The Agricultural Business Chamber of South Africa (Agbiz), industry organisations Agri SA, the African Farmers’ Association of South Africa (Afasa), the Bureau for Food and Agricultural Policy (BFAP) and the National African Farmers’ Union (Nafu) have met with the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC) to discuss Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (Brics) agricultural trade matters.
South Africa remains a small player in the Brics bloc, with fellow Brics countries buying less than 10% of South Africa’s exports of $10-billion. The key hindrance has largely been both tariff and non-tariff barriers.
The Brics Agribusiness Working Group advocates for preferential market access, which will address these challenges.
Stakeholders expressed interest in increased market access in China and India for a range of products, including beef, horticultural products and wine. The meeting of the Brics Agribusiness Working Group was held in the spirit of supporting South Africa’s growth initiatives.
“We call on policymakers to continue working with private sector players in prioritising the expansion of agricultural export markets, specifically engagement with India and China. These countries do not only comprise of growing populations but also growing income and change in consumer preference, which bodes well for the products South Africa produces for export,” says Brics Agribusiness Working Group chairperson and Agbiz CEO Dr John Purchase.
South Africa views agriculture as one of the important sectors in its Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan. That entails the potential expansion of agricultural production which will be carried out through the master plans that are in the final stages of drafting.
The expected increase in output will require export markets, as South Africa’s agricultural sector is export-oriented.
“The Brics Agribusiness Working Group looks forward to increased dialogue with government structures to reach these objectives,” Purchase states.