• A serious multi-year drought in parts of South Africa’s Northern and Eastern Cape provinces has seen a number of small towns threatened by total water supply failures and livestock farmers facing financial ruin.

  • South Africa’s trade policy is underpinned by an export-led growth strategy. This means that the country essentially looks to grow its economy by deepening and expanding its export markets.

  • South Africa`s production of apples, pears and table grapes is forecast to grow in the 2019/20 MY, based on available irrigation water following improved 2019 winter rainfall, normal weather conditions, and new orchards coming into full production.

  • There’s an assumption in the agricultural industry that the yields and prices of crops will vary according to local conditions as well as supply and demand in local and international markets.

  • Favourable summer rainfall conditions are mostly expected to remain in place during the next few days.

  • SA’s political leaders often mention agriculture as one of the sectors that will boost our economic fortunes and create jobs in rural areas. For a long time, this has been stated without a clear practical execution plan.

  • Over the past few decades, South Africa has seen a dramatic conversion from livestock or crop farming to wildlife ranching – known locally as game farming.

  • While few traders wish to go on record, many agree: it’s been a memorably bad season for South African citrus in Russia –  even “horrific”, in the opinion of an experienced trader.

  • The outlook of South Africa’s manufacturing production is subdued owing to the risk of load shedding, uncertain global growth, flat commodity prices and constrained domestic consumer demand.

  • Since the news that South Africa could be hit by yet another drought, a frequent topic of discussion has been its possible implications on South Africa’s food price inflation.

  • What are the facts and realities of the country we live in today?” according to Fanie Brink, an independent agricultural economist.
    The well-known historian, Alexander Tytler, said many years ago:

  • If expropriation of land without compensation is to be state policy, it must take its place within the larger programme of land reform, rather than displacing it. For its part, land reform is not about the crude land confiscation from the whites for its “return” to blacks. 

  • South Africa's diverse climatic conditions are suited to the production of most nuts, including groundnuts (peanuts) and tree nuts. Macadamia and pecan nuts are the predominant tree nut crops grown in the country.
    The global trend towards eating healthier food has seen tree nut production worldwide increase year-on-year for the last decade, a period which showed a 24% increase compared to the previous decade. The greatest nut consumption is in the high-income countries, with the United States (US) and Europe being the biggest consumers.

    "An estimated 4,2 million tonnes of nuts are produced globally," says Dr Mmatlou Kalaba, director at the Bureau for Food and Agricultural Policy’s (BFAP) commodity markets and foresight division.

    "Almonds make up the greatest volume of tree nuts produced, accounting for about a third of global production. The fastest global tree nut growth, however, is macadamia production. Walnuts, cashews and pecans have also experienced strong average increases, showing growth of 44, 32 and 18%, respectively. Brazil nut production declined significantly, mostly due to unfavourable environmental conditions," he explains.

    Pecans on the rise

    Pecans have shown good growth in South Africa and there is a strong demand for young trees. Pecan production had increased from 5 000 tons in 2010 to 10,500 tonnes in 2015. The development of pecan orchards has been mainly around the Vaalharts irrigation scheme in the Northern Cape, but there are also growers in parts of Limpopo, Cradock in the Eastern Cape, and Citrusdal in the Western Cape.

    However, macadamia nuts take the lead as one of South Africa’s fastest-growing industries. “We are now the largest producer of macadamia nuts in the world, after recently pulling ahead of Australia by a small margin,” says Dr Kalaba.

    Increasing growth in macadamias

    Gilberto Biacuana, Land Bank economist and research analyst, confirms that macadamia nut production in South Africa has experienced exponential growth in the last few years, influenced mainly by robust international demand.

    Figure 1 shows macadamia nut (nut in shell) production between 2006 and 2017, indicating the sustained upward growth. Production increased at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8,1% from 16,007 tonnes in 2006 to 44,610 tonnes in 2017.

    Figure 1: Macadamia production between 2006 and 2017 shows steady upward growth. (Source: Land Bank, SAMAC)

    Local nut production continues to increase

    "This trend has been influenced by the expansion in area under macadamia trees to support the increasing global demand of macadamia nuts,” Biacuana says. Data from the International Nut and Dried Fruit Council (INC) revealed that South Africa was the leading global producer of macadamia nuts in 2018, accounting for 29% of world production. Other major global producers included Australia at 25%, Kenya at 13%, China at 10%, and the US at 7%.

    According to Biacuana, new plantings increased from 1 250ha in 2013 to 5,000ha in 2017. There are nearly 700 farmers involved in macadamia nut production in Levubu and Tzaneen in Limpopo, from Hazyview to Barberton in Mpumalanga, and in the coastal areas of KwaZulu-Natal. He also says Macadamias South Africa (SAMAC) estimates that the industry employs approximately 12,500 people.

    Export of macadamias

    Macadamia nut exports have maintained an upward trend from 2012 to 2018, with a dip in 2016, which was probably a reflection of loss due to drought.

    Exports increased at a CAGR of 17,6% between 2012 and 2018. Biacuana says a closer look at the data shows that South Africa’s exports of macadamia nuts are predominantly nuts in shell (unprocessed). “In 2018, in-shell macadamia nut exports accounted for 70,8% of total macadamia nut exports. This probably reflects the underdeveloped processing sector of the macadamia nut value chain.”

    Primary export destinations

    Figure 2 illustrates the major destinations for South Africa’s macadamia nuts in shell exports from 2014 to 2018, with Hong Kong at 57%, Vietnam at 26%, China at 9,3%, Switzerland at 4,4%, and the US at 1%.

    During the same period, the major export destinations for South Africa’s shelled macadamia exports were the US at 43,1%, the Netherlands at 9,8%, Hong Kong at 8,5%, Germany at 6%, and Spain at 4,8% (Figure 3).

    Figure 2: South Africa’s major export destinations for macadamia nuts in shell exports between 2014 and 2018. (Source: Land Bank, SAMAC)
    Local nut production continues to increase

    Figure 3: Export destinations for South Africa’s shelled macadamia exports. (Source: Land Bank, TradeMap)
    Local nut production continues to increase

    Watching the competition

    Biacuana notes that competition looms for macadamia producers, despite the export success of macadamias in recent years. “The major competitive risk to the South African macadamia industry in the future is the increased planting of macadamia orchards in China.”

    Table 1 contains the major global producers of macadamias (nuts in shell) and their respective areas under production in 2015. “The biggest producers in terms of the total area under production in 2015 included, among others, China at 42,6%, South Africa at 12,8%, Australia at 11,5%, and Kenya at 11,5%.”

    Local nut production continues to increase

    As illustrated in Figure 4, China will potentially increase its production from 12 000 tons in 2017 to 50,000 tonnes in 2020, an increase of 317%. Therefore, most of the projected growth in global production will come from China. "The increase in China’s production and the subsequent decrease in its imports will likely put global prices under pressure in the medium to long term," says Biacuana.

    Figure 4: Projected global growth in macadamias. (Source: Land Bank, SAMAC)
    Local nut production continues to increase

    Figure 4 shows that production from other major producers is projected to remain relatively stable between 2018 and 2020.

    Increased global demand

    The macadamia industry has grown significantly in the last few years, driven by the increased global demand for nuts. With the rise of the middle class in developing countries, this trend is likely to remain in place for the foreseeable future.

    Biacuana warns that increased production in China could lead to import substitution, which may affect the demand for South African macadamias and apply downward pressure to global macadamia nut prices. “It is unclear when such an increase in supply is likely to happen. Nonetheless, such a likelihood remains a risk to the global macadamia nut market in the near future. Hopefully, the South African macadamia nut industry will adapt and seek new markets,” he says.
  • There’s growing concern in South Africa about what’s being portrayed as “a national drought disaster”.

  • The Minister of Public Works has called for public comment on the controversial Draft Expropriation Bill published on Friday 21 December 2018.

  • Farmers across South Africa are warning the government they might not survive the current drought gripping South Africa. 

  • Attendees at the recent annual Subtrop marketing symposium had a number of reasons for celebration: the recent avocado season once again proved the strength of demand and consumption while the opening of Japan for South African avocados is on the horizon.

  • A survey of over six thousand sub-Saharan households shows an estimated 39% experience severely unreliable access to food.

  • South Africa’s berry industry is set to continue on its remarkable growth trajectory in the next 5 years, with the number of hectares planted projected to increase by more than 80% by 2025. The number of hectares of blueberries in particular will increase by 136% in Limpopo and 102% in Mpumalanga.

  • The conversation with the Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development on the Red Meat Industry and the foot and mouth diseases (FMD) situation which took place yesterday was very constructive”, says Koos van der Ryst, chairman of the Red Meat Industry Forum (RMIF).




Farming Diary


07.15.2020 - 07.17.2020


08.11.2020 - 08.14.2020


10:00 am 09.09.2020 - 11:00 am 09.11.2020

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