While the Covid-19 pandemic caused severe disruptions in global trade, South Africa’s agricultural exports, including wine, citrus, and maize, hit an all-time high in the first quarter of 2021.
International trade in South Africa accounts for 59.2% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
“Agricultural exports for 2021 may even surpass last year’s record, thanks to robust yields and rising demand.
“This will have a huge impact on South Africa’s foreign exchange earnings and consequently towards the country’s GDP,” Agri Western Cape economist Daniël Minnaar said.
However, disruption is possible due to changing weather patterns, according to Maersk. The company recommends supply chain logistics to have a game plan in place now that the Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to November 30, has started.
As hurricanes do long-term damage to agriculture, infrastructure, and the economy, this might disrupt global trade.
“With the worldwide pressures on today’s supply chains, now more than ever, it’s critical to plan ahead with suppliers and logistics service providers to put contingency plans in place as soon as possible to limit the consequences of seasonal climate risk,” said Rob Townley, the head of Maersk Special Project Logistics.
Captain Peter to the rescue
Maersk has installed a remote temperature monitor called Captain Peter to keep in line with Covid-19 protocols.
This tool essentially maintains track on the weather conditions and adjusts the details of the shipment remotely, eliminating costs and enabling supply chain visibility and storm exposure with the ultimate goal to reduce costs and increase income.
This could be the boost the South African economy requires.
“One thing is certain: the volumes available for export will continue to increase, rising from 2.5 million tons in 2021 to 4 million in 10 years.
“What we don’t know, but are working on, is if there will be enough markets for the extra fruit, as well as whether the logistical network can manage it,” said Justin Chadwick, chief executive of the Citrus Growers’ Association.
Chadwick told Food For Mzansi agricultural trade has the potential to influence markets and have a direct impact on food security, such as food prices, inflation, and unemployment.
Hurricanes, for example, have a disastrous impact on vegetation and the environment because they prohibit water recycling, resulting in severe flooding, aquifer depletion, soil degradation, and the extinction of plant and animal species, all of which have a direct impact on world trade.