A leading economist after the release of the latest export data said, “The future of the South African agriculture sector is bright, with the potential for more exports, job creation and economic growth.”
Africa’s Agricultural Exports
As per Paul Makube, senior agricultural economist at FNB-Agribusiness, South Africa’s agricultural sector has shown resilience and witnessed another year of strong exports in 2022 despite facing various challenges. As per the latest export data, a 4% year-on-year jump has been seen in foreign agricultural earnings to a value of $12.8 billion which is a record high underpinned by strong commodity pricing.
According to Makube, various trade distortions, challenges in logistics, disruption in weather patterns, rise in interest rates, higher costs of inputs and Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) outbreak which temporarily halted exports were witnessed in 2022.
Due to the globally known FMD, recognised by the World Organisation for Animal Health, wool exports to China were temporarily halted. Also, new rules were imposed in Mzansi’s biggest citrus market on false codling moth which is despite the already existent rigorous control measures and has significantly added to the cost to producers.
Great Expectations For Exports
Due to a high demand for quality and affordable agricultural produce as the global economy recovers, a positive outlook for exports remains significant. Makube also stressed that due to a decline in shipping costs, export volumes could rebound in the coming year. He also said that the agricultural exports sector could greatly benefit with the further opening of new export markets and digitally enabled trade and that the strong foundations of the sector could grow and build as it has in the recent years.
He stated “The future of the sector is bright, with the potential for more exports, job creation and economic growth. The sector has the ability to overcome challenges and maintain its position as a significant contributor to GDP and a key employer in rural areas.”
The economy runs due to the crucial role played by the agricultural sector due to the sector’s ability to overcome challenges and with strong exports, substantial future growth and development can be witnessed. According to Makube, the key to the sector’s success is its resilience and ability to adapt to changing circumstances.
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