South Africaˇ¦s Consul General to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), David Magabe, has urged local companies to tap into the Middle Eastˇ¦s agro-processing sector.

ˇ§The UAE and the Middle East in general have always been a good market for South Africa in terms of export opportunities. The UAE is looking at increasing its volume of imports from countries that they are trading with, and South Africa is well-positioned to supply agricultural products covering the entire agro-processing value chain,ˇ¨ said Consul General Magabe on Thursday, 21 February 2019.

This as South African companies, led by the Department of Trade and Industry (dti), were showing off their wares at the Gulfood Exhibition, which was held in Dubai.

Speaking at South Africaˇ¦s exhibition stand at the fair, Consul General Magabe said vegetables and agro-processing products were the third most imported products from South Africa and constituted a 12,17% share of the UAEˇ¦s total imports.

He reiterated that South Africa had the capacity to produce enough in order to supply the UAE market.

ˇ§I urge South African entrepreneurs and emerging farmers to make use of these opportunities and engage government on the support they offer, particularly to new companies that are keen on exporting into these markets,ˇ¨ said Consul General Magabe.

Gulfood is hailed as the leading food and beverage exhibition in the Gulf region, bringing together exporters, importers, distributors, retailers, wholesalers, food producers and restaurateurs from more than 100 countries.

The exhibition draws about 5 000 exhibitors and more than 100 000 visitors from 120 countries annually.

Consul General Magabe said platforms like Gulfood gave South African businesses an opportunity to network and look for exports opportunities beyond the Gulf countries.

South Africaˇ¦s exports to the UAE grew from R11,7 billion in 2013 to R23,5 billion in 2017.

ˇV Source: SAnews.gov.za