Ag trade between South Africa and the U.S. valued at $1b in 2022
Trade between the United States and South Africa (SA) reached a record value of nearly US$1 billion in 2022, with fresh fruit as the main product exported from SA to the U.S. at a value of $155 million.
Both nations have a well-established relationship for the trading of agricultural products. These range from fresh fruit, tree nuts, and poultry, to dairy products and wine.
South Africa’s main export to all markets is citrus, at a value of more than $1.6 billion out of a total of $12.9 billion generated from global trade by South Africa in 2022.
In terms of imports from the U.S., the main product in the SA market is feeds, meals, and fodders at a value of $66 million, followed by poultry meat and tree nuts with a net value of $57 and $32 million respectively.
South Africa’s agricultural sector
According to a USDA report, the ag sector in SA consists of 40,000 commercial farmers, 200,000 smallholder farmers, and two million subsistence farmers and it is the largest agricultural producer in the entire African continent.
The country’s ag sector is considered highly diversified, as it includes the production and value-added activities of all the major grains (except rice), oilseeds, deciduous and subtropical fruits, sugar, citrus, wine, vegetables, cattle, dairy, pigs, sheep, broilers, ostriches, and eggs.
South Africa is also a leader in the continent in terms of biotechnology and ranks among the top ten global producers of Genetically Engineered (GE) crops.
However, the sector faces several challenges.
Drought and uneven availability of water are the primary limitations to the sector, especially due to the fact that 90% of production is rainfed.