This agreement will allow SA to export surplus maize to China annually. According to minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson, China was interested in forging closer ties with SA. “China is very willing to share expertise. We already have a student exchange programme arrangement with China, but they agreed to accept a further 30 students into the programme,” she said.
Assistance in extending the shelf-life of deciduous fruit has also been promised. Exports of deciduous fruit to China were currently hampered by China’s insistence on a 24-day quarantine period, which compromise the quality of fruit imported from SA.
Meanwhile, SA wine has been making inroads into the Chinese market. Wines of South Africa reported a 36% growth in wine volume sales to China over the first six months of the year compared to last year.
Joemat-Pettersson said she was determined to ‘sweeten-up’ Chinese wine lovers by introducing them to dessert wines. “They are familiar with wines from the Western Cape, but they don’t know about our wines from other provinces such as the Northern Cape. We are going to market our wines more aggressively through wine fairs and by inviting more trade delegations to come and experience our wines,” she said.