December 6, 2019

Latest:

De Jager Booysen a regional winner in Corobrik Architecture Awards -

Friday, November 29, 2019

Gauteng’s R100 billion plan to build 30 new cities -

Friday, November 29, 2019

Steyn City pumps a further R5.5bn into new infrastructure and flagship project -

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Horticulture is blooming, but there’s still room for growth -

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Durban beachfront promenade gets R380m extension -

Friday, November 22, 2019

Company’s Garden tree crowned a champion -

Friday, November 22, 2019

Extinct pea family fountain bush rediscovered 200 years later in Tulbagh -

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Make your mark on the wall -

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Changing the landscape of shopping at Ferndale on Republic -

Friday, November 15, 2019

Concrete hills conceal bicycle racks in Copenhagen public plaza -

Friday, November 15, 2019

Winners announced for The Future Park Design Ideas Competition -

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Pro Landscaper Africa November 2019 Issue is Live! -

Friday, November 8, 2019

INTERGOVERNMENTAL BLITZ OPERATION -

Friday, September 27, 2019

New Sandton skyscraper is the tallest building in Africa – it offers a view of Magaliesberg -

Friday, September 27, 2019

Growthpoint’s ambitious Sandton Summit plan -

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

SA billionaire Koos Bekker spent millions on an estate in the UK – take a look -

Friday, September 20, 2019

Durban aerotropolis masterplan expected to attract R1tn in investment -

Friday, September 20, 2019

Apply for the Urban Sustainability Internship Programme -

Friday, September 20, 2019

South African Heritage Highlights In One Easy Destination At Vergelegen -

Monday, September 16, 2019

R240m Sterling Industrial Park nears completion -

Friday, September 13, 2019

Horticulture is blooming, but there’s still room for growth

Written By Wandile Sihlobo for The Daily Maverick . Click here for original

Horticulture has boosted employment in the agricultural sector, which needs to be more focused on exporting to untapped markets.

The expansion in most agricultural subsectors in South Africa has been export-driven, particularly in the horticultural sector. This sector is labour-intensive, and the expansion also brought jobs. 

This somewhat compensated for the dwindling labour participation trend in other agricultural subsectors over the past few decades due to technology advancement and consolidation of farms. The gains in horticulture have largely been the reason South Africa’s agricultural jobs have been stable over the past decade, bringing the average number employed in the industry to 767,000 between 2008 and 2018.

Of late, a number of policymakers, including President Cyril Ramaphosa, have expressed a desire to see agriculture continuing to play a pivotal role in rural economic growth and job creation through increased production. 

While boosting production is conceivable if the focus is not only on boosting productivity on active farms, but expands to areas that have under-utilised land – Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, and Limpopo, among others – there needs to be an equal effort in opening up new markets. This is something South Africa has done well over the past few years, but now we need to expand beyond the destinations where we currently participate.

To illustrate this point – in 2018, South Africa’s agricultural exports amounted to $10.6-billion, a record level. This was underpinned by increased exports of oranges, grapes, wine, maize, apples, wool, lemons, mandarins and pears, among other products. About two-thirds of these exports went to Africa and Europe. 

Asia is also an important market for South Africa’s agricultural exports and accounted for a 25% export share in 2018. This is a region where South Africa can still push the button a bit more to expand its footprint.

Within Asia, the countries that have been purchased a large share of South Africa’s agricultural produce included China, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Bangladesh, South Korea, and Taiwan. 

India, whose agricultural imports have nearly doubled over the past decade – from $11.2 billion in 2009 to $21.2 billion in 2018 – is down on the list of Asian countries that import agricultural products from South Africa. 

Yet, if one looks into Asia’s leading agricultural products importers, India is ranked second after China. The growth in India’s agricultural imports has, in part, been driven by population growth and rising incomes. 

The products that underpinned this tremendous growth in India’s agricultural and food imports included palm oil, soybean oil, sunflower seeds, coconuts, cashew nuts, cotton, sugar, apples, dates, greasy wool, whiskey, coffee, and grapes.

Its leading agricultural suppliers over the past few years have consistently included Indonesia, Ukraine, the US, Argentina, Malaysia, Brazil, China, Australia, Singapore, and Afghanistan. 

South Africa, although a key producer and exporter of some of the aforementioned products (namely greasy wool, sugar, apples and grapes), doesn’t feature even on the top 40 countries supplying agricultural products to India. 

In 2018, South Africa was ranked the 46th largest supplier of agricultural products to India by value, accounting for a mere 0.3% of the $21.2- billion worth of India’s agricultural imports. The key agricultural products that South Africa exported to India were pears, dog and cat food, greasy wool, oranges, apples, maize seed for sowing, cotton, and mandarins.

It is time South Africa starts to explore possible ways of boosting its exports to India, especially as the two Brics countries are increasingly becoming warm towards each other from a political and diplomatic point of view.

Agricultural business leaders are keen to participate in the Indian market, but for that to happen, the South African government will have to engage with its Indian counterpart to resolve existing non-tariff barriers that hinder participation, specifically for horticulture products. All this will be in the spirit of boosting South Africa’s agricultural economy. We need to have the same zeal for creating export markets as we do for boosting production across South Africa. DM

Wandile Sihlobo is chief economist of the Agricultural Business Chamber of SA (Agbiz)

Comments are closed.