Trends in South African Agri-business
Agri-business has multiple sub-sectors including maize and wheat milling, the production of livestock, dairy and horticulture. South Africa is a major producer and net exporter of finished processed food products, and food exports grew substantially in 2020. New technology and vertical integration are driving change in the industry. Challenges include tariff protection in various geographies, animal diseases, security issues on farms and the consequences of climate change. Constraints such as rising input costs, supply disruptions, dumping and illegal trade affect operating income.
While there are many food production companies in South Africa, the industry is dominated by a small number of large players. High levels of market concentration, often through vertical integration, create high barriers to entry. The flour and grain milling industry is concentrated and controlled by a handful of farmers, silo owners and manufacturers. In the poultry sector, large companies are outsourcing some operations, which creates opportunity for small players.
Current trends include product innovation in line with consumer behaviour, such as demand for organic and plant-based foods. Regulatory changes and regulations such as sugar taxes and sodium content limits have posed challenges and prompted product changes. Supply and supply chain disruptions due to the pandemic led to some shortages and price increases. Cheap imports, intermittent bans during lockdown and the significant growth of illegal trade in tobacco and liquor products and have had a dramatic effect on these industries.
This report focuses on trends in South African agri-business across several sub-sectors, with cross-references to Who Owns Whom reports on these sectors. The report includes information on trends in farming and processing, investments, trade, corporate actions and other industry developments. It refers to over 20 Who Owns Whom reports covering everything from the fresh fruit and vegetables industry to the manufacture of dairy products, sugar and animal feeds, the liquor and tobacco industries and trade in agricultural raw materials and livestock.