Local companies urged to tap into Gulf agro-processing sector

Friday, February 22, 2019

South Africa’s Consul General to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), David Magabe, has urged local companies to tap into the Middle East’s agro-processing sector.

“The UAE and the Middle East in general have always been a good market for South Africa in terms of export opportunities. The UAE is looking at increasing its volume of imports from countries that they are trading with, and South Africa is well-positioned to supply agricultural products covering the entire agro-processing value chain,” said Magabe on Thursday.

This as South African companies, led by the Department of Trade and Industry (dti), were showing off their wares at the Gulfood Exhibition, which got underway on Monday in Dubai.

Speaking at South Africa’s exhibition stand at the fair, Magabe said vegetables and agro-processing products are the third most imported products from South Africa and constitute a 12.17% share of UAE’s total imports.

Magabe reiterated that South Africa has the capacity to produce enough in order to supply the UAE market.

“I urge South African entrepreneurs and emerging farmers to make use of these opportunities and engage government on the support they offer, particularly to new companies that are keen on exporting into these markets,” said Magabe.

Gulfood is hailed as the leading food and beverage exhibition in the Gulf region, bringing together exporters, importers, distributors, retailers, wholesalers, food producers and restaurateurs from more than 100 countries.

The exhibition draws about 5 000 exhibitors and more than 100 000 visitors from 120 countries annually.

Magabe said platforms like Gulfood give South African businesses an opportunity to network and look for exports opportunities beyond the Gulf countries.

South Africa’s exports to the UAE grew from R11.7 billion in 2013 to R23.5 billion in 2017. 

The trade fair concluded on Thursday. - SAnews.gov.za