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Agriculture drives economic growth


Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

The minister of agriculture, land reform and rural development, Thoko Didiza, has welcomed the latest figures released by Statistics South Africa on the gross domestic product (GDP) for the second quarter of 2023. The figures show that the agricultural sector was once again one of the biggest contributors to the country’s economic growth, growing by 4,2%.

This growth is significant, as it signifies the importance and influence of the agricultural sector in South Africa’s economy. The sector is a major employer, providing jobs for millions of South Africans, and it is also a major source of food and export revenue.

Read more about the Western Cape’s food economic recovery and food security plans here.

The strong growth in the agricultural sector is being driven by a number of factors, including a good harvest of summer grains and oilseeds commodities, and solid horticultural exports. In the second quarter of 2023, South Africa exported agricultural products worth R60,2 billion, which is almost 13% higher than the corresponding period last year. Currently, the country is expected to harvest 16,4 million tons of maize and approximately 743 000 tons of sunflower, a crop size that will bode well for consumers, as food inflation will subside. Already in July 2023, food inflation had receded to 9,9%, providing much-needed relief to consumers.

Minister Didiza attributed the growth in agriculture to the increasing footprint of South Africa’s agricultural products in the international markets. She said that the government is committed to investing resources in opening new export markets while maintaining trade relations with existing markets.

In August 2023, the minister secured new export markets for avocados, beef and other animal products to countries such as Saudi Arabia and China. She said that the government will continue to drive new export opportunities in order to grow a competitive, resilient and export-oriented agriculture. The strong growth in the agricultural sector is a positive sign for the South African economy. It shows that the sector is resilient and can weather the challenges of a global economic slowdown. The government’s commitment to investing in the sector is also a positive development, and it is likely to lead to further growth in the years to come. – Press release, Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development

Absa Agribusiness carefully optimistic about sector’s economic prospects

Absa Agribusiness’ latest market report indicates that there is slight reason for optimism regarding agricultural export produce, such as citrus, meat and macadamias. Marlene Louw, senior economist at Absa Agribusiness, said this during a media appreciation breakfast in Pretoria.

“During the Covid 19 pandemic, Chinese consumers saved aggressively and added an additional US$2,5 trillion (R45,29 trillion) to their savings,” Louw said. “The question now is: When they start spending these savings, what will they be spending it on?”

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