Higher input costs dampen SA’s agricultural boom

South Africa has enjoyed record maize and soya harvests this year.

That gave poultry farmers a bit of relief from steadily rising feed costs. However, high international grain prices prevented a big dip in local prices, which have remained high.

And grain farmers’ costs are about to go up, as agricultural economist Wandile Sihlobo explained in an article in the Herald.

Nearly 80% of South Africa’s fertiliser is imported, and the costs of various fertilisers have gone up by between 60% and 125%. Fuel prices have risen, and are about to rise further.

It’s a vicious cycle. Fertiliser constitutes 35% of grain farmers’ input costs, while feed (maize and soya) comprises nearly 70% of poultry farmers’ input costs. Rising costs are bad news for farmers, for poultry producers and ultimately for consumers.