South Africa’s agricultural exports have grown significantly over the past two decades. Yet agricultural private-sector role players typically argue that the government has not done enough to open up new markets for ever-increasing produce.
The export-led strategy underpinning SA’s trade policy entails a deliberate effort to get the country’s agriculture and other industrial sectors to export products beyond existing international markets. There are at least two diametrically opposing views about how well SA has done in executing this strategy in agriculture.
With 2021 set to present even larger yields than 2020 for SA’s major field crops, horticulture and wine, it is plausible that exports could also surpass last year’s second-largest export earnings record of $10.2bn.
Logistics will again be tested in 2021. SA is gearing up for another year of a large agricultural harvest and therefore large export volumes, especially in the horticulture and field crop subsectors.
Despite a vibrant agricultural sector, there are a standard list of challenges that South African agribusinesses commonly cite – land reform policy, droughts and infrastructure are amongst the most frequently cited. However, a growing challenge facing firms – particularly those in beef, wool, fruit and wine – is the need to identify new markets.
South African agricultural stakeholders want to increase exports to BRIC(S) countries. This message came sharply in a hybrid event the Agricultural Business Chamber of SA (Agbiz) had with its members, commodity organizations and government representatives on March 19.