South Africa belongs to the number of countries with insufficiently favorable conditions for agriculture, which is mainly due to the arid and hot climate, as well as the oversaturation of soils with salts.

A limited part of the country's territory is suitable for the cultivation of agricultural crops, while significant amounts of cereals, sugar cane, various fruits and vegetables are produced in South Africa, which is possible through the use of advanced soil cultivation and irrigation technologies. South Africa's infrastructure is well developed and ensures the efficient distribution of local agricultural products in the country's large urban centers.

In 2022, about 19.8 million tons of grain were produced in South Africa. The most common grain crop is corn (16.1 million tons), consumed both in the food industry and in the feed industry. Yields in the eastern provinces are traditionally higher than in the more arid western part of the country.

The largest gross corn harvests are in the Free State province (30-40%). Other major corn growing regions are Northwestern Province and Mpumalanga Province.

The volume of sugar cane production in South Africa in 2022 amounted to 17.9 million tons, which is 0.5% less than in 2021 (-81.0 thousand tons). In 2018-2022, the production of this crop decreased by an average of 1.9% per year. The annual decrease in sugar cane production is due to the closure of two large sugar factories Darnall and Umzimkulu due to financial problems. In addition, in April 2022, a flood occurred in Kwazulu-Natal province, as a result the plantations of sugar cane were damaged.

The country is actively increasing the production of fruits and berries. In 2022, their total production amounted to 8.5 million tons, including 2.1 million tons accounted for the production of grapes. In 2018-2022, fruit and berry production in South Africa increased by an average of 3.0% per year.

The leading livestock industries in South Africa are poultry farming, as well as dairy and beef cattle breeding. Over 60% of the cattle is concentrated in three provinces: Eastern Cape (25.0%), Kwazulu-Natal (19.0%) and Free State (16.0%). The Northwestern Province (25.1%) and Mpumalanga Province (22.5%) occupied the leading positions in poultry population in 2022.

In 2022, the production of cow's milk in the country amounted to 3.7 million tons, having decreased by 1.3% compared to 2021. The volume of milk production in 2022 also showed a decrease of 1.6% and amounted to 3,349.1 thousand tons. Most of the raw materials in 2022 were used in the production of pasteurized and ultra-pasteurized milk (30.7%), as well as milk powder (26.4%) and fermented milk products (15.7%).

The poultry industry, on the contrary, demonstrated positive dynamics during 2018-2022: poultry meat production has increased by an average of 2.8% per year over the past five years, and chicken eggs by 4.0%. Pork production in 2018-2022 grew by an average of 6.8% per year, however, this type of meat is significantly inferior to poultry and beef. According to the data of The Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development of the Republic of South Africa, in 2022 the production of poultry, beef and pork amounted to 1,976,0, 1,047,8 and 345,7 thousand. tons, respectively, increased by 3.3%, 2.1% and 0.7% compared to 2021.

In 2022, fish production in South Africa amounted to 503 thousand tons. Most of the products produced are accounted for by fishing — 492.4 thousand tons. The aquaculture sector is also present in the country, but its volumes are much smaller — 10.5 thousand tons.

Import of agricultural products

In 2022, imports of agricultural products from South Africa amounted to 7.47 billion US dollars, an increase of 7.9% (+548.5 million US dollars) compared to 2021. The volume of imports of agricultural products for 2018-2022 increased annually by an average of 2.3%.

By the end of 2022, wheat (9.5% of imports in value terms), palm oil (8.8%) and rice (6.4%) — these three products accounted for 24.8% of imports (1.9 billion US dollars). In total, the top 10 commodity products accounted for 44.8% of imports of agricultural products of South Africa in value terms.

In 2022, the largest increase was noticed in imports of wheat (+56.4% or +257.4 million US dollars), sunflower oil (3 times or +189.4 million US dollars), as well as palm oil (+29.5% or +150.3 million US dollars). A significant decrease was noted in purchases of poultry meat (-22.7% or -82.0 million US dollars) and sugar beet and cane (-20.0% or -57.6 million US dollars).

The main exporters of agricultural products to South Africa in 2022 were Indonesia (7.9% of imports of agricultural products of South Africa in value terms), Thailand (6.3%) and Brazil (5.3%). The top 10 countries accounted for 49.5% of South Africa's agricultural imports in value terms.

In 2018-2022, South Africa significantly increased the volume of purchases from Indonesia (2.5 times or +355.6 million US dollars) and Australia (3.7 times or +193.5 million US dollars). At the same time, there was a decrease in supplies from Namibia (-25.0% or -112.7 million US dollars).

South Africa is one of the largest grain producers in Africa: domestic production in 2022 amounted to 19.8 million tons. About 81% of the country's grain production is accounted for by corn, which makes South Africa the leader in production in Africa and one of the ten largest global producers of this crop.

In 2022, the country imported 3.17 million tons of grain worth 1.24 billion US dollars, which is 15.1% (+416.5 thousand tons) in volume and 23.8% (+239.4 million US dollars) in value more than in 2021.

In the structure of South Africa's grain imports in 2022, most of the supplies were wheat (57.4% of imports in value terms) and rice (38.5%). At the same time, the country also makes minor purchases of corn (2.1%) and barley (1.5%).

Wheat and barley showed the most significant import growth rates among cereals in 2022. Thus, in comparison with 2021, the volume of wheat purchases increased by 22.8% (+385.2 thousand tons) in volume and by 56.4% (+257.4 million US dollars) in value. Barley supplies, in turn, increased from 53.0 tons (26.0 thousand US dollars) to 45.0 thousand tons (18.2 million US dollars). At the same time, corn imports decreased by 78.2% (-15.8 thousand tons) by weight and by 15.5% (-4.8 million US dollars) in value, and grain sorghum — by 74.2% (-5.5 thousand tons) and by 67.8% (-1.9 million US dollars), respectively.

Among the largest grain exporting countries to South Africa in 2022, Thailand took the leading position, accounting for 29.4% of imports in value terms. Traditionally, most of Thailand's supplies are rice. The second largest supplier of cereals to South Africa was Australia (17.1% of the value of South Africa's grain imports), which in 2022 supplied 582.6 thousand tons of products (mainly wheat) worth 212.6 million US dollars. Poland exported significant amounts of grain (9.4% of imports). Russia supplied 298.3 thousand tons of grain worth 97.1 million US dollars to the South African market, which allowed it to take 5th place among the exporting countries of this commodity category. Wheat also dominated the supply structure. In total, the top 10 countries accounted for 94.6% of the value of South Africa's grain imports.

The largest increase in 2022 was noticed in shipments from Argentina, Brazil and Russia. Argentina's exports to South Africa increased 14.2 times (+291.1 thousand tons) in volume and 13.5 times (+90.1 million US dollars) in value. Shipments from Brazil increased 28.2 times (+268.1 thousand tons) in weight and 17.6 times (+81.5 million US dollars) in value, from Russia — 2.9 times (+196.8 thousand tons) and 3.6 times (+70.8 million US dollars), respectively.

The cultivation of oilseeds in South Africa is well developed, and therefore consumer demand for vegetable oils and meal is mainly met by domestic production. The only exception is palm oil — it is not produced in the country. According to the USDA, the country produces more than 700 thousand tons of vegetable oils (mainly soybean and sunflower oils).

The basis of vegetable oil consumption in the country is palm (36.9%), sunflower (32.9%), soybean (22.1%) and rapeseed (4.7%) oil. Unlike other types of oils, palm oil is not produced in South Africa and is imported from Malaysia and Indonesia.

In 2022, South Africa imported 786.9 thousand tons of vegetable oils worth 1.1 billion US dollars. The volume of imports of this product category increased by 12.3% (+86.3 thousand tons) in volume and by 37.0% (+302.3 million US dollars) in value relative to 2021.

In the structure of imports of vegetable oils of South Africa, palm oil occupied the largest share, which accounted for 58.9% of imports in value terms. Sunflower oil also accounted for significant volumes of supplies, the share of which amounted to 25.0% (279.8 million US dollars). In total, the above positions accounted for 84.0% of South Africa's vegetable oil imports in value terms.

The largest increase in 2022 was demonstrated by the import of sunflower oil — in volume it increased 2.5 times (+107.1 thousand tons), and in value by 3 times (+189.4 million US dollars).

At the same time, there was a significant reduction in the supply of soybean oil — by 50.9% (-50.2 thousand tons) by weight and by 34.1% (-41.7 million US dollars) in value, as well as other vegetable oils and fats — by 76.8% (-2.3 thousand tons) and by 44.3% (-2.9 million US dollars). USA), respectively.

Among the largest vegetable oil exporting countries in South Africa in 2022, Indonesia took the leading position, accounting for 49.5% of imports in value terms. Bulgaria became the second largest supplier of oils (14.9%), which in 2022 supplied 108.5 thousand tons of products worth 166.2 million US dollars. Malaysia also exported significant volumes of vegetable oils to South Africa — 110.9 thousand tons worth 158.3 million US dollars. The main exported product of Indonesia and Malaysia was palm oil, while Bulgaria's was sunflower oil. In total, the top 10 countries accounted for 96.2% of South Africa's vegetable oil imports in value terms.

The most significant increase in 2022 was in supplies from Bulgaria, Argentina and Romania, mainly due to sunflower oil. At the same time, there was a decrease in supplies from the Netherlands — by 83.7% in volume and by 77.6% in value. Soybean oil has become the main item of decline in the country's exports.

South Africa is one of the largest meat producers in Africa. The country is completely self-sufficient in beef and almost completely in pork (its own production covers consumption by more than 90%). At the same time, South Africa remains dependent on poultry imports — in 2022, domestic production covered only 85% of consumption.

Imports of meat and meat products from South Africa showed negative dynamics during 2018-2022. In 2022, South Africa purchased 445.8 thousand tons of meat and meat products on foreign markets for 411.4 million US dollars, which is 14.4% (-75.2 thousand tons) in volume and 23.0% (-122.7 million US dollars) in value below 2021.

Poultry meat supplies accounted for the largest share in the structure of imports of meat and meat products of South Africa — 67.8% of imports in value terms. Pork (15.1%) and beef (13.2%) were also among the main imported products. In total, these types of meat accounted for 96.1% of South Africa's imports of meat and meat products in value terms.

In 2022, an increase was observed in the supply of pork products and canned food — imports of products increased by 34.3% (+611.0 tons) in volume and by 6.0% (+312.0 thousand US dollars) in value. At the same time, the volume of poultry meat imports decreased significantly — by 13.6% (-58.8 thousand tons) by weight and by 22.7% (-82.0 million US dollars) by value.

Among the largest exporting countries of meat and meat products in South Africa, Brazil took the leading position in 2022, accounting for 54.4% of imports in value terms. The second largest supplier to South Africa in 2022 was the United States (11.7%), which supplied 54.0 thousand tons of products worth 48.2 million US dollars. Argentina also supplied a significant amount of meat (9.2%) — 38.2 thousand tons worth 37.9 million US dollars. All of the above countries exported poultry meat to South Africa. In total, the top 10 countries accounted for 93.6% of imports of meat and meat products from South Africa in value terms.

The largest increase in 2022 was noticed in shipments from Argentina: the country's exports increased by 38.2% (+10.6 thousand tons) in volume and by 23.7% (+7.3 million US dollars) in value.

At the same time, there was a significant reduction in purchases from Spain and the United States. Spain reduced exports by 75.3% (-32.4 thousand tons) in weight and by 72.4% (-43.1 million US dollars) in value. Shipments from the United States decreased by 32.4% (-25.9 thousand tons) in volume and by 35.7% (-26.8 million US dollars) in value. The reason was a decrease in poultry meat exports.

In 2020-2022, South Africa saw a decrease in the number of producers and processors of raw milk, which in turn led to a decrease in the volume of dairy products produced.

In 2022, South Africa imported 54.9 thousand tons of milk and dairy products worth 183.5 million US dollars, which is 28.5% (-21.9 thousand tons) in volume and 1.7% (-3.2 million US dollars) in value less than 2021.

In the structure of imports of milk and dairy products of South Africa, the largest share was occupied by milk powder supplies — 31.1% of imports in value terms. The main imported categories also included cheeses (22.3%), whey ingredients (22.3%) and butter and other milk fats (10.5%). In total, the above-mentioned items accounted for 86.2% of the value of imports.

In 2022, the largest increase was observed in the supply of concentrated milk — imports of products increased 3 times (+1.4 thousand tons) in volume and 2.6 times (+3.1 million US dollars) in value.

At the same time, imports of drinking milk and cream decreased significantly — by 81.7% (-19.0 thousand tons) by weight and by 75.7% (-10.7 million US dollars) in value.

Among the largest exporting countries of milk and dairy products to South Africa, France took the leading position in 2022, accounting for 26.5% of the value of imports of the category. The country mainly exported whey ingredients and milk powder to South Africa. The second largest supplier was New Zealand (13.6% of the value of South Africa's imports), which supplied 5.5 thousand tons of products worth $ 25.0 million. The country mainly supplied cheeses. Germany also exported a significant volume of products (9.8%) — 4.3 thousand tons worth 18.0 million US dollars. The main exports were cheeses, whey ingredients and powdered milk. In total, the top 10 exporting countries accounted for 85.9% of imports of milk and dairy products from South Africa in value terms.

The largest increase in the supply of milk and dairy products in 2022 was observed from France and Uruguay. The growth in the countries' exports was explained by an increase in the supply of milk powder, as well as butter and other dairy fats to the South African market.

At the same time, there was a decrease in purchases from Poland and New Zealand due to a decrease in the supply of milk powder and whey ingredients.

South Africa is a major consumer of fish products, but the volume of domestic production does not allow the country to meet the growing demand. In order to meet the needs of the population, South Africa is increasing imports of fish and seafood.

In 2022, South Africa imported 179.7 thousand tons of fish and seafood worth 327.0 million US dollars. The volume of imports of this product category increased relative to 2021 by 27.0% (+38.2 thousand tons) in volume and by 15.7% (+44.5 million US dollars) in value.

In the structure of imports of fish and seafood from South Africa, the largest share was occupied by frozen fish — 52.4% of imports in value terms. The second largest were crustaceans — 16.4%. Fillets and other fish meat also accounted for significant amounts — 10.8%.

The most significant increase was in imports of frozen fish, the supply of which increased by 36.2% (+39.0 thousand tons) in volume and by 23.5% (+32.6 million US dollars) in value. At the same time, purchases of fillets and other fish meat decreased by 10.8% (-1.3 thousand tons) by weight and by 5.0% (-1.9 million US dollars) in value.

Morocco was the largest supplier of fish and seafood to South Africa in 2022, accounting for 23.7% of imports in value terms. The country mainly supplies frozen fish. Namibia became the second largest country (21.4%), which in 2022 supplied 35.2 thousand tons of products (mainly frozen fish, as well as fillets and other fish meat) for $70.0 million. Norway also accounted for significant volumes of supplies (12.9% of imports in value terms) — 4.4 thousand tons of fresh and chilled fish worth 42.1 million US dollars. In total, the top 10 countries accounted for 86.7% of the value of South Africa's fish and seafood imports.

The most significant increase in 2022 to the level of 2021 was in supplies from Morocco: an increase of 2.9 times (+55.0 thousand tons) in volume and 2.5 times (+46.8 million US dollars) in value. At the same time, imports from Namibia decreased by 16.5% (-7.0 thousand tons) by weight and by 11.6% (-9.2 million US dollars) in value. The decline in the country's exports occurred as a result of a decrease in the supply of frozen fish.

Export of agricultural products

Exports of agricultural products of South Africa in 2022 amounted to 13.1 billion US dollars, which is 5.0% (+623.9 million US dollars) higher than in 2021. For 2018-2022, exports increased by 5.2% annually.

The basis of exports of agricultural products of South Africa were corn (9.2% of exports in value terms), oranges (6.1%), fresh grapes (5.8%) and grape wines (5.4%). In total, the top 10 products accounted for 43.5% of exports in value terms.

The highest growth rates in value terms among the main positions in 2022 relative to 2021 were demonstrated by corn, whose supplies increased by 49.8% (+402.8 million US dollars). At the same time, there was a decrease in exports of grape wines (-6.7% or -51.1 million US dollars), oranges (-4.3% or -36.1 million US dollars) and tangerines (-6.9% or -35.3 million US dollars).

The main importing countries of agricultural products from South Africa in 2022 were the Netherlands (10.0% of value exports), Great Britain (6.5%), Botswana (5.9%), Namibia (5.6%) and Mozambique (4.9%). In total, the top 10 countries accounted for 52.3% of South Africa's agricultural exports in 2022.

The largest increase in purchases of agricultural products in 2018-2022 was observed in the Netherlands (+36.7% or +351.8 million US dollars), Zimbabwe (2.1 times or +276.3 million US dollars), the United States (+50.4% or +190.3 million US dollars) and the United Arab Emirates (+ 70.8% or +186.2 millions of US dollars).