Theme publications: Agriculture and commodities

Publications

Monitoring Regional Integration Yearbook 2019/20: Agriculture and food security in Africa

Books ~

If there is one thing which the current Covid-19 pandemic has done, it is to highlight the issue of food insecurity on the African continent and illustrate the interdependence of food (in)security on food production systems (agricultural production and the environment within which it is produced) and access to food (trade, tariff and non-tariff barriers, prices and market conditions).

The pandemic and measures taken to curtail its spread have compounded food insecurity on the African continent. Food insecurity challenges were already evident due to previous and ongoing extreme climatic conditions (floods and droughts in southern Africa), pests (locusts in east Africa), civil unrest, slow economic growth and high levels of unemployment and poverty.

Lockdown regulations across the world have led to a decrease in employment, levels of disposable income and export-earnings and an increase in food waste, food price increases and trade distortions leading to a decrease in access to food, increasing food insecurity. Africa’s projected population increase for the next three decades will compound the continent’s food insecurity.

Given the current state of the food production system, the question is how will it be possible to improve physical and economic access to sufficient food, while also ensuring the sustainability of Africa’s food and agricultural systems? If these systems remain stagnant in a changing world, persistent food insecurity is highly likely. Efficiency and sustainable food production can be improved through the uptake of new technologies and production methods. Addressing fragmented agricultural markets through regional integration efforts (reducing high agriculture and food tariffs and non-tariff barriers to trade and improving cross-border trade) can enable Africa to feed its growing population. Sustainable production and food systems that are more productive and less invasive on the natural environment are important to improve access of food across the continent.

This book covers various topics related to agriculture and food security challenges faced by African countries. Africa’s population has been increasing and is estimated to reach 1.2 billion by 2050. With the population increase there have been significant changes in the pattern of consumption, but undernourishment in Africa is still prevalent. To improve food security and alleviate malnutrition requires an increase in access to food. More food production will require increased land and other agricultural input use, or increasing productivity or greater imports. However, the supply of land and agricultural inputs is finite. In the long-term, regional integration efforts and technology investments can make the most practical contributions to alleviate food security concerns. Under the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), reducing tariffs and non-tariff barriers to intra-Africa food trade, trade facilitation measures and the promotion of investment in agricultural development, innovation and technology will increase access to food. Technology, including changes in agricultural management practices, irrigation technologies, alternative crop breeding strategies, drones and satellites can increase the productivity of existing resources by increasing yields and feeding the population in a sustainable manner.


© 2020 tralac and The Government of Sweden

All rights reserved. No reproduction, copy or transmission of this publication may be made without written permission. Any person who does any unauthorised act in relation to this publication may be liable to criminal prosecution and civil claims for damages.

The support of The Government of Sweden in the publication of this book is acknowledged. The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) does not necessarily share the views expressed in this material. Responsibility for its contents rests entirely with the authors.

Africa’s Production and Trade: Agriculture and minerals

Books ~ Ron Sandrey, Fezeka Matebeni, Camille Andriamahatana, Ashly Hope, Willemien Viljoen, Mary Mwaangireni, Ayabonga Sibulali and Dorica Singini

Africa as a continent has extensive potential, not only to feed itself and alleviate hunger and food insecurity, but also to be an important exporter to global food markets. Agriculture forms a significant portion of the economies of all African countries, and as a sector it can contribute to crucial continental priorities such as alleviating poverty and hunger, boosting intra-African trade and investments and job creation.

However, few appreciate just how low the productivity is in the agricultural sector in most of the countries across Sub-Sahara Africa. Equally worrying is that this situation has not improved in many countries over the last 50 or so years, and indeed for several countries the situation is getting worse. This has major implications for industrial development across the continent, as Africa has not been able to duplicate the Asian growth model of transferring resources out of agriculture and placing them into export-oriented manufacturing. When read in conjunction with other measures it becomes apparent that a modern agricultural sector is generally not in place across the continent, and this similarly places restrictions on promoting an export-oriented agricultural sector. That Africa is a poor continent where subsistence agriculture is widespread is well known, and this is confirmed in this collection of studies.

The collection of chapters in this book present the profile and performance of agricultural production and trade in most of the major African countries over recent years. The book is intended to be an ‘umbrella’ – to be used as a platform to enable a more comprehensive country-by-country analysis to be undertaken, but it also contributes to a better understanding of the profiles.

Readers are encouraged to quote and reproduce this material for educational, non-profit purposes, provided the source is acknowledged. All views and opinions expressed remain solely those of the author and do not purport to reflect the views of tralac.

African production and exports of grapes and grape products in perspective

Trade Briefs ~ Ron Sandrey

This trade brief examines the African production and export of grapes and grape products – namely fresh grapes, dried grapes, grape juice, wine, and fortified wines. In tonnage, China is the leading global producer while South Africa is the leading African producer, ranking 11th in the world. The only other African countries of significance are those north African countries bordering the Mediterranean.

The pattern of African grape product exports varies from the international profile – which has seen a dramatic rise in countries such as China and India in recent years – in that wine as a percentage of the total has declined from 62% in the first few years of this century to be marginally under half in the last four years. Fresh grapes have supplanted wine as the main export.

African grape product exports have represented between 3.3% to 3.9% of the global total this century, with South Africa completely dominating these exports. The EU is the destination of most of these grape product exports, but its relative importance is declining.


Readers are encouraged to quote and reproduce this material for educational, non-profit purposes, provided the source is acknowledged. All views and opinions expressed remain solely those of the author and do not purport to reflect the views of tralac.

The production and export profiles of oil and mineral products from Africa

Working Papers ~ Ron Sandrey

It is well known and generally accepted that Africa is heavily reliant on the export of fuels and minerals. The objective of this paper is to examine just how dependent the continent is on these exports (by commodities and countries). In order to do this, a trade classification has been developed which encompasses these products. For the purpose of further examination, the following eight sector groups have been selected: oil products, coal products, gold, copper, diamonds, platinum, iron ore, and aluminium.

Over the 2001 to 2017 period, oil has dominated African mineral/fuel exports. The next five commodities (coal, gold, copper, diamond and platinum) have similar export profiles, while iron ore and aluminium are less important to the continent. The selected grouping represents between 93% and 95% of all wider African mineral/fuel exports, and in turn these commodity exports represent about a 65% share of African global merchandise exports. There is also a suggestion that the concentration is increasing marginally over time.

By aggregate commodity and export destinations, the European Union (EU) has consistently been the main market, while China is gaining market share and the United States (US) is losing destination share. In future tralac publications, each of the eight sectors will be examined in sequence to provide a more detailed analysis which includes some background on production relative to the respective world profiles.


Readers are encouraged to quote and reproduce this material for educational, non-profit purposes, provided the source is acknowledged. All views and opinions expressed remain solely those of the author and do not purport to reflect the views of tralac.

African agricultural production

Working Papers ~ Ron Sandrey

In a recent tralac publication, Agriculture and the African Continental Free Trade Area, Sandrey et al. (2018) outlined just how many African economies continue to rely on agriculture. However, the issue of low agricultural productivity (net production per capita) in many sub-Saharan African countries has not improved significantly over the past several decades and in some countries, the situation is deteriorating. This has major implications for industrial development across the continent, as Africa has not been able to duplicate the Asian growth model of transferring resources out of agriculture and placing them into export-oriented manufacturing. A modern agricultural sector is generally lacking across the continent, and this places restrictions on promoting an export-oriented agricultural sector.

The objective of this paper is to lay a foundation for a series of analyses on the agricultural sector in the major African countries. The paper examines the geographical profile for the top eight African agricultural products by country, and then a further eight products for general interest. A profile of agricultural production in Nigeria, Egypt, South Africa and Ethiopia is presented, as well as the main livestock producers by country.

The conventional wisdom was that resources needed to be moved out of agriculture to ensure development, but current thinking is that perhaps technology in agriculture may be the key. While this paper does not explore this development issue in detail, it does provide a solid background of the African agricultural production profile.


Readers are encouraged to quote and reproduce this material for educational, non-profit purposes, provided the source is acknowledged. All views and opinions expressed remain solely those of the author and do not purport to reflect the views of tralac.

Tobacco in Africa: production and trade

Trade Briefs ~ Ron Sandrey

Africa’s leading agricultural export is cocoa beans from west Africa, but next in importance is tobacco and tobacco products. However, the relative importance of tobacco as a crop has been declining in Africa since 1961, and this suggests that tobacco is very much an export-oriented rather than a domestic-oriented crop.

Global production of tobacco has roughly doubled since 1961, and production is now dominated by China which has overtaken the previously dominant United States (US). The largest increases since 1961 are, however, from the African producers of Zambia, Tanzania and Mozambique, while Zimbabwe and Malawi have consistently been the leading African producers. Overall, Africa’s global production share has increased from 4.9% in the 1960s to 9.3% in the current decade.

A recent tralac-NAMC publication, Agriculture and the African Continental Free Trade Area, examines African agricultural production and trade, looking separately at cocoa and cocoa beans, tea and coffee, and sugar. The objective of this Trade Brief is to continue that examination by reviewing the African tobacco production and trade profile. This will include an examination of how tobacco has become a substance that is the focus of international efforts to severely constrain its global consumption as overwhelming evidence points to tobacco directly for causing significant health problems.


Readers are encouraged to quote and reproduce this material for educational, non-profit purposes, provided the source is acknowledged. All views and opinions expressed remain solely those of the author and do not purport to reflect the views of tralac.

Agriculture and the African Continental Free Trade Area

Books ~ Ron Sandrey, Willemien Viljoen, Thandeka Ntshangase, et al.

Following on from an analysis of what continued liberalisation in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) may offer African agriculture in the 2017 publication ‘WTO: Agricultural Issues for Africa’, this book critically examines intra-African agricultural trade and what the liberalisation of this trade under the auspices of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) may mean for the continent.

Much of the research presented here has had a genesis at the tralac capacity training ‘Geek Weeks’ where participants, including those from the NAMC, have worked to produce these individual chapters. This is a valuable part of the NAMC/tralac cooperation to enhance analytical and policy making capabilities in the region.

A comprehensive review of African agriculture is provided in these chapters, with the overall historical perspective introduced to set a base for understanding the sector and regional perspectives presented to emphasise the diverse nature of African agriculture. Regional trading and tariff profiles show progress made in liberalisation and, more importantly, focuses on how the AfCFTA can contribute to ongoing liberalisation efforts.

While perhaps the dominant agricultural trader in Africa, South Africa has an important role to play in working with others to promote intra-African agricultural trade. Several chapters examine specific agricultural products that are major trade lines globally and within Africa, and these chapters outline how the AfCFTA can facilitate this trade.

This book provides a baseline to understand African agriculture and trade as we move towards the exciting prospects that the AfCFTA presents. Africa presents the world with something very unique and is indeed rising. The NAMC and tralac hope that this collective effort will contribute to inform policy decisions to develop the continent’s agricultural trade and value chains.

Introduction

African integration and trade liberalisation: implications for agricultural trade

tralac has been undertaking significant research on possible implications for African agricultural trade from tariff liberalisation for intra-African imports.The research culminates in this joint publication with the NAMC. Tariff liberalisation was also the focus of tralac’s capacity-building programme in that several analysts from the region were involved in a data and report-writing training week (‘Geek Week’) held from late October to early November 2017. This collaboration has resulted in the current book, with the emphasis on the AfCFTA.

In examining the analysis on tariff barriers, we emphasise that tariffs are but one barrier to trade. While, for most industrial products, worldwide border tariffs have been significantly reduced, they remain stubbornly high for agricultural products. We will show that this is the case for Africa, and crucially there are potentially important trade and consequently welfare gains from their elimination across the continent for import duties from fellow African exports. The extent to which duties are assessed on imports from outside the regional trading blocs in Africa is examined, as is also the extent to which many products even within these regional blocs are subject to exemptions and derogations.

Many other barriers exist in the form of non-tariff barriers (NTBs) or, almost but not quite interchangeably, non-tariff measures (NTMs). We do not focus on these NTBs and NTMs. Inexorably interwoven with high tariffs or associated derogations are political economy considerations for some commodities which,because of their sensitive nature, are deemed to be ‘special products’. Neither NTBs (as traditionally recognised) and the new emphasis on infrastructural NTBs (as traditionally recognised) and the new emphasis on infrastructural costs (such as time-in-transit) are examined in this book.

While our approach is to look at the extreme end of the spectrum and muse on intra-African tariff elimination on agricultural exports, we are conscious of the political-economy considerations behind trade liberalisation. There are always winners and losers in liberalisation. Aside from a review of the considerable path-breaking research that tralac has done on the wider aspects of trade and welfare gains from African liberalisation using a computer model approach,our emphasis in this book is on hard data presentation and analysis.

We present a suite of papers in support of our African-wide examination. These range from an initial look at how well agricultural production has performed over the last 50 or so years across the continent. Here we are left with the somewhat uncomfortable fact that in many instances aggregate production has been struggling to keep pace with rapid population growth in several countries.Associated with this is an examination of the sectors’ contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), both a measure of productivity and a de facto measure of industrialisation or the lack of it, and again we are left with unease that much of the continent is dependent upon subsistence agriculture. One aspect of African agriculture that we do highlight is the diverse regionalisation of production and trade, and that Africa agriculture is not a generic sector but rather one that can conveniently be examined in the context of its ‘four corners’of north, east, south and west.


© 2018 Trade Law Centre and National Agricultural Marketing Council

All rights reserved. No reproduction, copy or transmission of this publication may be made without written permission. No paragraph of the publication may be reproduced, copied or transmitted save with written permission. Any person who does any unauthorised act in relation to this publication may be liable to criminal prosecution and civil claims for damages.

Publication of this book was made possible by the support of the Trade Law Centre (tralac), National Agricultural Marketing Council (NAMC), Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The views expressed by the authors are not necessarily the view of any of these institutions.

Agricultural production and trade: the four corners of Africa

Working Papers ~ Ron Sandrey

Africa is a vast and diverse continent, but one that is strongly based upon its agricultural foundations. African agriculture encompasses many systems: from the subsistence practices in many countries to the modern corporate giants in even some of these same countries. Its products focus on domestic consumption but there is also a significant export sector, with these two extremes usually, but not invariably, associated with the two extremes of the production sectors. Its exports range from the cocoa bean and cotton exports from mostly west Africa to the fruit and wine products from the Western Cape in South Africa, to the coffee trees and tea bushes in east Africa and the citrus and olive plantations of north Africa.

This working paper examines the profiles and performance of African agricultural production since 1961 and export trade since 2001. To assist with this analysis, Africa is divided into four ‘corners’ or regions: the South, which roughly translates to the Southern African Development Community (SADC); the East, which encompasses the East African Community (EAC) with some subtractions and additions; the North, which is the lands north of the Sahara; and the West, which is largely the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) with some additions.

The continent has come a long way in a little over half a century, a period of intensive tumult for African politics, and Africa’s engagement with the world as measured by its export profile has continued to grow. For both production and exports, this paper finds that Africa is a diverse continent, and regionally there are some major differences in each of the ‘corners’.


Readers are encouraged to quote and reproduce this material for educational, non-profit purposes, provided the source is acknowledged. All views and opinions expressed remain solely those of the author and do not purport to reflect the views of tralac.

African production and trade of coffee and tea in perspective: What are the implications for continental trade liberalisation?

Working Papers ~ Ron Sandrey

This working paper examines the African production and trade profiles for coffee and tea, both important exports from Africa, and the extent to which trade liberalisation across Africa may benefit trade in the sector. Brazil dominates the global production of coffee beans with around a one-third share; Vietnam has increased production dramatically over the last 25 years and has just overtaken Africa’s global share. Ethiopia is the leading African producer, followed by Uganda, Côte d’Ivoire, Madagascar, Tanzania and Kenya. Africa’s share of the global production declined from a high of 28.3% in the 1970s to its current low of 12.0% in this decade. The European Union (EU) has been in the market for over 40% of the African coffee exports since 2001, and the United States and Africa as a single destination have been competing for second and third places. African coffee importers show that only South Africa is breaking the strong North African dominance. Overall, Vietnam is the main supplier of coffee to Africa, ahead of Côte d’Ivoire, Indonesia and Brazil. Collectively, Asia has overtaken Africa as a source of African imports. In general, tariffs facing African exports outside Africa are at zero or very low, but they are higher for several intra-African bilateral trades.

Global tea production is dominated by China and India, but Kenya has moved into third place with a global share of around 8%. Within Africa and specifically East Africa, Kenya has achieved around 60% of African tea production while its neighbours produce most of the rest. The global exporters closely correlate with the main producers, and Kenya is now in third position, behind the major exporters of China and Sri Lanka. Russia is the main tea importer, followed by Pakistan and Egypt in fifth position. Kenya dominates African exporters, and Egypt is the main destination for African tea, followed by the United Kingdom, Kenya and Russia. China and Kenya are the main African tea sources.

Distorting intra-African trade is the role of Kenya in its regional imports and consequent re-exports through the Mombasa auctions, as tea exported from the major producers (Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania) is reported as almost exclusively exports to Kenya. Egypt is the main importer of tea from Africa, followed by Kenya (re-exports). Other than Egypt, North Africa imports limited values from Africa, and this points to post-liberalisation trade opportunities for at least Kenya as some tariffs there are high.


Readers are encouraged to quote and reproduce this material for educational, non-profit purposes, provided the source is acknowledged. All views and opinions expressed remain solely those of the author and do not purport to reflect the views of tralac.

Global Value Chains – analysis of wine in South Africa

Working Papers ~ Taku Fundira

Today’s global economy has witnessed changes in the way production and trade occur. As new technologies are developed, globalisation and regionalisation are taking centre-stage, and we are witnessing a gradual integration of economies into regional value chains (RVCs) and global value chains (GVCs). Participation in GVCs exposes firms to new technologies and know-how that might otherwise be unavailable, as well as to new sources of capital. It enables suppliers to meet product standards and technical regulations that permit access to a greater variety of markets. At an economy-wide level, GVC participation tends to lead to job creation even if it depends significantly on imported content in exports.

For farmers, participation in GVCs can facilitate the creation of agribusinesses for increased value addition in exported goods. Their participation will enable them to harness the interdependence among the different actors in the value chain, namely the suppliers of inputs – the farmers; the businesses providing technical support for the farmers such as agricultural machinery – the financiers; the wholesale producers of farm products; the processors; and associated sellers. Consequently, participation in GVCs will facilitate farmers’ access to inputs, financing, and end-markets at the local, national, regional, and international levels, thereby enabling them to have a greater voice in the value chain and enhancing their economic returns.

This Working Paper focuses on the wine industry in South Africa, highlighting the ‘big picture’ trade profile as well as key strategies that the wine industry is implementing to promote domestic, regional and global value addition. Specifically, it aims to address four issues: i) sector specificity of value chains and their impact on economic development; ii) the promotion of regional value chains as an alternative to global value chains; iii) the role of world cities as conduits for promoting value addition and the corporate services that they provide; and iv) issues of sustainability that value chains can affect (such as environmental and social side-effects).


Readers are encouraged to quote and reproduce this material for educational, non-profit purposes, provided the source is acknowledged. All views and opinions expressed remain solely those of the author and do not purport to reflect the views of tralac.