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Agriculture has its fair share of challenges, but I try to find uplifting domestic and regional developments to discuss. This week, agricultural trade was in my cross hairs. For context, I recently reflected on the positive trade performance in calendar 2017, when South Africa's agricultural exports surpassed $10-billion (about R134-billion) for the first time, boosted by growth in exports of edible fruits, beverages, spirits, vegetables, grains and other farm products. The $10.01-billion figure represented a 15% year-on-year increase from $8.7-billion. In the same period, imports increased by 5% year on year, reaching $6.7-billion, particularly driven by wheat and rice. Africa and Europe were the largest destinations for agricultural exports, collectively absorbing 67% of total exports last year in value terms. Asia was also an important market, taking 24%. The Americas accounted for just 5%. Good start to the year The first quarter of this year started on a positive footing, with ...

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