Government is planning to focus its efforts to help smallholder farmers to increase their access to markets in the year ahead. Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa said this when she briefed media on the International Cooperation, Trade and Security Cluster’s plan of action for 2017.
South Africa’s agricultural, forestry and fishery exports increased by 18% last year to make the country a net exporter of products in this sector. The briefing came after President Jacob Zuma’s State of the Nation Address on Thursday, 9 February.
Minister Molewa said the level of investment in agriculture increased by 9.6% in 2016.
“We are also focusing on increasing market access for smallholders through the implementation of the South African Good Agricultural Practice and intra-African trade,” she said.
Trade between South Africa and its traditional partners in the West remains a significant contributor to the economy.
“The Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union (EU) came into force in September 2016, thus providing new market access opportunities for South African products. Almost all South African products (about 99%) will have preferential market access in the EU, compared to about 95% under the Trade Development Cooperation Agreement (TDCA). About 96% of the products will enter the EU market without being subjected to customs duties or quantitative restrictions. The other 3% will still have access, albeit partial, that is similar or improved compared to the TDCA,” Minister Molewa said.