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In a column on September 4 2019 (https://www.businesslive.co.za/bd/opinion/columnists/2019-09-04-wandile-sihlobo-rainfall-outlook-spells-good-news-for-southern-african-crop-production/), I noted that SA farmers have had one of the toughest years because of the combined effects of drought and animal disease that affected production and trade. But this is only one side of the story. Another side of the story relates to agricultural input costs, which, positively, have been relatively contained compared to this time a year ago.

To recap, in September 2018, SA farmers faced an average 20% year-on-year increase in fertiliser prices and a more than R1/litre increase in diesel price. In 2019, however, the local fertiliser prices were down by 9% year-on-year on average in August, according to data from Grain SA...

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