The Agriculture Section of the Embassy, which re-opened its doors in 2007, deals with the French-South African cooperation in the agriculture sector and conducts the relations between the South-African government and the international organisations based in Paris, like the OECD, the International Organisation for Vine and Wine and the World Organisation for Animal Health. The imports and exports of agriculture products issues fall within the competence of the trade section.
The South African economy, like many others of equal size, has suffered from the effects of the global slowdown that was a consequence of the recent economic and financial meltdown. However, the latest figures suggest that it is in a better shape since the recession as growth in all economic sectors entered positive territory, with agriculture, forestry and fisheries recording a positive growth of 3.0%. The agriculture, forestry and fisheries sector is one of those that have seen a quarter-on-quarter job recovery in the first quarter of 2010.
Private consumption expenditure on agricultural products has not yet recovered, but this is expected to change with a recovery in employment. Although the sector has not yet fully recovered from the effects of the recession, the signs in the first quarter of 2010 indicate that it is likely to experience a full recovery in the remaining quarters of 2010.
The total export value of agricultural products decreased from R11.9 billion (about 1.2 billion euros) in the first quarter of 2009 to R10.1 billion in the first quarter of 2010. Although the figure shows a year-on-year decrease, it is still higher than the corresponding figures for 2007 and 2008. The Netherlands represented the leading export destination for South African agricultural products during this period, at 15% of total export value or about R1.5 billion. The other countries with significant export revenues included Zimbabwe, Germany, China, Mozambique , Kenya, The United Arab Emirates, the United States of America (the US)and Angola. These nine countries accounted for 59% of the total export revenue from agricultural products in this period.
The 10 leading agricultural products in terms of export values include edible fruits and nuts, beverages, preserved food, tobacco, cereals, wool not carded or combed, miscellaneous food, sugar, meat, milling products and malt and starch. Together, these products earned about 85% of the total export revenue in the first quarter of 2010.