This market insight provides an overview of maize production and agro-processing in South Africa, Nigeria, Egypt, Ethiopia, and Tanzania, and sugar cane production and agro-processing in South Africa and Egypt. The current and potential expansion of genetically modified (GM) crops in Africa is also discussed, highlighting the challenges in its adoption. The following data is provided for each crop: production volumes, prices, revenues, yield, area harvested, exports, and imports. Trading partners and an outline of the agro-processing flow from farm to fork are also provided.
Maize is the largest cereal crop in Africa. The top maize-producing countries are South Africa, Nigeria, Egypt, Ethiopia, and Tanzania. South Africa and Egypt were the only two African countries cultivating genetically modified (GM) maize until 2013/2014, when Egypt halted GM maize production pending a government review. Nigeria is expected to join South Africa in cultivating GM maize by 2015. GM field trials for crops such as maize, bananas, sweet potato, cotton, and cowpeas are underway in Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon, Kenya, Uganda, Malawi, and Egypt. Challenges in the African maize market include pre- and post-harvest losses, limited access to markets, reliance on rainfall to cultivate crops, droughts and floods, and fluctuating prices. Opportunities within the African maize market include:
Greater agricultural inputs, such as fertilisers and pesticides, as well as improved farming methods to raise the low maize yields experienced in Nigeria and Tanzania.
- Innovative grain storage designs to assist in bridging the time period between maize harvests and food deficits.- Commercial maize flour mills in Ethiopia.
- Sugar cane is the second largest crop in Africa with a production of million tonnes in 2012/2013. The top 2 sugar cane-producing countries are South Africa and Egypt.
Neither South Africa nor Egypt cultivates GM sugarcane. Indonesia became the first country to approve the planting of GM sugar cane in 2013 for commercial cultivation in 2014. South Africa will probably follow suit should a locally developed option become available. Export profitability remains problematic for South Africa -- a sugar exporting nation. Overproduction as a result of sugar subsidies significantly reduces the global sugar price. In addition, preferential trade agreements and high import tariffs further reduce profitability.
Egypt is a net importing country, with the sugar deficit growing annually. The Egyptian government would like sugar consumption per capita to be reduced to curb this demand. Emphasis is placed on developing sugar beet, not sugar cane.
Opportunities within the African sugar cane market include:
- Cross-country collaborations at a sugar research institute level to assist Egypt in developing sugar cane with a higher sucrose content.
- The use of sugar cane to develop biofuels (ethanol) to reduce the dependence on crude oil.