The timing could not have been better: in a year in which the maize crop is expected to more than double the previous year’s yield, three agribusinesses have listed on public exchanges.

Senwes, TWK Investments and Zeder’s Kaap Agri give investors the previously unavailable opportunity to gain exposure to the primary agriculture sector.

And agribusinesses are likely to enjoy a relatively better year, given downward pressure on crop prices from a bumper harvest, says Wandile Sihlobo, head of economic and agribusiness research at the Agricultural Business Chamber (Agbiz). Grain prices are down by a factor of 60%, with agribusinesses continuing to hold an optimistic view regarding business activity in SA. Sihlobo says. The Agbiz/Industrial Development Corp’s Agribusiness Confidence Index contracted only marginally in the second quarter to 56, staying in expansionary territory. Agrisector confidence is underpinned by good weather conditions in large parts of SA, which bodes well for crop production. This will also boost agriculture’s contribution to gross domestic product in 2017, with the harvest expected to last until at least May next year, says Sihlobo. He cautions, however, that global climate forecasters are predicting the likely return of El Niño, which could lead to another drought at the end of 2017. This woul...

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