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South Africa eyes Saudi Arabia as Key Agricultural Exports Destination

Published February 28, 2024
3 months ago

South Africa's Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform, and Rural Development, Thoko Didiza, emphasized the significance of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as a pivotal export market for the nation's agricultural sector. The statement came during a visit by a high-level delegation from Saudi Arabia intended to solidify bilateral trade and investment commitments focused on agricultural development and global food security reinforcement.

The visit unfolded with a meeting between Minister Thoko Didiza and her Saudi counterpart, Abdulrahman Abdulmohsen A. AlFadley, the Saudi Minister of Environment, Water, and Agriculture. Attendees included a high-caliber assembly of government leaders, representatives from agricultural state bodies, and prominent figures from the business communities of both South Africa and Saudi Arabia. Notably, the Saudi delegation expressed keen interest in three particular sectors: livestock, sugar, and grains.

Acknowledging the import reliance of Saudi Arabia, which amounts to an approximate 380 billion rands ($20 billion) in agricultural products annually, Minister Didiza highlighted the nation's strategic role in the agricultural market. South Africa's export objectives align with its expansive ambitions to enhance the use of over two million hectares of undeveloped land, a move set to bolster domestic production and elevate export volumes in the foreseeable future.

The talks were set against a backdrop of progress, as recalled by Minister Didiza. Outcomes from negotiations that led to the finalization of the red meat export protocol last October were celebrated, marking a new era for South Africa's livestock industry and its access to Saudi markets. The implementation of this agreement is a testament to the cooperative spirit and commitment to mutual economic advancement.

The discussions yielded optimism, with Minister Didiza appreciating the supportive stance of Saudi Arabia concerning expanding trade across a broad spectrum of value chains. The promise of fortified partnerships hangs in the balance, ready to be catalyzed by enabling deeper trade and investment between the business sectors of the two nations. In a display of gratitude, the South African minister also commended local agriculture and agribusiness entities for their participation and their portrayal of South Africa's high-caliber agricultural offerings and the promising investment propositions they present.

The diplomatic engagement between South Africa and Saudi Arabia gains additional context with the recent inclusion of Saudi Arabia into the BRICS consortium. This group, which includes Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, endeavors to promote economic collaboration and multilateral trade among emerging and developing economies. With Saudi Arabia's induction, alongside Iran, Egypt, Ethiopia, and the UAE, the BRICS alliance is set to expand further, facilitating new opportunities and augmenting South Africa's position within this dynamic collective.

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