Export products



Citrus production in South Africa is largely limited to irrigation areas and takes place in Limpopo, Mpumalanga, the Eastern Cape and in KwaZulu-Natal. South Africa started exporting fresh grapefruit and orange to Japan in 1992 and lemon in 1994. The export jumped in 1997 when the both countries agreed on a protocol of shipping citrus on-board under cold treatment. Today South Africa is recognised in Japan as the major citrus supplier and has been the second largest exporter of grapefruit after America. SA exports to Japan (June–Oct) while America does October to June.

After many years of testing and evaluation, Barlinka grapes have been allowed into Japan since 2011. Other potential fruit types currently in process for establishing protocols with MAFF are:


Fresh mango

Fresh avocado

Soft citrus cultivar (Mandarin orange)


Various table grapes


For further information on fresh produce and the industry, access Fresh Produce Exporters Forum on www.fpef.co.za, the Citrus Growers’ Association on www.cga.co.za and PPECB (Perishable Products Export Control Board) on www.ppecb.com



SA has a long wine-making history of more than 350 years, which dates back to 1659, which corresponds to the 4th Tokugawa shougunate era in Japan. Napoleon is said to have enjoyed South African wine while exiled to St Helena.

After apartheid came to an end in 1994, South Africa started exporting wine to the world, including Japan. In recent years, South Africa has been widely recognised as a quality exporter of wine to Japan. Today there are some 30 wine importers and SA is the 8th to 9th largest wine exporter to Japan.

Most South African wines are produced near Cape Town in the Western Cape. Wines of South Africa (WOSA) promotes South African wines in the global market and has been staging a trade fair called Cape Wine in Cape Town every other year. The fairs attract a good number of international wine buyers, including those from Japan. The next Cape Wine will be held in September 2014.

For further information, access WOSA website on www.wosa.co.za



The largest area of farmland planted with a field crop is maize, followed by wheat, sugar cane and sunflower seed. The grain industry is one of the largest in South Africa and is a very strategic one.

Maize is the most important source of carbohydrates in the SADC for animal and human consumption. South Africa is the main maize producer in the region with an average production of about 9.7 million metric tons a year over the past 10 years. Maize is produced mainly in North West, the Free State and Mpumalanga.

The South African Grain Laboratory NPC (SAGL) is incorporated under section 21 (association not for gain), on request of the South African grain industry in 1997 after the the South African Wheat and Maize Boards were dissolved. For further information, access SAGL website on www.sagl.co.za/



The SA dairy industry compares favourably with the world’s top dairy industries concerning farming methods and the processing of dairy products.

The number of commercial dairy farmers is estimated at 3 550 and they own approximately 980 000 dairy cows and employ some 38 000 workers. An additional 40 000 workers are employed in other segments of the value chain such as milk processing and the milling industry.

Milk South Africa promotes a healthy South African dairy community and the members comprise the Milk Producers’ Organisation (MPO), and the SA Milk Processors’ Organisation (SAMPRO). For further information, access www.milksa.co.za/



Nearly 80% of agricultural land in SA is suitable for extensive

livestock farming. Livestock are also kept in other areas,

usually in combination with other farming enterprises.

The livestock sector contributes up to 49% of agricultural

output. South Africa generally produces 85% of its meat

requirements, while the remaining 15% is imported. The

livestock industry is the largest national agricultural sector.

South Africa can offer quality beef, lamb, chicken, etc.

however, owing to foot-and-mouth-disease, the country is

unable to export meat and meat products, including dried

meat called “biltong” (something like beef jerky) freely to



For further information on the industry, access the Red Meat Industry Forum website on www.redmeatsa.co.za/


Likewise access South African Poultry Association on www.sapoultry.co.za and Ostrich Association on www.ostrichsa.co.za or Natrional Ostrich Processors of South Africa on www.nopsa.com/home/



From early humble beginning in the 1960’s, the South African macadamia industry has grown into a major world force, being the second largest producer on a kernel basis in the world, followed by the US and Kenya in 2012. Australia is the largest and produced 12,000 tons while South Africa delivered 9 680 tons. The combined production of Australia and South Africa accounted for 50% of the world production in 2012.

The major growing areas are Limpopo Province (Levuvu and Tzaneen), Mpumalanga Province (Hazyview to Barberton) and coastal KwaZulu-Natal. There are close to 1 000 farmers involved in growing macadamia nuts that are supplied to 12 shelling factories.

A number of growers have already achieved EUREPGAP accreditation and all of the shelling facilities are HACCP and/or ISO 9001 accredited.

South Africa has been exporting macadamia kernel to North America, Europe and South East Asia/Hong Kong for many years and started exporting to Japan rather recently (in 2001). The export quantities in 2001 were only 131 metric tons and in recent years South Africa has become the second largest exporter to Japan after Australia. More than 500 metric tons were exported each year from 2009 to 2012.

The Southern African Macadamia Growers’ Association (SAMAC) comprises macadamia nuts growers, processors and marketers and operates to promote the common interests of the industry. For further information, access the SAMAC website on www.samac.org.za/

For marketing and production statistics, access the International Nut and Fruit website on www.nutfruit.org


HERBAL TEAS (rooibos tea, honeybush tea)

Rooibos tea

The herbal tea made from rooibos has been a popular drink in South Africa for generations. In 1904, a Russian immigrant named Benjamin Ginsberg realised the rooibos’ untapped marketing potential, and started offering rooibos tea globally.

The plant, Aspalathus linearis, is grown only in a small area of the Cedarberg region near Cape Town. Its refreshing taste and inviting aroma, coupled with its health benefits, have turned rooibos into a popular choice for tea lovers worldwide.

Rooibos tea is rich in antioxidants and flavinoids. In fact, the antioxidants in this tea are not found in any other tea like green tea, black tea, etc. Among other rooibos tea efficacies are that no additives are included, limiting decline of the immune system, no caffeine and it is beneficial for those suffering from headaches.

Today many people around the world have acquired a taste for the tea and it is exported to many countries, including Germany, Holland, the UK, US, Japan and Belgium.

Aggregated export to the 5 countries accounted for more than 80% of the total rooibos tea exports in 2012.

The Rooibos Council operates to promote the interests of the South African Rooibos industry through a representative platform and by acting as mouthpiece for its members. For further information on Rooibos tea, access South Africa Rooibos Council website on www.sarooibos.org.za


Honeybush tea

One of the other herbs indigenous to South Africa is honeybush or Cyclopia spp.

International interest in honeybush is traced back to the Dutch and British tea trade of the  the honeybush plant was noted in botanical literature by 1705. Soon it was recognised by the colonists as a suitable substitute for ordinary tea.

The plant grows only in small areas in the southwest and southeast of South Africa, in a narrow region along the coast, bounded by mountain ranges. It has many similarities with rooibos. It is used to make a beverage and a medicinal tea, having a pleasant, mildly sweet aroma, somewhat like honey

Honeybush tea is expected to gain further popularity together with rooibos tea.

For further information on honeybush tea, access South African Honeybushtea Association website on www.sahta.co.za



The South African sugar industry is one of the world’s leading cost-competitive producers of high-quality sugar and makes an important contribution to employment, particularly in rural areas, to sustainable development and to the national economy.

It is a diverse industry combining the agricultural activities of sugar-cane cultivation with the manufacturing of raw and refined sugar, syrups, specialised sugars and a range of by-products.

The cane-growing sector comprises approximately 29 130 registered sugar-cane growers farming predominantly in KwaZulu-Natal, with a substantial investment in Mpumalanga and some farming operations in the Eastern Cape. Sugar is manufactured by six milling companies with 14 sugar mills operating in these cane-growing regions.

The industry produces an estimated average of 2,2 million tons of sugar per season and 60% of this sugar is marketed in the Southern African Customs Union (SACU). The remainder is exported to markets in Africa, Asia and Middle East.

South Africa is traditionally one of the major cane sugar (raw sugar) suppliers to Japan and is ranked third after Thailand and Australia.

For further information, access the South African Sugar Association (SASA) website on www.sasa.org.za/



The South African floriculture industry has the potential to develop into a significant player on the international stage. The total floriculture industry employs some 17 500 people. In terms of products and markets, there is a strong demand for South African floriculture worldwide. In particular Germany, the UK, Japan, and the Netherlands represent the greatest opportunities in the short term.

South Africa’s indigenous flowers such as gradioli, nerine, freesias and gerberas, have undergone many years of extensive research in Europe, and have become major crops worldwide.

South Africa is the leading exporter of protea cut flowers, which account for more than half of the proteas sold on the world market. South African proteas and so-called Cape greens (fynbos) are marketed in Europe and concentrated mainly in the Western Cape.

For further information, access the South African Flower Export Council (SAFEC) website on www.saflower.co.za

The SA Flower Export Council is non-profit export council supported by the four main producer organisations in South Africa. Their main objective is to enhance the floricultural and horticultural industry by means of exports and building the export capacity through investment in the industry.

The South African Protea Producers’ and Exporters; Association (SAPPEX) website is on www.sappex.org.za/



Paper products were the most important exports, followed by pulp, solid wood products, and other products. Woodchip exports, which are destined mainly for Japan, accounted for more than 60% of total solid wood product export.

South Africa has traditionally been a major supplier of woodchip made of hardwood to Japan and was the 4th  largest exporter after Chile, Australia and Vietnam in 2012.

For further information, access the Forestry South Africa website on www.forestry.co.za/



The productive waters of the West Coast support a variety of commercially exploited marine life, including hake, anchovy, sardine, horse mackerel, tuna, snoek, rock lobster and abalone. On the east coast, squid, linefish and a wide range of intertidal resources provide an important source of food and livelihood for coastal communities. Marine life that is not harvested, such as whales, dolphins and seabirds, is increasingly recognised as a valuable resource for nature-based tourism.

For further information, access the Aquaculture Association of South Africa website on www.aasa-aqua.co.za or Fishing directory on www.fishingdirectoru.co.za etc.