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With 2021 set to present even larger yields than 2020 for SA’s major field crops, horticulture and wine, it is plausible that exports could also surpass last year’s second-largest export earnings record of $10.2bn. In the first quarter of 2021, SA’s agricultural exports amounted to $2.9bn, a 28% year-on-year increase. The size of the increase is partly because of base effects, as the first quarter of 2020 was hit by Covid-related disruptions to global supply chains, but the growth also reflects a rising export performance for various products.

In the first quarter of 2021, the top exportable products were fresh grapes, groundnut oil, maize, wine, greasy wool, fresh plums, pears and apples, and maize meal. These products are likely to dominate the export list throughout the year, as production promises to exceed 2020’s levels. For example, SA Wine Industry Information and Systems forecasts the 2021 wine grape crop at 1.5-million tonnes, 9% larger than the 2020 harvest. This is ...

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