DA urges South Africa to import local fruits, tuna

The Department of Agriculture (DA) is urging South Africa to import tuna, sardines, coconut oil, mangoes, bananas and other tropical fruits from the Philippines.

South African officials paid a courtesy call on DA officials last March 13. Among those discussed was the DA’s final draft of the proposed memorandum of understanding (MOU) on Technical Cooperation in the Field of Agriculture between the Philippines and South Africa for the latter’s approval.

The MOU seeks to promote bilateral cooperation between the two countries on capacity-building, technology advancement, agricultural trade, agribusiness, and knowledge-sharing by conducting joint activities, projects, programs, and exchanges.

“South African Ambassador to the Philippines Bartinah Ntombizodwa Radebe-Netshitenzhe took pride in South Africa’s vibrant production of citrus and meat,” the DA said in a statement.

Since the establishment of diplomatic ties between the Philippines and South Africa in November 1993, the two countries have had a vibrant history of cultural, political, economic relations.

In 2021 alone, South Africa ranked 42 among 223 top trading partners and was the largest African trading partner of the Philippines, recording a total trade amount of $125.1 million.

Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) has showed that the Philippines’ $85.5 million worth of export products to South Africa include desiccated coconut, tobacco, coconut oil and its fraction, mucilage and thickeners, carrageenan, preparations suitable for infants and young children, tobacco that were not stemmed-flue-cured, sauces and preparations, coffee extracts, essences and concentrates, and coconut concentrate.

The South African government mostly exported onion seeds, dog and cat food, fruit juice mixtures, undenatured ethyl alcohol, grape wine, peaches, mixture of juices, waters including mineral and aerated with added sugar, mandarins, and apple juice amounting to $39.6 million.

Also discussed was the Bureau of Plant Industry’s visit to South Africa from February 27 to March 3 to perform pest risk analysis in select table grapes plantations.

The delegation team from the attached agency of the DA is currently finalizing its assessment.

In a circular it issued in 2016, the DA said the pest risk analysis is the process of evaluating biological or other scientific and economic evidence to determine whether an organism is a pest, whether it should be regulated, and the strength of any phytosanitary measures to be taken against it.

DA Department Circular 4 detailed the guidelines on the importation of plants, planting materials and plant products to the Philippines.


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