July 13, 2024

Agribusiness Biweekly Insight Report – Standard Bank

Field Crops

South Africa’s agricultural GDP rebounded by 13.5% quarter-on-quarter (q/q) in the first quarter of 2024 (Q1-2024), following a decline of -2.4% q/q in Q4-2023. In Q1-2024, the agricultural sector was primarily supported by higher production volumes in horticulture and livestock, and better terms of trade in horticulture as well as in field crops. In Q1-2024, South Africa’s agricultural sector recorded a positive trade balance with a trade surplus of US$1.4 billion, this was an increase of 20% year-on-year (y/y). The trade surplus was a result of a decline in agricultural imports coupled with higher exported volumes and prices of agricultural commodities. The Crop Estimates Committee (CEC) revised its summer crop production estimates for the current 2024/25 marketing year (MY). From the previous forecast, total maize production was revised downwards by 0.6% to 13.31 million tons, representing a decline of 19% y/y. Soya bean was estimated at 1.78 million tons, down by 1.9% from the previous forecast, while sunflower seed production was ramped up by 5.6% to 649 250 tons. The groundnut forecast was trimmed by 0.95% to 54 440 tons, and dry beans were also revised downwards by 3.6% to 52 190 tons. Sorghum was increased by 1.8% to 95 830 tons from the previous estimate.

Click here for the report: Field_Crops_Biweekly_Insights-Report.pdf (


Namibia recently lifted its ban on South African chicken imports following the outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) or bird flu in 2023. The outbreak took the domestic chicken industry by storm in 2023, and Namibia imposed an import ban on South African chicken in September 2023. The lifting of the ban is expected to provide a chance for the Namibian and South African poultry industries to work together to develop efficient biosecurity protocols and disease prevention measures. This comes after Namibia announced that the lifting of the ban would only be for chicken from biosecurity-certified chicken farms. The South African chicken industry is well organised, and it is known to have good biosecurity measures at the commercial level. Namibia is the largest export market (after Lesotho) of South African poultry products. Prior to the ban, Namibia was estimated to absorb close to 20% of South African chicken exports on average per annum. Namibia depends heavily on South African chicken imports as it is not self-sufficient in chicken production. This development is expected to boost local chicken prices which are currently under pressure.

Click here for the report: Livestock_Biweekly_Insights-Report.pdf (


With the presence of Huanglongbing (HLB) or Asian citrus greening disease in the United States (US) and Brazil, the Citrus Growers’ Association of Southern Africa (CGA) had to debunk accusations of HLB being present in South Africa. The accusations came from the Spanish Citrus Management Committee (CGC) that misconstrued the Asian, African, and American strains of the greening disease as having the same level of virulence. The African form (Candidatus Liberibacter africanus) is much less severe and is more restricted geographically to some parts of Sub-Saharan Africa. The African form is also heat sensitive and its less severe symptoms are only produced under relatively cool conditions (20-24 °C). The more harmful Asian form (Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus), commonly known as HLB develops under both cool and warm temperatures (up to 32 °C). The African strain was detected in the Eastern Cape and it was incorrectly reported by the media as being HLB. The South African Table Grape Association (SATI) reported that for the 2023/24 season, 73.5 million cartons (4.5 kg) were exported, an increase from the original export estimate of 73 million cartons due to a larger harvest from the Orange River region. The industry faced many logistical challenges once again, such as vessel delays, equipment failures, and high transportation costs, among others. These challenges resulted in higher fruit deterioration and port storage costs. The association express the need for dependable cold and logistical chains to ensure the industry’s sustainability in the future.

Click here for the report: Horticulture_Biweekly_Insights-Report.pdf (