Maize carries the agriculture economy in Q1 of 2021

Stats SA recently announced South Africa’s annualised GDP to have increased by 4.6% in the first quarter of 2021. Agricultural contribution was fairly silent in the stats growth but however, the reality was otherwise. 

“The agricultural sector performed relatively well in the first quarter of 2021, expanding by 7.5% in real terms compared to the first quarter in 2020” according to the Bureau of Food and Agriculture Policy (BFAP). 

For the remaining 2021 period, BFAP projected agriculture to grow by 7,6%. 

FNB Agri Economist Paul Makube concurred with this view and said agriculture GDP numbers will rebound in the subsequent quarters given the huge supply outlook, improved economic activity and strong exports. 

“Optimism is quite high in the sector as evidenced by the recent update on agriculture machinery sales with the year-to-date tractor and combine harvester sales both 24% ahead of last year” he added. 

The biggest contributor to agricultural GDP was the animal products (6% growth), field crops (33% higher) and horticulture (16%). 

Western Cape Department of Agriculture economist, Tshepo Morokong advanced that the Western Cape horticulture contributed significantly to the increase in agriculture GDP for the first quarter.

“The nominal agricultural gross income from rooibos tea (140%), deciduous and other fruits (16%), vegetables (6%), flowers and bulb (24%) show an increase when compared to the same quarter in 2020” said Morokong. 

The Western Cape Department of Agriculture, said its horticulture export volumes showed an increase in prunes and sloes (115%), peaches & nectarines (prepared) (67%), Peaches & Nectarines (Fresh) (34%) and berries (2%).

BFAP said maize was the largest contributor to the GPV of field crops and the growth was largely attributed to an increase in both output as well as prices. 

“Producer deliveries of white maize were 33% higher in Q1 of 2021 compared to Q1 2020. These largely comprise increased early deliveries, due to a much earlier start of planting of the 2021 cropping season” it said. 

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