The Richards Bay industrial development zone (RBIDZ) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Dubai-based trader DBL World General Trading last month, which could result in South African produce, particularly meat and poultry products, being exported to the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The signing ceremony took place during a seminar between potential buyers and small-scale and commercial farmers to determine capacity and demand requirements. The seminar included a session on halaal compliance requirements with the South African National Halaal Authority.
RBIDZ research and marketing intelligence manager Brenda Mabaso tells Engineering News that DBL has placed a large order of poultry and meat products, which is expected to arrive in Dubai within the next three months.
DBL CEO Ismail Khan says the products will be distributed from Dubai to other member States of the Gulf Cooperation Council, which comprises the UAE, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.
The products will also be supplied to other Islamic nations in the Middle East and North Africa.
DBL primarily supplies fresh and processed food products, particularly frozen produce, which it imports from a number of countries, including Brazil, Australia, Poland, Ukraine, Belgium, India and Egypt.
Mabaso highlights that 26 farmers have registered as potential suppliers of agricultural and agroprocessed goods to international markets, 11 of which have been awarded the opportunity to contribute to this order, owing to their ability to meet the demands of DBL.
The farmers will also supply produce, including vegetables and fruits; however, this will be determined on a seasonal basis and according to market demand.
The RBIDZ has been strategically placed as an export fresh-produce and agroprocessing destination for farmers in KwaZulu-Natal, as part of government’s Growth Development Strategy, which prioritises agriculture as a means of alleviating poverty in KwaZulu-Natal.
Mabaso explains that the RBIDZ aims to eliminate poverty in the province by facilitating economic growth and job creation for small-scale and subsistence farmers, thereby transforming these farms into commercial operations.
To facilitate this development, the RBIDZ coordinated its efforts with a number of entities, including agriculture industry representative body AgriSA, the Department of Rural Development and the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.
Citing a recently completed feasibility study, Mabaso states that the establishment of an agroprocessing and fresh-produce distribution centre in Richards Bay was found to be a viable business venture, owing to its close proximity to the Port of Richards Bay and, therefore, to export markets.
She points out that the RBIDZ’s location will provide a competitive advantage for farmers in the east and the centre of South Africa, as “current exports are . . . through Durban and most through Cape Town, which was found to be a challenge in terms of cost and turnaround time for most farmers [in those areas]”.