Wandike Sihlobo, chief economist, Agbiz
The underperformance of South Africa’s agricultural sector in 2019 was largely caused by two factors; drought and biosecurity (specifically foot-and-mouth disease and African swine fever). This was through two channels, namely 1) lower agricultural output because of drought, and also 2) subdued trade activity because of a ban on the exports of animal products following the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease.
Will 2020 be any different? It is hard to tell at this point as the drought and foot-and-mouth disease remain a challenge in the country. Exhibit 1 highlights the areas of South Africa that are currently experiencing drought, and also rainfall expectations over the next two months.