Malawi’s exports to South Africa were recorded at $54.722 million (about K40 billion) in 2016, according to figures from Malawi Investment and Trade Centre (Mitc).
Main export commodities to the South African market include oil cakes and other oil seed residues, dried shelled peas, fruits and fruit products and sunflower seeds.
In a statement released on Monday, Mitc public relations manager Deliby Chimbalu said the figures indicate a considerable demand of the products in South Africa; hence, the need for business-to-business linkages to increase the volumes and value of the products.
She said: “As the wealthiest country in Southern and Eastern Africa, South Africa offers many opportunities to companies wanting to export their goods and services as well as companies that are already established exporters.
“One of the effective ways of successfully clinching a deal to export the goods and services of a company has long been and still remains today a face-to-face meeting between the buyer and seller of the particular product or service being marketed.”
In view of this, Chimbalu said Mitc will be engaging South African firms that buy edible oils, oilseed products, fruit juice concentrates, spices, cereals, legumes, and sugar in August to market Malawian products.
Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism spokesperson Wiskes Nkombezi expressed optimism that exports are set to increase this year.
“We expect that food imports will go down and exports will pick up. However, the ministry will continue working on facilitating growth of non-food products as well as to improve our trade balance,” he said.
Agricultural products continue to dominate Malawi’s export basket, accounting for about 80 percent, according to National Statistical Office (NSO) figures. n