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News Article

Agrifood Systems Between Mexico and South Africa

By Eliza Galeana | Thu, 09/15/2022 - 15:43

The Mexican Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development (SADER), Víctor Villalobos, and the South African (SA) Ambassador to Mexico, Dennis Thokozani, reviewed the state of agrifood trade between the two nations. During a meeting, the representatives agreed to promote the development of more resilient food systems to overcome the challenges imposed by a challenging international environment, which struggles with problems such as fluctuating prices of grains and inputs as well as climate change’s effects on agricultural systems.

Villalobos pointed out that Mexico is open to bilateral cooperation, as well as sharing experiences and developing mechanisms aimed to improve agricultural production. He said it is necessary to analyze different options to strengthen the exchange of food products and review areas of common interest.

The importance of technological developments in boosting the productivity of agriculture and fisheries and the need to work towards mitigating the negative effects of climate change was also brought up during the conversation. In this regard, Mexico’s agricultural sector has been affected by hail storms and violent rains leading to erosion. Most recently, long episodes of drought threatened the country’s water supply systems. Meanwhile, similar conditions are affecting South Africa. According to the National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy published in 2020 by South Africa’s Department of Environmental Affairs, there is evidence that extreme weather events in the country are increasing; heatwave conditions were found to become more likely, dry spell episodes will likely become longer and rainfall could increase in intensity. 

Mexico also invited the South African Ambassador to participate in the World Vine and Wine Congress to be held in Mexico this November, to which Thokozani responded favorably.

Historically, alliances between Mexico and African countries have focused on two key topics: desertification and technology for the nixtamalization of white corn. Nixtamalization gained great relevance in several African nations when in 2015, Erasmo Martínez, Mexican Ambassador to Kenya, presented a project on the matter. Since then, it has been the subject of courses, seminars, technology transfer activities and machinery donations. 

In 2020, Mexico exported various products to South Africa, mainly beer, processors, tractors, tequila, memory cards, memory units, electronic devices, auto parts, adapters, modular circuits, intravenous catheters, massage devices, machinery and ore. In return, Mexico imported different ore, vegetable seeds, cow leather, ferrotitanium and fertilizers.

The data used in this article was sourced from:  
Secretaria de Agricultura y Desarrollo Rural, Secretaria de Relaciones Exteriores, Portal fruticola, Foodformzansi, Swissinfo.
Photo by:   24K-Production
Eliza Galeana Eliza Galeana Junior Journalist & Industry Analyst