South Africa’s agricultural sector will end 2021 on a ‘positive note’ after bumper harvests and increased exports.
Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Minister Thoko Didiza said on Thursday that analysts’ estimates suggest South Africa could reach record exports of around R73 billion this year.
That would exceed 2020 agricultural exports by around 160 billion rand, which was the second highest on record, and may even exceed the record 2018 exports, which were 167 billion rand.
“Exports and markets are diversified, which testifies to the overall performance of agricultural production and export markets,” Minister Didiza said.
She said that although the country of South Africa faces higher unemployment in many sectors, agriculture is one of the sectors of the economy that contributes to employment opportunities.
“What is encouraging is that in the third quarter of 2021, agricultural employment increased 3% year-on-year to 829,000, which is well above long-term agricultural employment of 780,000.” , she said.
Industry players are optimistic about economic conditions in the country, as evidenced by the results of the Agbiz / IDC Agribusiness Confidence Index in the last quarter of the year, which, at 74, is the second highest level since its inception in 2001.
The minister said that around the same time last year, the department had successfully concluded lengthy negotiations with the Philippines while there was also better market access for South African lemons to China.
“With local lemon production expected to increase by 175,000 tonnes by 2024, this protocol is timely for South African farmers. As recently as December 13, 2021, we signed a protocol with China on the export of pears. “
Minister Didiza said the ministry would build on this optimism in the coming year, in particular with “our master plan for agriculture and agribusiness, which has progressed well after several rounds of negotiations. and consultations between government, business and workers “.