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South African Business 2023

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The 2023 Guide to Business and Investment in South Africa.

OVERVIEW Agriculture

OVERVIEW Agriculture Citrus exports have finally made it to China. SECTOR INSIGHT Agriculture employs about 844 000 people. The first consignment of Eastern Cape lemons destined for China is given a last inspection at Maydon Wharf Fruit Terminal in Durban. Credit: Citrus Growers’ Association of Southern Africa National citrus exports have grown by more than 40% in the past decade to about R20-billion per year. The Citrus Growers’ Association of Southern Africa forecasts an increase from the current 150-million 15kg cartons to 200-million in the next five years, and this is projected to grow still further to 255-million by 2030. February 2022 marked an important milestone for the citrus industry because it was in that month that a first shipment of lemons was loaded onto ships from the fruit terminal in Durban harbour en route to China. The long and complicated procedure of becoming compliant with health and import procedures started with work done by Citrus Research International (CRI) scientists in 2013. CRI and the National Department Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development hosted scientists from China in 2015 and negotiations have continued ever since. South African citrus growers spend R150-million annually on research which is then used by the DALRRD in their international negotiations. In this case, it paid off with a R325-million deal which has the potential to grow exponentially. South Africa hopes to eclipse Argentina and Chile as suppliers of lemons to China, targeting 25 000 tons of lemons to that country by 2024. Exports of grapefruit, oranges and soft citrus to China totalled 130 000 tons in 2020. More good news from South-East Asia came in the form of a first consignment of citrus fruit being accepted into the Philippines. The citrus industry has been identified in the National Development Plan as a priority sector because it employs many people and it can improve the country’s balance of payments. South Africa is the world’s second-largest exporter of citrus fruit. A national export record was achieved in 2020, with 146-million cartons of fresh citrus being exported (second only to Spain). The CGA’s Grower Development Company has pledged to invest R141-million to empower growers struggling to break even between 2021 and 2024 through its Enterprise Development Grant Fund. This year, R40-million was allocated to 72 recipients across the country to mostly help with the procurement of key production inputs, including fertiliser and other agrochemicals. There are many opportunities in Africa for exports of fruits which do not quite match EU standards but which are nonetheless perfectly good products. SOUTH AFRICAN BUSINESS 2023 42

OVERVIEW International pressures Agriculture, forestry and fishing made good progress in terms of GDP growth for two years. The fourth quarter of 2021 showed 12.2% growth and the year-on-year figure for 2020 was 13.4%, followed in 2021 by 8.3%. The soybean harvest in 2020/21 was the country’s best ever, and maize had its second-best harvest on record. But the hope that post-Covid would result in even better results has not come to pass. Unusually heavy rains, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the bad performance of the railways and ports in terms of exporting South African produce and Eskom’s inability to supply a reliable stream of electricity, are some of the headwinds that the sector had to deal with in 2022. Russia used to take 7% of South African citrus exports, and 12% of the country’s exported apples and pears. Omnia reported in June 2022 that it had sufficient stocks of fertilisers to sell to farmers, despite the disruption in supply caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the sanctions which followed against Russia, the world’s biggest exporter of fertilisers. Omnia, which owns a fleet of trucks and rail transport which allows it to control the supply chain process, is experiencing a growth in sales of its biological and organic products as an alternative to fertilisers. While agriculture’s contribution to national GDP is variously given in the range of 2.0%-2.5%, the upstream and downstream links to agriculture through processing and logistics mean that the real contribution is more like 15%. AgriSA states that the amount of agricultural land in South Africa in 2016 stood at 93.5-million hectares. This represents 76.3% of South Africa’s total land mass of 122.5-million hectares and about 3% less than in 1994. A total of 70% of South Africa’s grain production is maize, which covers 60% of the cropping area of the country. KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga produce sugar, but volumes are down. The Free State Province supplies significant proportions of the nation’s sorghum, sunflower, potatoes, groundnuts, dry beans, and almost all of its cherries. South Africa is famous for its fruit, of which 35% is citrus, 23% subtropical and nuts, 26% pome fruit, 11% stone fruit and 9% table grapes. Most of South Africa’s citrus and subtropical fruit comes from the eastern part of Limpopo. There are about 3 500 wine producers in ONLINE RESOURCES Agricultural Research Council: www.arc.agric.za Grain SA: www.grainsa.co.za SA Table Grape Industry: www.satgi.co.za South African Berry Producers’ Association: www.berriesza.co.za Dairy equipment to cope with increased milk volumes. Credit: Tetra Pak Group South Africa, with the majority located in the Western Cape. The Eastern Cape is the largest livestock province, which includes Angora goats, from whom mohair is taken. The province is the centre of the country’s mohair value chain. South Africa has a beef herd of 14-million. South Africa’s milk producers normally produce about 3.3-billion litres of milk every year (Milk Producers Association). The decision by processing and packaging company Tetra Pak to spend R500-million on expanding capacity at its packaging material plant in Pinetown indicates an uptick in agricultural production. The new plant allows the company to increase its local content to 80% and to make the Pinetown plant a production hub for the region. Among the companies clients are dairy companies such as Clover and Woodlands Dairy which package milk for major retailers. ■ 43 SOUTH AFRICAN BUSINESS 2023

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