SA set to remain a food basket for sub-Saharan Africa

“As South Africa looks forward to the Festive Season, the coming year will be eventful and mostly positive.” This was the message that Jan van Zyl, FNB’s head of agric information and marketing brought to sugarcane farmers in Eston and Noodsberg in KwaZulu-Natal, during a recent farmers’ day.

- Advertisement -

Van Zyl’s positive outlook is largely based on the improved economic conditions in developed markets and specifically the US.

While noting that indicators such as international commodity prices remained relatively soft and the shipping indices still did not indicate that international trade was supporting a sustainable recovery, Van Zyl was confident that these would also improve.

He said another positive development was that the rest of Africa is increasingly offering business opportunities for SA. And that SA would be the food basket for sub- Saharan Africa for some time to come.

- Advertisement -

Making 2014 very ‘eventful’, Van Zyl added, was the run-up to and the outcome of the national election. Other issues that need to be resolved in the New Year included the effects of the e-tolls, fracking in the Karoo and the intended reopening of land claims and expropriation legislation.

Specifically in agriculture, there were concerns regarding labour issues as well as drought conditions in the north and western regions of the country.

However, all of this should not distract from the positive signs such as the narrowing difference between imports and exports, which leads to an improvement in trade deficit, said Van Zyl.

He believes that the trends in government expenditure in relation to revenue are also improving, which support the reduction in the fiscal deficit. It’s expected that the economy would grow at close to 3% in 2014, compared to this year’s expected 1,9%.