For various reasons, folks in the South African government typically don’t get enough credit. However, in agriculture, there are areas where collaborative efforts between the government and the private sector have led to positive outcomes.

The growth in export markets is one such area. The government helped open various export markets so that our increasing agricultural produce could have a market.

In 2023, South Africa’s agricultural exports reached a record US$13,2 Billion, up 3% from the previous year.

The markets are well diversified. The African continent remained a leading market, accounting for 38% of South Africa’s agricultural exports in 2023 in value terms.

Asia was the second largest agricultural market, accounting for 28% of exports, followed by the EU, the third largest market, accounting for 19%.

The Americas region was the fourth largest, accounting for 6%, and the remaining 9% went to the rest of the world.

Still, we can’t take this for granted. We need to work hard to retain these existing markets in the EU, the African continent, Asia, the Middle East, and the Americas.

Importantly, in an increasingly divided and fragile world, South Africa must tread carefully so that its foreign policy approach does not result in a negative trade policy response from its traditional trading partners.

Moreover, South Africa should expand its market access to key BRICS+ countries, such as China, India, and Saudi Arabia.

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