Increased agricultural trade by the Russia-Africa Summit is positive for South Africa's agricultural sector. The current engagements with Russia should seek to improve South Africa's position by promoting more exports in that market.
The first Russia-Africa summit held last week concluded with an announcement that urged all participants to increase co-operation in security, science, environmental protection, trade and economic matters.
On the last point, the declaration highlights that participants should "make efforts to substantially expand the trade between the Russian Federation and the African states and diversify it, including by increasing the share of agricultural products in import and export operations".
Russia is an important player in global agricultural markets, ranked as the 13th largest importer, valued at $28.8-billion annually, on average, over the past five years. The countries that have benefited from Russia's agricultural import needs are Belarus, China, Germany, Brazil, Ecuador, Italy, Turkey, Paraguay, Indonesia and France, among others. The African countries are down on the list of key agricultural exporters to Russia. In fact, while Russia's agricultural trade balance is negative, the country has a trade surplus with the African continent. In 2018, Russia had an agricultural trade surplus of $2.8-billion with the African continent, according to...