Capacity building at tralac – Geek Week, 30 March-3 April 2009
During the week March 30 to April 3, 2009, tralac hosted a team of analysts, including three from the National Department of Agriculture (DoA), one from the National Agricultural Marketing Council (NAMC) and one from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to examine the South Africa/SACU agricultural trading relationship with Brazil and Argentina.
A preliminary analysis reveals that for 2008 Brazil imported a total of US$174 billion worth of products. Of this only 0.4 percent originated from South Africa. In terms of agricultural products Brazil imported approximately US$8 billion worth with imports from South Africa constituting a mere 0.1 percent (US$8 million) of Brazil’s total agricultural imports. On imports, South Africa is ranked overall as Brazil’s number 33 trading partner while in terms of agricultural trade, South Africa is ranked 27th import partner of Brazil.
Over the same review period, the main agricultural imports of Brazil include; Wheat and wheat products (26%); Malt, Not Roasted (6%); Kidney Beans & White Pea Beans, Dri Shel, Inc Seed (3%) and Wine (2%). Main products originating from South Africa include; Liqueurs and Cordials (31%); Industrial Fatty Alcohols (24%); Wine (13%) and Grapes, Dried (Including Raisins) (12%). These accounted for about 80 percent of Brazil imports from South Africa.
Below are some of the comments that were made by the participants:
“International trade in agriculture has different dynamics, challenges and is significant for development and growth of developing economies as well as in creating employment and poverty reduction. In platforms such as the ‘Geek week’ one gets to learn more about environment, the contribution and the impact of Agricultural Trade in the World economy. It was an eye opener for me and great learning curve to be part of this great initiative organized by tralac. These kinds of interactions and exploration are crucial in weighing and giving one clear picture of the industry. This is the missing link in the value chain of Trade in South Africa and in developing nations.” – Moses Sibanyoni (National Department of Agriculture)
“It has been a very exciting and challenging trade analysis week. One of the key aspects achieved through this Geek Week has been the relationship that has been created between tralac, NAMC, DTI and DoA International Trade. The second aspect was learning how tralac and NAMC conduct their analysis. As the DTI Agro-Processing Sector we are looking forward for a consistent and sustainable working relationship between these institutions so as to share information and knowledge. This was a good chance to learn on how to do magic with numbers. It was a good work.” – Mr. Modise Moloi (Department of Trade and Industry)
“The ‘Geek week’ has been such a great week with so much exposure, interacting with different knowledgeable people (networking), and a learning curve. We were looking at the potential trade between Brazil and South Africa, I looked specifically on trade reconciliation, I was provided with data on South Africa agricultural exports against Brazil agricultural imports and had to reconcile for every HS line to determine the significance of the difference between the two different datasets. I have learned beyond my expectations, writing skills, analytical skills and presenting data in a more attractive manner in less than week. An eye opener on what is possible to achieve and the experience acquired will take my career and me personally to another level. It’s an opportunity I will take if I get another chance.” – Lehlogonolo Magagane (National Department of Agriculture)