SA’s big agricultural story for 2017 is the impressive rebound from the 2016 El Nino-induced drought. Maize and soybean harvests were the highest in history in 2017, recorded at 17.4-million tonnes and 1.32-million tonnes, respectively. The recovery, however, has not been limited to these crops; all summer grains, oilseeds, vegetables and livestock performed relatively well compared to 2016. This was mainly due to good summer rainfall, an increased planting area and improved farming practices. The agricultural sector’s contribution to the economy grew by double digits in the first three quarters of the year. The most notable of the growth, the 44.2% quarter-on-quarter growth in the third quarter, led to a 0.9 percentage point contribution to the overall economic growth of 2.0% quarter on quarter in the period. Consumers were the chief beneficiaries of the improvements after staple grains and vegetable prices fell by more than a third from 2016’s levels.In November, overall food and ...

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