Regional Bureau Johannesburg
The onset of the Ukraine conflict came at a time when global food and fertilizer prices were already hitting record highs. As a net importer and price-taker of various commodities such as wheat, vegetable oil and petroleum products, prices in the Southern Africa region have already surged. Nearly 80% of countries in the Southern Africa region are 100% import dependent for wheat and its products.
As global and regional prices transmit to local markets, food accessibility in the region could worsen as household purchasing power is effectively reduced. This is especially concerning as it could fuel further social unrest and aggravate situations witnessed in conflict-affected areas in some parts of the region.
As the 2021/22 season was marked by mixed seasonal performance (e.g. late onset of rainfall, dry spells and extensive rainfall and flooding across various parts of the region), regional crop production will likely be average at best. With tight global markets, we are likely to enter into the 2022/23 marketing year with elevated maize prices.
If fertilizer prices remain at their record high levels, it will also dim crop yield prospects for the 2022/23 agricultural year.