On November 28, a business mission of Russian companies exporting agricultural products with the Republic of South Africa opened. The mission is organized by Agroexport and the Russian Ministry of Agriculture and takes place online. The first event of the business program was a plenary session, at which participants discussed the prospects for the development of mutual cooperation in the agricultural sector between Russia and South Africa.
The plenary session was opened by Deputy Minister of Agriculture of Russia Sergei Levin. He emphasized that the Republic is one of Russia’s main partners on the African continent. Trade turnover of agricultural products between countries in the first 10 months of this year increased by 28%. Including Russian exports increased by 90%. Its basis is wheat. Russia is the leading exporter of this crop on the world market and, according to the deputy minister, can significantly increase its supplies to South Africa.
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Russia to South Africa and concurrently to the Kingdom of Lesotho Ilya Rogachev noted the strategic nature of the partnership between Russia and South Africa both in a bilateral format and within the BRICS framework. South Africa is one of the most developed economies in Africa, and also serves as a hub for the supply of products, including agricultural products, to other countries in the region. “From this point of view, prospects for cooperation in the field of ensuring food security in African countries are visible,” the ambassador noted.
Advisor for Agricultural Management at the Ministry of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development of South Africa, Pulane Matshe, spoke about the work of the Ministry and cooperation with the Russian side: “Our interaction with Russia has a long history, and the range of issues that are discussed within the framework of this interaction is very wide . We strive to establish ties between our countries in a variety of areas.”
In turn, representatives of the control and supervisory departments of the two states spoke about the work being carried out by the parties to expand access of Russian products to the South African market. Assistant to the head of Rosselkhoznadzor Artem Daushev recalled that Russia can supply fish, feed and feed additives to the African country from livestock products. Currently, work is underway to open the market for domestic suppliers of meat products. “In order to gain access for livestock products to the South African market, we filled out questionnaires that were provided to us by colleagues from South Africa, and have already received comments from colleagues on various types of meat products - beef, pork, poultry,” Daushev said.
Deputy Director for Foreign Trade Policy of the Animal Health Directorate of the Ministry of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development of South Africa, Dr. Nadia de Beer, in turn, spoke in detail about the requirements for supplied products and the procedures that the exporting country must go through to gain access to the market of the Republic .
In 2022, Russia multiplied food exports to South Africa, according to the head of Agroexport, Dmitry Krasnov. In particular, wheat shipments have increased significantly, and in 9 months of 2023, more than 500 thousand tons have already been delivered, which exceeds the result for the entire last year. “We hope that in the medium term we will expand the supply of agricultural products to South Africa and reach a volume of $400 million. This applies to fish, seafood, and, of course, grain products. We also hope for supplies of meat products,” Krasnov said.
To realize the potential, increased work to remove barriers to trade is necessary, said the President of the African Business Council, Elias Monage. “Unfortunately, a rather difficult regulatory environment has developed between the two countries. It is necessary to deepen our cooperation and move more energetically in resolving strategic issues, including the formation of a legislative framework, harmonization of standards, protocols, etc. The South African Government also wants to speed up the process and make it seamless,” Monage assured.
Representatives of Russian industry unions and businesses presented the potential for exporting domestic products to the South African market. According to Ksenia Bolomatova, Deputy General Director of UZK JSC, to develop mutual trade it is necessary to build a direct dialogue with international partners. “Today’s business mission gives us the opportunity to establish these contacts, discuss supplies on mutually beneficial terms and agree on direct interaction,” Bolomatova noted.
In turn, the head of the National Meat Association Sergei Yushin spoke about the prospects for the supply of Russian meat products to the South African market. “Russian companies annually export meat to 50–60 countries and are ready to supply products to the South African market. High hygienic and sanitary standards are the norm for our enterprises, and we will be happy to receive specialists from South Africa and show our production facilities, control system and laboratories,” Yushin assured.
The plenary session was also attended by the executive director of the Fat and Oil Union of Russia, Mikhail Maltsev, the general director of the National Union of Milk Producers, Artem Belov, as well as representatives of 20 of the largest Russian companies producing agricultural products: BIO-TON, Agro-Alliance LLC, GC "Rusagro" (JSC "Rusagromaslo"), GC "EFKO", APH "Miratorg", GC "Damate", LLC "TD "Cherkizovo", GAP "Resurs" and others.
The business mission takes place online from November 28 to 30. In addition to the plenary session, a round table dedicated to strategies for working in the South African food market is planned as part of the business program. In addition, over 3 days more than 100 b2b meetings will be organized between Russian and South African companies