Given its promising harvest estimates, South Africa is expected to be less dependent on food imports in the midst of global inflationary waves triggered by the Russia-Ukraine war, according to a leading economic research institution.

Against a backdrop of skyrocketing crop prices, South Africa is expected to produce 14.7 million tons of maize in 2022, which is above the 10-year average of 12.8 million tons. The estimated production also exceeds the country’s annual consumption of ten million tones, Oxford Economics said in a briefing.

“Consequently, South Africa will most likely remain a net exporter of maize in 2022-23, which means farmers should benefit from higher prices,” read the report.

Citing data by South Africa’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry & Fisheries, the report says that the country’s production of sunflower seed is forecast to be more than 40 higher than last year. While the production of soybeans in 2022 is expected to exceed the five-year average of 1.4 million tons, canola production is expected to reach a record high of 197,000 tons, nearly 19% more than last year.

“Overall, this strong performance means South Africa will likely spend less money on food imports,” the report noted.

Although, the country’s wheat production in 2022 is expected to fall significantly below the annual consumption of 3.2 million tons, the latest harvest remains above the 10-year average of 1.8 million tons, according to the report.

However, South African agriculture will be impacted by the rising prices of fertilizers and diesel worldwide. The domestic food price inflation is expected to average at 5.9% in 2022, and fuel price inflation to reach 17.7%. Oxford Economics expects overall inflation to moderate to 4.7% in 2023.

(Writing by Noha El Hennawy; editing by Seban Scaria