Q2 GDP continues on firmer footing – Agriculture rebounds on seasonality factors

Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) released the quarter two (Q2) gross domestic product (GDP) figures for 2021 on Tuesday 7 September. It shows that the economy accelerated by 1,2% on a quarterly (q/q) basis, following an increase of 1,0% in the first quarter of 2021.

Six industries recorded positive growth, with transport, storage and communication industry being the biggest contributors to growth (6,9% q/q), followed by agriculture.

Taking a look at the agricultural sector, agricultural GDP ticked up by 6,2% q/q and contributed 0,2% to GDP growth. This was mainly attributed to the increased production of field crops, horticulture and animal products.

“It was to be expected as the second quarter of the year generally sees an increase in agricultural activity, says Kulani Siweya, chief economist at Agri SA. “A great deal of agricultural GDP is concentrated in field crops and when considering summer crops, harvesting usually kicks off in May (April for early harvest). This is followed up with planting that takes place after the first rains of the season, which is around October (of the previous year) until January the following year.”

Similarly, winter crops are planted mainly in the second quarter of the year. Although the crop is not significantly sizeable compared to the summer crop, harvesting of winter crop is usually concentrated in the third and fourth quarter of the year. Those numbers will be released later in the year.

“These seasonality factors underpin the firmer GDP figures for the sector,” says Nicol Jansen, chairman of Agri’s Centre of Excellence: Economics. “The second quarter numbers are particularly anchored in the positive crop estimates for the year. Animal production, which has been negatively affected in large by drought in some pockets of the country and diseases in some other parts, is seeing a rebound as herd rebuilding continues. Should conducive weather patterns and the absence of diseases prevail, a positive outcome can be expected going into the other quarters.”


Kulani Siweya Head: Economics (C) 084 018 6019

Nicol Jansen Chair of Agri SA’s Centre of Excellence: Economics (C) 082 948 2629