Yearly vegetable price trends continuously show an upward trend at all South Africa’s fresh produce markets.
In its 2019/2020 Annual Report, the South African National Seed Organisation (SANSOR) ascribed this growth to newer vegetable varieties being released all the time.
“Since 2015 the market has shown significant growth of which 45% which can be attributed to bigger volumes of seed used, and increases in seed prices” commented David Malan, SANSOR’s Chair for Horticulture Division Committee.
Week in week, potatoes and tomatoes far outperformed other vegetables. They had accelerated by 8.2% and 1.2% respectively and ‘sharply higher by 39% and 69% year-on-year (y/y) at R5.23/ kg and R7.63/ kg’ said FNB agricultural economist, Paul Makube.
Malan further said that tomatoes were one of the biggest contributors to vegetable seed sales, second being onions. Even by Stats SA food price monitor, onions, potatoes and tomatoes year on year showed higher volumes per kg.
The growth sales of these products have often eluded market agents, traders, vendors alike. By SANSOR claims, it had to do with seed varieties produced that improved crop yields, food quality and safety.
“Beetroot sales increased by 18% in 2019, probably because of the new Rhizomania resistant varieties that offer a substantial benefit to the farmers with a commensurate increase in seed price” Malan added.
Consumers were also ever growing conscious about the food they ate due to health benefits. Broccoli sales grew by 31% indicating a shift in consumer food preference.
SANSOR’s role in the agronomy space is not only impressive but its commitment to research and development has positioned South Africa to be one of the leaders in export of vegetables.
Trading Economics recorded exports of vegetable products in RSA to have increased to “9916.48 ZAR Million in June from 7002.39 ZAR Million in May of 2020.”
SANSOR was the sole agent that collected levies on varieties owned by the Agricultural Research Council (ARC), with a strong 124 membership of seed companies.
With the seed varieties sold by its members, SANSOR expected the vegetable seed market to increase its market share in 2020.
Malan added: “vegetable seed production continues to increase in South Africa and now constitutes 36% of the total value of seed sales in South Africa.”