According to Wandile Sihlobo, the chief economist of Agricultural Business Chamber (Agbiz), South Africa’s government and industry should have a renewed aggressive focus of diversifying its export markets in these uncertain times. Sihlobo said the country must broaden its export markets within China, India, Bangladesh, the Gulf Cooperation Council states and Japan. These were important markets that the country already had some marginal access to.
“The government and the industry should work on broadening access to all the major export-oriented products of South Africa: horticulture, beef and wine. We cannot afford to be concentrated in a few regions, however important and stable they are. The EU's example provides a glimpse of the risks of overexposure in one region for exports,” Sihlobo stated.
Sihlobo said the EU had recently imposed protectionist measures on agriculture by changing its regulations on plant safety for citrus without notifying its trading partners within a reasonable time.