17 January 2008
South African winemakers exported more than R3-billion worth of wine in 2006, making the country the ninth largest exporter of the product, according to the International Trade Probe, a report compiled by the National Agricultural Marketing Association (NAMC).
The report, released in November, aims to create general awareness of trade-related issues by reporting statistics and inviting viewpoints from people involved in trade.
According to the report, wine was South Africa’s top exported agricultural product in 2006, with the value of exports amounting to some R3.565-billion and accounting for 11.3% of exports of produce.
Business Report reported on Wednesday that the country’s wine exports amounted to just over US$530-million out of total global wine exports of $22.47-billion – leaving South Africa as the world’s ninth largest exporter of wine, just ahead of Argentina.
According to the paper, the leading exporters of wine were France ($7.8-billion), Italy ($4-billion) and Australia ($2-billion).
“The UK was by far the largest destination for local wines, with imports of $148.5-million, or 28% of overseas sales,” the publication reported.
Earlier data from the SA Wine Industry and Information System (SAWIS) showed that South African wine exports were on the rise again, recording a 16% increase in volumes sold for the first 11 months of 2007, as compared to the same period in 2006.
Commenting on the figures on Wines.co.za earlier this month, Wines of SA CEO Su Birch said the industry expected exports for the full year to exceed the 300-million litre mark, which would be a record for the country.
Key to the increase in sales has been diversifying away from traditional markets like the UK and the Netherlands toward new consumers in countries like Sweden, Germany and even the United States.
According to the International Trade Probe, other agricultural produce with significant export values included fresh and dried citrus fruit, earning R3.52-billion, and sugar, which earned R2.57-billion from exports.
The report adds that South Africa has been a net exporter of agricultural produce since 1992, when imports were at their highest level, with the sector being an important earner of foreign currency.