Confidence and optimism buoy SA’s agriculture
Renewed optimism and agribusiness confidence is expected to shake off the adverse effects of policy and weather, says Agbiz’s Wandile Sihlobo
Despite some of the policy uncertainties such as land reform, the agricultural sector has generally been buoyed by a wave of renewed optimism and agribusiness confidence. In 2017 agricultural exports grew past $10bn for the first time, boosted by growth in exports of edible fruits, beverages, spirits, vegetables and grains, according to the Agriculture Business Chamber (Agbiz), an organisation that represents commercial farmers and agribusiness. SA’s agricultural sector recorded a positive trade balance of $3.3bn in 2017, which is also a record level in a dataset starting from 2001, Agbiz said. Food security SA is generally a net exporter of agricultural commodities and products. However, there are concerns that uncertainty concerning land reform could harm the agriculture sector and threaten food security. Parliament recently voted in favour of exploring the possibility of amending the Constitution to pave the way for the government to expropriate land without compensation — a move...