The recovery of SA’s 2018/19 domestic wheat production will lead to a decline in imports this season, the Agricultural Business Chamber (Agbiz) says. However, the improvement in production will not be able to meet demand and thus SA is set to remain a net importer of wheat for the foreseeable future, the chamber said. This could keep driving food inflation up. According to the Reserve Bank, changes in domestic food prices have often been one of the principle drivers of inflation. Wheat is the second-most important grain crop produced in SA after maize. But local production averages 2.3-million tons, far below the levels of consumption. To meet demand, SA imports on average more than 1-million tons of wheat annually. According to Agbiz, which represents commercial farmers and agribusiness enterprises nationally, SA’s 2018/19 wheat imports could fall by 36% from the previous season to about 1.4-million tons. So far, the country has imported about 36% of the seasonal forecast. The lea...

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