Q2 labour force survey released by Stats SA indicated that showed unemployed to have reached 34%. But according to the BFAP, for agriculture, looking exclusively at farm jobs, “the number of jobs increased by 12%.”
Despite the calamity visited by the unrests, the Agricultural Business Chamber had identified a number of positive factors that underpinned the economic performance of agriculture. According to Dr John Purchase tractor sales had showed positive sentiment all around and with grain prices holding steady.
Talking of grains, Pieter Taljaard took over the reins from at Grains SA as off 1 September 2021 and echoed positive message. “Everybody in agriculture must think together, work together and really take ownership of the enormous social challenges we have. This is everyone’s problem – whether you own land or not, whether you are in agriculture or not – all sections of the economy are threatened” (Graan SA Magazine). Will the new broom sweep all clutter and pull the grain industry together? Only time will tell, but all the best to Taljaard.
According to ABSA Agri Trends, the Crop Estimates Committee had revised the total commercial maize production down by 0.70% on the back of “decreased white maize production forecast however the 2020/21 season still maintains the second-largest maize crop.” The local wheat prices also saw an increase of 3.59% week to week buoyed by favourable weather conditions in the Western Cape according to Abrie Rautenbach et al.
On the global footprint, beef exporters have enjoyed higher returns by 46% with Asian tigers Korea, Japan, China/Hong Kong showing strong demand. Beef exports to these countries increased year to June from 551 106 tons to 88.443 tons according to FNB AGRI WEEKLY analysis. “Domestically, we still observe a relatively elevated trend in prices across the livestock complex under review except for the pig market which saw some deceleration lately with porker prices already in negative territory relative to the 2020 levels” said senior agriculture economist Paul Makube.
Strangely, the NAMC Farm to Retail Price Spreadsheet told a different picture. “The real FTRPS of class A2/A3 beef increased by 3.41% during the second quarter (May – July 2021) and reached 44.26% in July 2021. The real farm value share of beef decreased by 3.18% during the second quarter of 2021 to reach R48.98/kg in July 2021.” The gap between FTRPS and farm value share was something that needed to be addressed and inspected dutifully without dwelling into speculations.
In the last week of August, Citrus Growers Association reported that 80% of its predicted 2021 export volume was now packed and had passed for export. Justin Chadwick said grapefruit was all done and by Week 33 of the export season “saw a record 4.8 million cartons of citrus being produced in the northern regions culminating in high truck arrivals to Durban port.” By week 34, the number of trucks transporting Citrus to the Durban port had increase with the situation at the port now normalising. After twenty years of service at CGA, Justin Chadwick was taking a ten-week sabbatical and in his place the CGA Board appointed Paul Hardman.
The fourth sale of wool selling season commenced in Port Elizabeth on 14 September with 3 747 bales on offer. According to Cape Wools, the market delivered a positive increase of 3.1% in US$ terms and there was “good competition for the finer micron merino wools, with the sustainable wools on offer outperforming the market and ultimately supporting positive price levels.”