The Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, Ms. Thoko Didiza has welcomed the latest figures released by Statistics South Africa (StatsSA) on the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the second quarter of 2023.
The figures show that the agricultural sector was once again one of the biggest contributors to the country’s economic growth. This growth, the minister stated, signifies the importance and influence of the sector in the country’s economy.
According to StatsSA, the agricultural sector grew by 4.2% in the second quarter of 2023, fuelled largely by a good summer harvest of grains and oilseeds commodities, coupled with solid horticultural exports. In the second quarter of 2023, South Africa exported agricultural products worth R60.2 billion, which is almost 13% higher than the corresponding period last year.
Currently, the country is expected to harvest 16.4 million tons of maize and about 743 thousand tons of sunflower, a crop size that will bode well for consumers, as food inflation will subside. Already in July 2023, food inflation had receded to 9.9% providing a much-needed relief to consumers.
“The growth in agriculture and its contribution to the country’s economy can be attributed to the increasing footprint of South Africa’s agricultural products in the international markets,” the Minister said.
In August 2023, the Minister secured new export markets for avocados, beef, and other animal products to countries such as Saudi Arabia and China.
“The drive to open new export opportunities will continue as the government strives to grow a competitive, resilient, and export-oriented agriculture,” Didiza added.