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Tuesday, 16 September 2014 13:01

Russia: An Important Market for SA Fruits

PRETORIA, South Africa, Sept. 16, 2014 (Buziness Africa) – Many African countries, particularly South Africa, consider external markets as very important for their agricultural products. In an interview just before the World Food Exhibition, Justin Chadwick from the Citrus Growers' Association in South Africa told Buziness Africa about the aims of the association, its achievements and furure perspectives. He spoke briefly with Kester Kenn Klomegah, Regional Editor-in-Chief for Russia & Eurasia at Buziness Africa Media Group.


Interview excerpts:

BA:What are the key focus of the association and why it was created in the place in South Africa?

Justin Chadwick: In essence CGA was originally created to ensure research capacity was continued after deregulation; in order to gain, retain and optimize market access. Since then the growers have included transformation, representation, consumer assurance, information and logistics to the Associations activities.


BA:Can you discuss some of its achievements so far? 

Chadwick: Gained market access to China in 2004; gained access for clementines to Japan; gained access for additional magisterial districts to the USA; gained access for grapefruit and lemons to South Korea; retained access to USA and EU (despite plant health issues); optimized access to all markets through continued research and development.


BA:Challenges and problems still hinder the association? 

Chadwick: Most significant are technical barriers to trade – such as the EU Citrus Black Spot (CBS) issue. Poor science is used to try and limit South Africa’s access to this market. Other problems are high input costs, high transport costs and high packaging costs.


BA:Which external markets are favorable for exporters in South Africa? 

Chadwick: In 2013, South Africa exported 42% to EU, 20% to Middle East; 12% to Russia (biggest single country), 6% to North America and 16% to Asia.


BA:How do you assess emerging markets such Russia and Eurasia? 

Chadwick: Russia is no longer an emerging market for South African citrus – it is the largest volume importer (as a single country) of South African citrus. It is a very important market. Asian countries are growing in importance; Japan has for years been a significant importer of grapefruit; South Korea is emerging as an important importer of grapefruit. Other important markets for development are Indonesia, Philippines and Vietnam.


BA:Can trade preferences help potential exporters if offered by importing foreign countries?

Chadwick: Absolutely – without trade preferences product is more expensive than countries that do have trade preferences. Unfortunately, South Africa does not have many trade preferences.


BA:Climate change and weather vagaries (conditions) as well as government policies influence on aggregate domestic production? 

Chadwick: Not significant at this time. (Source: Buziness Africa)



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