The recent Brics Summit in Sandton heralded a diplomatic landmark, reigniting optimism for South Africa's citrus exports to Iran, especially with the Brics consortium welcoming six new members, including Iran. In the complex world of global fruit trade, this evolution signals promising outcomes. Justin Chadwick, CEO of the Citrus Growers Association, reminiscences about South Africa once exporting a robust 45,000 tonnes of citrus to Iran, a figure that unfortunately plummeted to zero recently.
However, with Iran joining the "Brics Plus" from January 2024, there's potential for rejuvenating the citrus trade. Chadwick's analysis goes beyond citrus, reflecting on the broader implications of Brics' growth. With the addition of nations like Argentina, a significant lemon exporter, and Egypt, a dominant force in orange production, the global citrus market is poised for change.
Chadwick spotlights the vital role of export markets in southern African citrus, emphasizing the benefits of the inclusion of powerhouse importers like China, Russia, the UAE, and Saudi Arabia within Brics. South Africa's current export of 600,000 tonnes of fruit to Brics Plus countries, a considerable 30% of total exports, attests to the significance of these trade partnerships.
Chadwick's omission of Ethiopia, a new Brics member, from his discourse sparks curiosity about its position in this shifting trade scenario. The recent Brics Summit also marked a notable pivot from mineral-focused discussions to a pronounced focus on agriculture, shedding light on topics like tariffs and phytosanitary regulations.
Chadwick's insights delve into the geopolitics of Brics' expansion. He posits that while Brics' inception aimed to contest the established global order, its ongoing journey should tangibly benefit its member nations. Chadwick's call for substantive outcomes from summits resonates with stakeholders eager for the group's collective advancement.