Exports of agri-food products to Asia growing
SOUTH Africa's agricultural exports and imports to developing countries such as India, China and Mexico have increased dramatically as a result of a reduction in trade with the EU and US.
The reduction was due to the global economic meltdown. Figures released by Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson in Parliament yesterday show that overall exports of agricultural products - both primary and processed food - amounted to R48billion.
Growing exports to Asia have seen the region account for the highest exports of South African agricultural products.
Exports to China, Hong-Kong, South Korea and the United Arab Emirates make up 12% of South Africa's agri-food basket share.
The country has also increased the export of agricultural products to Zimbabwe from 2% to 8%.
Mexico, which never had agri-food trade with South Africa, now imports five percent of the country's agricultural products.
By value, the amount of trade with Asian countries increased from R1,4-illion in 2006 to just over R-billion in 2010.
"We continue to enjoy large and favourable trade balances with all the economic communities across Africa. Exports are almost six times larger than imports from the continent," she said.
Exports to China are worth R2,-billion and the trade balance with Russia is R1,-billion in favour of South Africa.
"An overall conclusion could be made that the most important growth in the main export destinations for South African exports of agri-food products over the past decade were to Asian destinations.
"This is as a result of active political relations and fast and consistent growth rate of these countries," Joemat-Pettersson said.