Posted: September 26, 2019
Association Working Double Tides to Diversify Export Market for SA Fruits
|The Chief Executive Officer of Fruit South Africa, Dr Konanani Liphadzi says her industry association is working double ties in to order to diversify the export market for the South African fruits with the objective of increasing, safeguarding and sustaining the country’s fruit exports. Liphadzi was speaking on the sidelines of the World Food Moscow, a four-day international food and drinks exhibition currently underway in the Russian capital. More than thirty South African companies supported by the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) are showcasing their products at the popular trade fair which started on Tuesday.
“Currently almost 50% of our fruit exports go to the European Union countries. Although we are happy with the performance of our exports in this market, the association has identified a need to diversify the market. This was after the negative impact that our exports to Europe suffered during the 2008 global economic meltdown. We have since realised that it was not wise to have all our eggs in one basket, hence we are continuously working on facilitating market access for our fruits in other countries,” says Liphadzi.
She adds that the association has set its sights on the Far East countries and has also identified Russia as a market which has the potential to grow as a destination for the South African fruits.
“We have identified the Russian market for special focus because of the potential to increase our exports headed here. We have also been spurred into action by the unexpected decline of our exports to Russia from eight percent in 2016 to the current six percent. The Russian buyers that we have been engaging with during this trade fair have attributed this to the negative effect of European sanctions on Russia that have impacted on the disposable income of individual citizens in particular, and the economy as a whole. The result was a reduction in the consumption of fruits as they are not a staple diet,” explains Liphadzi
She expressed optimism that the meetings with the Russian buyers that she has been hosting at her association’s stand at the World Food Moscow since Tuesday, will go a long way in getting more SA fruits heading to Russia. She reckons that as a fellow member of the Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (Brics) grouping, there is an opportunity to increase exports of fruits to the Federation as part of efforts to boost intra-Brics trade.
“We are also happy about the commendable inroads that we are making in penetrating the Chinese market as part of our strategy to diversify the market for our products. Securing market access for fruits is a long and arduous journey, but after finally acquiring market access for our apples in China, we are happy that we are now making significant progress in obtaining access for pears in the same country. Hopefully we will see our pears exported to China by the end this year and that will be a commendable achievement. Soon thereafter we will be putting our focus on the avocados. We are also working on opening up markets in various African countries,” adds Liphadzi.
In addition to marketing the SA fruits, opening up markets in various countries, and contributing in negotiating for better trading conditions, Liphadzi says her association’s mandate also include transforming the industry.
“We have the responsibility to transform the industry across the entire value chain from primary production to exports to sure it reflects the demographics of the country. Commercial agriculture is still white dominated and we want to make sure that more Black people, youth and women are participating actively and meaningfully in the commercial space,” says Liphadzi.