There may be more water in SA’s well this season, but consumers are unlikely to feel the effects until at least the third quarter, agricultural economists say. While the El Niño weather pattern that devastated the agricultural industry ended in June last year, its effects will continue to be felt in varying degrees for at least two years, despite the appearance of the La Niña phenomenon, which is associated with wet conditions. In its Agricultural Outlook 2017 report, Absa says rainfall predictions for the coming season have improved substantially and early indications are that the drought will soon be something of the past. However, Absa says the cumulative effect of the drought will still have a negative effect on the new season "even if good rains fall". Agricultural Business Chamber head of economic and agribusiness intelligence Wandile Sihlobo says food inflation is likely to remain high in the first few months of the year and will slowly start to decline once the first harvest...

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