Rus­sia looks to SA for fresh pro­duce

Vuk'uzenzele - - Gryeonluaetrihaonlfsoc/ Uafsrica -

A STRONG PART­NER­SHIP be­tween the two coun­tries re­sulted in lo­cal farm­ers be­ing able to ex­port their har­vest.

Rus­sia con­tin­ues to be an im­por­tant mar­ket for South African fresh pro­duce, says the Fresh Pro­duce Ex­porters' Fo­rum (FPEF).

FPEF CEO An­ton Kruger said about ten per­cent out of 2.7 mil­lion tons of fresh fruit ex­ported from South Africa goes to Rus­sia.

Kruger was part of the De­part­ment of Trade and In­dus­try’s (dti) del­e­ga­tion which is par­tic­i­pat­ing in the World Food Moscow trade fair which took place re­cently.

The dti-led del­e­ga­tion of busi­ness­peo­ple forms part of the de­part­ment’s ef­forts to pro­mote South Africa’s agro-pro­cess­ing in­dus­try in to con­sol­i­date and es­tab­lish a mar­ket pres­ence of South African goods in Rus­sia.

Kruger said the South African pavil­ion at the fair added value for the FPEF, which is a vol­un­tary, non-profit or­gan­i­sa­tion with more than 130 mem­bers, ac­count­ing for about 90 per­cent of fresh pro­duce ex­ported from South Africa.

Kruger, who also rep­re­sents the Ex­port Coun­cil for the Fresh Pro­duce In­dus­try in South Africa, said since 2017, they have seen a steady ex­port growth in pears, ap­ples and ta­ble grapes, al­though the bulk of ex­ports is still cit­rus.

He said the coun­cil is en­gag­ing with the Rus­sian Cham­ber of Com­merce and In­dus­try and is ad­dress­ing the la­belling is­sue. This fol­lows the de­ci­sion by the Euro Agent Com­mis­sion to in­tro­duce new la­belling re­quire­ments. The de­ci­sion added a lot of cost and ad­di­tional ef­forts for South Africa to ex­port its fresh pro­duce.

Kruger said while 10 per­cent out of 2.7 mil­lion tons of fresh fruit is ex­ported from South Africa to Rus­sia, this took a dip in 2016 to around six per­cent as a re­sult of the la­belling re­quire­ments.

He said since 2017, the vol­umes have picked up again to reach 10 per­cent.

Kruger said there is po­ten­tial for South African grown av­o­ca­dos to be ex­ported to Rus­sia.

“We no­ticed that there is a big op­por­tu­nity for us to in­tro­duce av­o­ca­dos and test the Rus­sian mar­ket,” said Kruger.

Last year the an­nual World Food Moscow hosted 1 433 ex­hibitors from 65 coun­tries spe­cial­is­ing in food and bev­er­age prod­ucts, with 78 per­cent of the ex­hibitors re­port­ing that they had re­turn of in­vest­ment from ex­hibit­ing at the show.

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