Record-breaking canola harvest expected

Valerie Cilliers, editor, SA Graan/Grain
Published: 22 November 2023

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Southern Oil (SOILL) is expecting a record-breaking canola harvest in South Africa, with an anticipated total yield of over 220 000* tons of canola seeds, the company announced in a statement this week.

The harvest, which began in October and is expected to conclude in November, is already showing notable progress. This year’s yield is projected to exceed the previous year’s thanks to favourable weather, improved canola cultivars, and advanced farming techniques, said Zander Spammer, Agricultural Resource Manager at SOILL.

The canola is being harvested from 120 198 hectares of land in the Western Cape and Eastern Cape provinces, particularly in the Southern Cape, Overberg, and Swartland regions, where the soil quality, winter rainfall, and warm, dry summers create ideal conditions for canola cultivation.

Although South Africa heavily relies on locally produced canola oil, the country remains a net importer of all fats and oils. Local vegetable oil production has steadily increased by 4,3% from 2021 to 2022, but imports have grown by 12,0% during the same period. In the meantime, total consumption has slightly decreased by -1,30% year on year, which puts pressure on consumer spending.

The country’s dependence on major vegetable oil-producing countries leaves South Africa exposed to price volatility. Recent global events such as the war in Ukraine, droughts in Spain and South America, the Turkish ban on olive oil exports, and production constraints in Malaysia have all influenced local oil prices. ‘These factors underscore the importance of supporting local produce,’ the statement added.

*Total yield tonnage accurate at time of distribution. The canola harvest is still ongoing and this number might fluctuate slightly.