Comment by Paul Makube, Senior Agricultural Economist at FNB Business
On the back of a devastating drought in South Africa’s biggest agriculture region, the Western Cape (WC), the sector has managed to pull off an impressive 37.5% q/q and contributed 0.8 percentage points to GDP growth.
The WC is however still gripped by drought conditions and accounts for 23% of the total South African agriculture GDP. The agriculture, forestry and fishing GDP for 2017 also grew by 17.7% year on year and contributed 0.4 of a percentage point to the overall South African GDP.
The robust agriculture output was boosted by favourable production conditions for the second consecutive season following the worst drought in 100 years two ago. The first production estimate for the 2017/18 season surprised on the upside for grains with the major staple maize coming in at 12.22 million tons though still down from the record 17 million tons last year.
We expect the industry to continue on its stellar performance as the summer crop season tails off.