South Africa is forecast to produce a record rapeseed crop of 220,000 tonnes in the 2023/24 marketing year due to increased plantings and favourable weather conditions, according to a report by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

If realised, the crop would be a 5% year-on-year increase, the USDA’s Republic of South Africa - Surging Rapeseed Production report said.

Since 2019/20, rapeseed planted area had grown from 74,000ha to 128,100ha, while production had almost tripled, the USDA said.

“Rapeseed production in South Africa grew by seven-fold during the past 20 years after it was first introduced in the late 1990s,” the USDA said.

“Constant yield growth from new cultivars, combined with firm crush demand because of escalating vegetable oil prices, support the expansion in rapeseed production.”

With limited local processing capacity, South Africa started exporting rapeseed in the 2021/22 marketing year, according to the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS)’s Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) report.

The country was forecast to ship a record 50,000 tonnes in the 2023/24 marketing year, with most of it transported to Germany and Belgium, the 11 August report said.

Although rapeseed production in the country had expanded significantly, it accounted for only 6% of total oilseed production in the 2022/23 marketing year, while soyabeans and sunflowerseeds accounted for 73% and 20% respectively, the report said.