Possible revival of international groundnut market for SA farmers

Large maize harvests combined with large carry-over stock could mean South African grain farmers will have to turn to planting more groundnuts in the coming season.

Higher yields and prices in the previous season can now stimulate local markets to explore historic markets and exploit new opportunities.

Data from GrainSA shows the export parity of local, processed groundnuts are at about R17 000 (US$1 247), while import parity prices are currently at R22 000 (US$1 614).

Corne Louw, senior economist at GrainSA, said groundnut producers delivered good harvests with high yields, as well as a high groundnut price of about R12 000 (US$880) per ton for choice grade groundnuts.

“This provides the ideal opportunity for the local groundnut industry to reconnect with their previous export markets and to unlock new opportunities. This especially includes Europe and Japan, who previously were big buyers of good quality, Spanish-type groundnuts. But, due to variable production related to unpredictable climatic conditions, as well as variable hectares of groundnuts planted, these markets were lost over time.

“This year’s high yields provide new opportunities to show that South Africa can continuously provide groundnuts to international markets.”

Highest tonnage since 2009

During the annual South African Groundnut Forum Meeting, Marda Scheepers from the National Crop Harvesting Committee, said the current groundnut harvest of 90 550 tons is the highest since 2009.

“This is considerably higher than the previous season, when South Africa only delivered 17 680 tons of groundnuts. The average yield of 1.72 t/ha is the highest since 2009 when yields averaged 1.82 t/ha,” she said.

The previous main producer, the Free State, was replaced by North West, which delivered 48% of the country’s groundnuts.

“There is a clear shift in groundnut production from plantings in the Free State to North West and the Northern Cape,” Scheepers said.

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