In February 2018, South Africa’s cumulative agricultural exports were valued at R20.89 billion leading to a positive net trade of R3.736 billion. Agricultural exports were dominated by table grapes, stonefruit, wine, cuttlefish and tilapia. The top five destination markets for agricultural exports were the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Botswana, Namibia and Mozambique. Agricultural imports were led by wheat, rice, chicken meat and live cattle originating from China, Germany, Namibia and Brazil.

In the first two months of 2018, table grape exports were down by 4%  compared to the corresponding period last year. During the same period, plums and peaches were also down by 19.8% and 2.9% respectively. The declines can be attributed to the Western Cape’s drought that has affected the quantity and quality of fruit. A similar downward trend was observed in wine exports. Despite the decline in fruit and wine, positive export growths were observed for fish, oilseeds, sugar and others ensuring that the South Africa’s agricultural sector maintains a positive trade balance in February 2018.

In February 2018, agricultural imports declined by 5.1% compared to the corresponding period last year. Products such as wheat, rice, chicken meat and live cattle were dominating the agricultural imports but at a lesser intensity than the previous year. The top five suppliers of agricultural imports are China, Germany, Thailand, Namibia and Brazil. – Sifiso Ntombela, Agbiz

Source: raw data from SARS, analysed by Agbiz, 2018