The Western Cape’s Department of Agriculture confirmed that the trade between the Western Cape and the United Kingdom(UK) remains positive after South Africa was placed back on the UK’s red list due to the new COVID-19 variant.
The provincial Minister for agriculture, Ivan Meyer, indicated after a briefing hosted by the South African Chamber of Commerce UK Cape Chapter, that the Western Cape is a net exporter of agricultural products to the UK as the exports of agriculture and agri-processing products in value terms shown a generally positive trend from 2010 to 2020.
Meyer said agricultural products were valued at R7.2 billion in 2020, followed by food, beverage and tobacco at R2.4 billion in the same year, combined agricultural and agri-processing exports were worth R9.6 billion.
According to Meyer, primary agriculture products account for 75% of the exported products and agri-processing 25%. The European Union and the UK are the main export markets for South Africa’s table grapes and combined they accounted for 74% of the volumes during the 2019/2020 season.
Meyer went on to explain that some of the significant exports products from the Western Cape in 2020 include wine in a container holding 2 litres or less valued at R1.4 billion, while apples and mandarins accounted for R1.2 billion and R1 billion, respectively.
“South Africa’s bulk wine export volumes to the UK also increased by 9.5% from 2019 to 2020. Some Western Cape imports from the UK include Whisky worth R355 million, flour meal and pellets R83 million, chocolate, and other preparations containing cocoa R39 million,” Meyer said.
Post-Brexit opportunities for the Western Cape exports to the UK are essential since this market accounts for over R9 million of the province’s agricultural and agri-processing product and under the new deal called the Southern Africa Customs Union nations, UK-Economic Partnership agreement, it is expected that the break-away of the UK from the EU will not disrupt trade between our respective regions.
However, during the briefing, Meyer also expressed concern over the red-listing of South Africa by the UK and the impact that this will have on our provincial economy.
“We are calling for the UK to remove South Africa from its travel red list so that we can save jobs in our province,” Meyer indicated