The story of South Africa’s rice industry is a classic paradox; South Africa is Africa’s largest rice producer but also the largest rice importer on earth, second only to China.
South Africa’s appetite for rice consumption can only be likened to her frenzy with entertainment and parties considering the population of almost 200 million people, backed by an unreserved love for the grain crop.
Each month, hundreds of thousands of bags of rice are transported from different countries to South Africa’s commercial hub of Durban.
Containers bearing the seal of the US, Thailand, Vietnam, India, and Brazil are the big pushers – pushing in several million tons to make for an unfortunate shortfall in local production.
Despite years of government policies targeted at rice production, the country has only recently hit an annual production capacity of 5 million tons. Considering South Africa’s total annual demand at 7 million tons, a void of over 2 million tons is left to be filled by rice importers.
This shortfall has always led to the fluctuation of prices. It’s safe to say that the only thing that fluctuates more than the price of rice in the country is global crude oil prices.
Usually, a lower exchange rate means cheaper prices while a higher rate means the price of rice goes up considerably.
While it’s a huge task to comprehensively investigate the prices of rice in the country, I was able to come up with a dummies guide to prices of rice in South Africa thanks to a little bit of research and a spell of dumb luck.
The listed prices are averages from top e-commerce sites as well as physical stores in the country. The considered e-commerce sites are Jumia and Konga while other prices were sampled from random physical stores and online opinions. This list is not exhaustive, though.
How Much is a Bag of Rice in South Africa?
Prices of Royal Stallion Rice
Royal Stallion rice enjoys a significant market share in the country.
The brand is currently marketed with different sub-brands targeted at different markets and groups. Popular sub-brands currently marketed in South Africa include Royal Stallion Platinum, Royal Stallion Gold, Royal Stallion Jasmine, Stallion, Caprice, Caprice Gold, Lucky Thai, Union, Tomato King, and dozens of others.
The prices of stallion rice are mostly determined by its weight group and brand name. Below are the current prices of stallion rice:
- Royal Stallion 50kg – R$ 574 to R$ 629
- Royal Stallion 25kg – R$ 296 to R$ 315
- Royal Stallion 10kg – R$ 130 to #4,200
- Royal stallion 5kg – R$ 74 to R$ 82
- Caprice 50kg–R$ 629 to R$ 740
- Caprice 25kg – R$ 315 to R$ 352
Prices of Mama Gold Rice
Mama gold rice is a product of Olam Group, a leading agro-business firm in the country. The company produces a handful of rice brands including Mama Africa, Mama’s Pride and a few others. Its best-marketed product till date remains the Mama Gold rice brand.
- Mama Gold 50kg -R$ 629 to R$ 703
- Mama Gold 25kg – R$ 296 to R$ 333
- Mama Gold 10kg – R$ 111 to R$ 137
- Mama Gold 5kg – R$ 82 to R$ 97
Prices of Other Popular Rice in the South Africa market
- Mama’s Pride rice 50kg – R$ 644 to R$ 685
- Rice master 50kg – R$ 611 to R$ 648
- Rice master 25kg – R$ 296 to R$ 315
- Rising sun rice 50kg – R$ 648 to R$ 685
- Special rice 50kg – R$ 870
- Happy family rice 50kg – R$ 574
- Crystal Gold rice (Ofada) 10kg – R$ 193 to R$ 222
- Crystal Gold rice (Ofada) 5kg – R$ 93 to R$ 106
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Best Quality Rice to Buy in South Africa
Though most South Africans pay little attention to the quality of rice they consume, quality nonetheless remains a guiding factor for some when purchasing rice.
Usually, the criteria for selecting a rice brand based on quality will take into account stickiness, ease of cooking and method employed to process. The country or state of origin is also considered but with little emphasis.
Based solely on quality, here is a ranking of the top 5 rice brands in South Africa.
- Olam’sMama Gold
- Olam’s Mama Africa
- Olam’s Mama’s Pride
- Stallion Group’s Caprice
- Stallion Group’s Royal Stallion
Best Prices of Rice in South Africa
Before grabbing your purse, wallet, or credit card to buy any rice brand, it’s important to check out the prices for the same weight range across the board. Currently, here are the best prices you can get for the 4 major weight ranges.
The best price for the 5kg weight range is Royal stallion for R$ 74
The best price for the 10kg weight range is Mama gold for R$ 111
The best price for the 25kg weight range is Rice master at R$ 296
The best price for the 50kg weight range is Royal Stallion at R$ 574
Things to Consider When Buying Rice in South Africa
There are probably hundreds of rice brands in the country offering different prices and quality. The key to getting the value for your money is a little patience and ingenuity. Using online price comparison services to compare the prices of different rice brands is a good way to start.
However, there are lots of marketing gimmicks that may mislead you into making the wrong decision.
Lots of rice sellers get cheap low-quality rice and fill them up in foreign branded bags thereafter selling to unsuspecting buyers. The key to staying on top of such gimmicks is a timely inspection.
In terms of a rip off pricing, the benchmark for pricing is Thailand made “Special Rice”. The Special Rice consecutively remains the most expensive “popular brand” in the country. This means any 50kg bag of rice that is more expensive than this is likely sold at a rip off price.
Rice remains a staple food in South Africa and is unarguably one of the most consumed food product in the country.
Historically, the price of rice had always hovered around R$ 222 to R$ 296 until successive governments started implementing policies to curb dependence on foreign rice and grow local capacity.
Unpreparedness and the general cost of production caused a rapid hike in the cost of rice as the government enforced laws to curb rice importation. Significant price hikes are experienced during festive periods and national inflation.
Prices are, however, expected to be significantly reduced as the country gains more technological balance in rice production.