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March 19, 2009

Saudi Arabia to invest in South African agriculture

To reduce its dependence on oil and oil resources, Saudi Arabia announced its intention to invest in South African agriculture at a recent joint trade commission in Johannesburg.

Saudi Arabia realises food security will be key in the next few years and they can’t be complacent about creating it for themselves, said Saudi commerce and industry minister Abdullah Ahmed Zainal Alireza.

Saudi involvement in agriculture would be long-term and involve not only importing South African produce, but exporting skills here to improve production. Food processing was also possible down the line, said the minister.

South Africa’s trade and industry minister Mandisi Mpahlwa said much attention would be paid to agriculture and rural development in the next few years, adding South Africa needs to grow food "in a big way" to eliminate its net food importer status. "I think we can achieve this, but we also need to generate investment," he said.

South African exports to Saudi Arabia almost doubled from R1,26 billion in 2003 to R2,4 billion in 2007, said Trade and Industry. Imports from Saudi Arabia rose from R15,05 billion in 2003 to R25,3 billion in 2007.

A South African/Saudi business council will be launched to strengthen trade and investment relations.

Farming UK

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