China Boosts Agricultural Trade with South Africa, Deepening Economic Ties

Image Credit, Sumitra Nydoo,

In a story first reported by Sumitra Nydoo, CGTN Correspondent in Pretoria, South Africa, China and South Africa are embarking on an intensified collaboration in the agricultural sector to fortify economic bonds. The latest development marks a significant milestone in bilateral trade, with South Africa recently exporting 220,000 tons of corn and 150,000 tons of soybeans to the Chinese market.

Andre van de Vyver, Executive Director of SACOTA (South African Grain Producers’ Organization), emphasized China’s status as the largest importer of soybeans globally, importing approximately 100 million tons annually, along with significant maize imports ranging from 20 to 25 million tons. Despite South Africa’s modest soybean production of 3 million tons, its reputation for high-quality maize has captured China’s attention, making it a sought-after trade partner.

The journey to facilitate this trade partnership was meticulous, spanning two years of negotiations and inspections. China dispatched a delegation to assess South Africa’s agricultural facilities, ensuring compliance with stringent global standards. Van de Vyver highlighted the meticulous scrutiny involved in meeting phytosanitary requirements, covering field inspections, storage facilities, and export terminals. Satisfactory findings have paved the way for further expansion in production and trade.

Last year witnessed a 7% surge in South African exports to China, amounting to approximately $28 billion, underscoring the growing economic ties between the two nations. The BRICS Summit also catalyzed this momentum, with the signing of at least 20 new deals, signaling mutual commitment to deepening cooperation.

Dr. Sizo Nklala, a Research Fellow at the University of Johannesburg, emphasized the significance of political goodwill in nurturing robust economic relations. He traced the foundation of Sino-South African relations to the anti-apartheid struggle, which has evolved into a series of high-level visits post-apartheid, fostering mutual trust and understanding.

The strengthening of ties holds immense promise for both nations. China’s insatiable demand for soybeans presents lucrative opportunities for South African farmers, coinciding with a surge in local production expected to reach close to 3 million tonnes this year.

As China and South Africa forge ahead in their agricultural partnership, the fruits of cooperation are poised to yield mutual prosperity, further cementing their status as key players in the global economy.