EU in the case of citrus, the products that dominated the export list this quarter were citrus, maize, apples and pears, wine, sugar, soybeans, wool, avocados, pineapples, fruit juices, nuts, and grapes. Importantly, this good export performance was not only a function of price but also improved volumes.

The prices of some agricultural products have declined notably from the 2022 levels. The improvement in agricultural exports also partly demonstrates the results of continued collaboration between the industry and Transnet to improve the logistics at the ports. However, more work is needed to improve the efficiencies.

The South African agricultural industry has established forums to continuously engage with Transnet and enhance communication about problems at the ports so that the response could be swift to drive the exports of high-value and perishable products.

From a regional perspective, the African continent remained the largest market for South Africa's agricultural exports, accounting for 36% of the exports in the second quarter of 2023. Asia and the Middle East were the second largest region, with a 30% share.

The EU was the third largest region, accounting for 18% of the agricultural exports, with the Americas region at 6%. The UK remained one of the largest single markets for South Africa's agricultural exports, accounting for 7% of the exports in the second quarter. The remaining 3% was spread to other various regions of the world.

Regarding imports, South Africa's agricultural imports fell by 6% y/y in the second quarter of this year to US$1,8 billion. The products that still dominate the import list are rice, wheat, palm oil, whiskeys, and poultry.

The whiskeys, wheat and poultry products were the main drivers of the decline in the value of imports in the first half of the year. Overall, South Africa had an agricultural trade surplus of US$1,6 billion in the first half of 2023, up 9% y/y.

We discuss more in this week's podcast segment.

My writing on agricultural economic matters is available on my blog:

Podcast production by: Lwandiso Gwarubana, Richard Humphries, and Sam Mkokeli
11 Sep English South Africa Investing · Food

Other recent episodes

Food prices in South Africa

Food inflation has been topical over the past few months, and South Africa saw double-digit levels from mid-2022 to mid-2023. This was not unique to South Africa but a global phenomenon underpinned by various factors, including drought in South America, China's strong demand for grains and oilseed, higher energy prices,…
27 Nov 14 min

SA farm jobs up

The solid production conditions in South Africa's agricultural sector continue to be reflected in the employment data. For example, the data released today by Statistics South Africa showed that in the third quarter of 2023, about 956 000 people were employed in primary agriculture, up 10% year-on-year (and 7% quarter-on-quarter)…
21 Nov 12 min

Biosecurity challenges in SA agriculture

One aspect that remains a major challenge for the domestic animal farming sector and has been raised by our members in various engagements for some time is the weaknesses in South Africa's biosecurity system. Admittedly, biosecurity breaches are not uniquely South African and have become a significant challenge globally. We…
13 Nov 12 min

Prospects for solid summer crop harvest in SA in 2023/24 season

Although El Niño is on our doorstep, we have generally held an optimistic view about South Africa's 2023/24 summer grains and oilseed production season. The excellent soil moisture from the past rainy seasons and prospects of rainfall throughout 2023 have convinced us that there may still be decent summer grain…
30 Oct 12 min

South Africa's food security conditions

October 16th marks World Food Day, a celebration of the founding of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization in 1945. This day is also an opportunity for countries to reflect on their food security conditions and efforts to boost agricultural production. Thus, today, we revisit an aspect we discussed…
23 Oct 12 min