Agriculture defies COVID-19 challenges



JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) SOUTH Africa’s agricultural sector has maintained resilience to the ongoing coronavirus- related challenges across the globe.

Agriculture was able to operate during the various lockdown periods due to it being considered an essential service.

Favourable weather also allowed for an excellent agriculture season, which saw record crops across most commodities with the grain and oilseed crop topping 17,07 million tons, which is almost 2 percent higher year-on-year.

Paul Makube, Senior Agricultural Economist at First National Bank (FNB) Agri-Business, noted that despite logistical challenges, the sector managed to move hefty quantity of produce to the rest of the world with the second quarter of 2021 recording a trade surplus of US$1,5 million, which is 40 percent ahead of the same period in 2020.

This follows a 36 percent year-on-year spike in total agriculture exports in quarter two of 2021 at $3,2 billion, bringing the total first half 2021 export value to $6.1 billion, which is 30 percent higher year on year.

The major export commodity is citrus which saw volumes rising exponentially due to seasonal availability in second quarter 2021 to 817,023 tons, which is up 1,6 percent yearly, according to the TradeMap data.

This brought the first half 2021 total citrus exports to 852,964 tons, which is up 0,7 percent yearly.

“Strong demand on export markets due to the health benefits associated with citrus commodities in the wake of the COVID-19 global crisis underpinned the good export performance,” Makube said.

In value terms, second quarter 2021 citrus export revenue reached $626,585, which is 14,2 percent higher yearly.

The first half 2021 cumulative total rose by 12,2 percent yearly to $655,946.

The Citrus Growers Association (CGA) lately pegged its estimate of the country’s citrus exports 155,3 million cartons (15kg cartons) in its which is still way above the 2020 volumes.

Meanwhile, South Africa is likely to post another good agriculture season for 2021/22 if the recent weather forecasts of another La Nina year.

La Nina is characterized by above normal rainfall conditions in Southern Africa.

– CAJ News



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