More than half of the population of Sub-Saharan Africa will be under the age of 25 by 2050, making this varied continent rich with human and natural resources that may spur inclusive growth and help end poverty. The continent is forging a new course for growth by tapping into the potential of its resources and people. It boasts the largest free trade area in the world and a market of 1.2 billion people.
Growth in South Africa’s agriculture industry has been robust for two years running, with gross value-added increasing by 13.4% in 2020 and 8.3% in 2021. Rainfall during this time period proved beneficial, increasing crop production and improving grazing conditions for the cattle industry. Farmer incomes in 2020 and 2021 were bolstered by the rise in commodity prices, particularly for grains and oilseeds.
Crops were in jeopardy because of the extreme rainfall at the beginning of the 2021-22 harvest year, which necessitated replanting in many regions. Nonetheless, the predicted summer crop of 17.5 million tonnes (down 9% year-on-year) and the overall area planting of 4.3 million hectares (far above the 2020-21 season) indicate that the rains did not cause as much damage as previously feared, at least on a national scale. In 2021, South Africa exported about $1.9 billion worth of citrus fruit, making it the country’s most valuable agricultural crop (R28bn).
At Trunel Bags, we have compiled a short list of trends that we believe will affect agriculture in South Africa in 2023.
The forecast for 2023, will be affected not only by the weather but also by the price of inputs, especially fertiliser. How long and how bad the battle between Russia and Ukraine lasts will have a greater impact on the following season. This is due to the fact that, in terms of value, Russia exports 14% of the world total of fertiliser materials.
There has been a sharp increase in prices, and there is growing concern that the prolonged conflict will have a negative impact on the 2022–2023 agricultural season. South Africa’s participation in the Russia-Ukraine market is expected to be constrained for the time being due to the ongoing conflict and the resulting sanctions. Given the prominence of this market, the diversion of the volumes to other export markets or the domestic market could increase downward pressure on prices and, after that, negatively effect farmers’ finances and the general export profits of the country.
The increasing human population, estimated at more than 8billion people globally, and the disastrous effects of climate change have made it imperative that water consumption be carefully monitored and managed. Focusing on future population growth is important, but so is ensuring the agricultural sector can continue to support the current human population. Various methods of water management in agriculture have been investigated in response to the increasing demand for the resource. Green water agriculture, for instance, has been identified as the source of 60% of global food supply. Due to this, there has been a shift in attention on rainwater collection and recycling used water. Protecting freshwater sources is an ongoing global struggle.
In the agriculture industry, analytics play a crucial role since they help both top-level managers and regular employees determine which procedures are successful and which ones may use some tweaking. There are a plethora of ways in which big data helps the farming business, especially now that we are able to collect more data than ever (thanks to innovations like the Internet of Things). Using big data, farmers can learn about things like rainfall patterns and water cycles, which naturally improves agricultural yields.
Growers, consultants, agri retailers, and crop input producers all have new ways to communicate with the farm thanks to IoT (Internet of Things) technologies. Companies are creating tools to monitor agricultural businesses and collect data on the worth and output of large tracts of land. Microsoft’s forthcoming toolbox is just one more piece of cutting-edge innovation that makes excellent use of the Internet of Things.
Improvements in agricultural technology have enabled farmers to improve efficiency and come up with new approaches to common problems. Bioengineering follows suit, using cutting-edge technology to alter the genetic make-up of materials such as food and medicine by manipulating their DNA and RNA.
The use of biotechnology has made it possible for farmers to cultivate superior, optimal, and thus more lucrative, crops. Bioengineering, for instance, has the ability to both improve crop quality and eliminate crop-related diseases. Due to rising global demand, cultivating high-quality crops will be more important than ever in 2023.
Close observers of the agricultural market predict a 9.3 percent increase in the revenue and productivity of smaller farms over the previous year. Many areas in the world rely on food from small farms to sustain themselves. Farmers will have more financial flexibility and be able to invest in new machinery thanks to this boost in income.
Farmers and the agricultural community as a whole worry a great deal about food safety. While working in the fields and transporting crops, farmers must be vigilant about preventing food contamination at all costs. Farmers need to be financially stable to weather even a modest crisis, like an e. coli outbreak. According to estimates made by industry professionals, this cost varies considerably depending on the type of farm and the crop or product being raised.
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