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SA’s food exports on the rise

South Africa is selling 30% more agricultural goods abroad than it imported in 2010, a study revealed on Wednesday.

“Agricultural exports grew by 10% between 2008 and 2010, with total agricultural exports amounting to $6.8-billion [about R52-billion],” the South African Institute of Race Relations said.

During the same period, agricultural imports increased by just less than a percentage to $5.2-billion (about R39-billion), it added.

Agricultural exports accounted for 5% of South Africa’s total exports in 2010, while agricultural imports accounted for 2%.

The analysis was based on information supplied by the foreign agricultural service in the United States’ agriculture department.

The Netherlands was South Africa’s largest agricultural export destination, accounting for a little over 10% or $700-million (about R5.3-billion) in 2010, the research revealed.

Between 2008 and 2010, the demand for South African agricultural exports grew in Asia and Africa, while the proportion of such exports going to European countries declined.

“Recent data indicates that demand for South African agricultural products is not only holding steady, but is in fact growing,” researcher Jonathan Snyman said.

“Food security is an especially precarious state of affairs in sub-Sahara Africa, so it is a positive development that South African has maintained its status as a net agricultural exporter.”

Argentina remained South Africa’s largest source of agricultural imports since 2008. But the proportion of the imports had fallen from 17% in 2008 to 12% in 2010, he said. — Sapa

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