HER EXCELLENCY MS MADIEPETSANE CHARLOTTE LOBE
The South African High Commission in Singapore would like to congratulate the Singapore Fruits and Vegetables Importers and Exporters Association (SFVIEA) on the publication of their 56th Members Directory. The launch of the Directory will go a long way in facilitating international trade particularly in agribusiness. SFVIEA is playing a vital role in increasing opportunities for exporters of fresh produce to connect with international buyers.
Through designated government agencies, South Africa and Singapore continue to hold engagements aimed at expanding bilateral trade. Fruits and vegetables constitute a sizeable part of traded items between the two countries. According to the latest trade data released by Statistics South Africa (StatsSA), South Africa’s agricultural exports recorded a 12% quarter-on-quarter increase during the second quarter of the year. This growth is attributed to the significant agricultural output in the 2021-2022 production season and firm global demand, even at higher grain prices.
South Africa continues to harvest fruits such as oranges, nectarines, citrus, apples, table grapes, lemons, pears, peaches, plums and grape fruit. In terms of vegetables South Africa produces items such as asparagus, chilies, onions, cabbages, tomatoes, potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, butternut squash and sweet peppers. The South African Rooibos tea with scientifically proven health benefits is being exported to more than 60 countries.
The South African Agriculture and Agro-processing Master Plan underscores the importance of developing new markets and maintenance of existing traditional markets. Hence markets such as China, Singapore, South Korea, Philippines and Saudi Arabia have been identified as key markets where South African agribusinesses are interested in expanding their presence. To maintain a competitive edge South Africa needs to strengthen domestic efforts aimed at improving the logistical value chain, port services, energy and water security for local farmers.
Notwithstanding the challenging global economy, the agriculture and food value chain sectors remain strong as they are supported by population growth, urbanization and the rise of the middle class. Increasingly role players in agriculture and food value chain are obliged to improve the traceability of the food supplied to customers. At the same time consumers are rightfully becoming more conscious about the content and safety of our food, including the environmental and social impacts of the production process.
South Africa is purposefully intensifying efforts to strengthen research and technology, including efficient logistics suitable for exporting fresh produce. In addition, there is commitment to maintain a world class food quality system through integrated systems for logistics, quality management and traceability. These systems are seeking to safeguard the health and well-being of consumers around the world including the promotion of South Africa’s integrity on food trade. The standards, guidelines and codes of practice provided by the South African Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development and its subsidiaries such as the Perishable Products Export Control Board (PPECB), contribute to safety and quality assurances of South Africa’s food trade system.
South African exports of agricultural products such as maize, apples, pears, grapes and sunflower oil have recorded a significant increase resulting in sizeable export earnings. This would assist farmers to traverse the current high cost environment, and make the necessary production expansions including investing in machinery, innovation and new technology in order to remain sustainable and internationally competitive. The agricultural sector is central to fostering economic growth in the country. South Africa also recognizes the scale and scope offered by digital platforms aimed at connecting exporters with global importers; hence the Cape Trade Portal was launched in early 2022 to expand the global footprint of premium, competitive and diverse quality South African exports (www.capetradeportal.com).