• More wealth leaves Africa every year than enters it – by more than $40bn (£31bn) – according to research that challenges “misleading” perceptions of foreign aid.

  • The recently released United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s monthly report could be the key driver of the global maize market today.

  • The South African Table Grape Industry (SATI) released the 1st Crop Estimate for the 2018/2019 season with volumes estimated to be between 63,2 and 70,1 million cartons (4.5 kg equivalent). 

  • There is a broad consensus that agricultural development is key to unlocking the economic possibilities of the communal areas in SA. The National Development Plan confirms as much.

  • A key land reform lesson South Africa can take from Zimbabwe is that the country experienced record-low investment in agriculture due to land rights issues. 

  • A bit of background — the South African livestock industry has somewhat recovered from the 2015/2016 drought, and that has led to increased slaughtering activity.

  • The spot price of white maize smashed through R3 000 a ton this week, up 51% from its mid-2017 harvest low. Similarly, yellow maize has touched R2 800 a ton, up from R1 850 in 2017.

  • South Africa’s ranking in the 2018 Index of Economic Freedom has improved, with the country ranked fourth in the Africa region and seventy-seventh out of 180 countries globally, reports Heritage Foundation. 

  • The South Australian cherry season has ended with the very late season varieties finishing off well, with cleaner fruit and warm, dry weather, according to the state’s peak representative body.

  • The preliminary area estimate is mainly based on the results of a non-probability survey conducted by the directorate of statistics and economic analysis of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

  • Southern Hemisphere production of apples and pears are both forecast to rise by 2% year-on-year in 2019, but individual countries are expecting some significant increases and decreases.

  • The recently launched Black Tobacco Farmers Association (BTFA) on Monday called for the government to keep excise taxes at their current level as Finance Minister Tito Mboweni will table his maiden budget this week.

  • HITE South Africans are Africans too. This wild and beautiful country is our homeland. Those of us who have made our lives elsewhere in the world never forget the uniqueness of Africa – where sunlight glows as if lit by a divine flame, and the kindness of strangers is made even more valuable by the precarious living conditions that have always existed there.

  • Despite falling commodity prices and challenges surrounding farm profitability, the growing use of cover crops is maintaining, if not gaining, momentum.

  • TLU SA today launched the first national Financial Wellness Survey and Desk for farmers.

  • The South African Poultry Association (SAPA) said on Thursday it was concerned about what it called irresponsible claims by a consumer protection body and a new organisation for black chicken importers and exporters in support of predatory trade from Brazil, at the expense of local jobs.

  • A changing political landscape, as well as atypical season lengths and volumes, has had a marked impact on the European table grape industry over the last few months, says Robert van Melle, the head of grapes at Origin Fruit Direct.

  • Newly elected SA Canegrowers Chairman, Rex Talmage has welcomed the appointment of new government ministers to the critical departments of Trade and Industry and Agriculture and Rural Development saying the change in leadership offered the hope of a rescue plan for an "industry on its knees".

  • South Africa’s maize supplies for the 2018/19 production year are shaping up better than we previously feared at the beginning of the year when dryness in the western parts of the country led to delayed plantings. Figures released by South Africa’s Crop Estimates Committee earlier in the afternoon show that 2018/19 maize harvest could amount to 10.9 million tonnes, which is a 2% increase from last month’s estimate. This was underpinned by an improvement in the white maize production expectation, which is now set to reach 5.5 million tonnes, up by 4% from last month’s estimate on the back of expected better yields in the Free State. The yellow maize harvest was lifted by 1% from last month to 5.4 million tonnes. The harvest process has started in the eastern parts of South Africa, particularly Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal, where over 40% of the area planted under maize had been completed by the 24th of May 2019. The yields generally varied between below-average to average, although the eastern regions received better rainfall than the western areas of the country where the harvest process has not started.

      With the maize harvest currently expected at 10.9 million tonnes in the 2018/19 production season (which corresponds with 2019/20 marketing year) added to an available opening stock of 2.8 million tonnes when the 2019/20 marketing year started on 01 May 2019, the country should have sufficient maize supplies to cover its annual consumption of about 10.8 million tonnes. Moreover, South Africa is likely to remain a net exporter of maize in the 2019/20 marketing year. The exports, however, could decline by half from the 2018/19 marketing year to about 1.1 million tonnes. These exports will likely be destined to countries in the Southern Africa region.

      We do not think the upward revision in the harvest expectations will lead to a notable decline in prices, which have in any case already moved off the higher levels seen at the beginning of the year when there were still fears of an extremely poor harvest. On 27 May,  the white maize spot price was at R2 775 per tonne, which is 10% down from mid-January 2019. Meanwhile, yellow maize was at R2 726 per tonne on the same day, roughly unchanged from levels seen in mid-January. Other things being equal, these price levels could prevail over the near-to-medium term. This bodes well with South Africa’s food price inflation which has been subdued over the past few months, averaging 2.3% y/y in April. Aside from maize, all other crop estimates were left unchanged from last month

  • Most of the limes imported by Europe and North America come from Mexico and Brazil. Other Latin American countries also have production for export. In China, the fruit's production is expanding due to the growing domestic demand for the product.