by Department Of Forestry And Fisheries, Palesa Mokomele

South Africa partners with Argentina

Agriculture ministers strengthen ties

SA and Argentina agriculture ministers met to strengthen ties
handshake.jpg

The South African Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Ms Tina Joemat-Pettersson signed a bilateral agreement in the field of agriculture with the Argentine Minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Mr Norberto Yauhar in early June 2013.

The two ministers held cordial discussions on issues related to current agricultural and trade policies, world food security and bilateral co-operation after the third meeting of the South Africa/Argentina Binational Commission in November 2012 on matters relating to strengthening ties in agriculture.

The meeting culminated in the signing of a bilateral agreement in the field of agriculture co-operation. The ministers recognised that this would be a framework to continue implementing substantive exchanges of experts, missions, activities, and direct contact with applied research institutions. 

“The the signing of the agreement will extend to exchanging ideas on fisheries-related issues. Agriculture will benefit from this partnership, since it is our mission to open markets in countries that are not our traditional trading partners. Through our participation in BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa bloc), we have seen the benefits of forging partnerships with countries in Central and South America.

"Our partnership with Argentina falls squarely within this framework of fostering ties. Opening markets is an invaluable way of contributing to job creation for South African citizens,” said Joemat-Pettersson. 

Yauhar highlighted that “this agreement will enhance South-South co-operation at all levels, in particular in the field of improvement of agriculture production efficiencies, share of technologies and promotion, and facilitation of trade in agricultural products”. 

South Africa and Argentina have an extensive historical relationship in the area of agriculture. In particular, the two countries share an interest in collaboration in relation to South African small-scale farmers as well as in the field of 'no-till' technologies and biosafety at international fora and at bilateral level. In this regard, both parties took note of collaborative initiatives in various fields, including collaboration between public institutions and the private sector in no-till agriculture. 

Argentina has been participating in many sector events in South Africa, where the country has showcased Argentine agricultural capital goods produced by medium-size companies. Argentine goods have been exhibited in the Nampo Harvest Day every year since 2008, and there is a comprehensive bilateral collaboration in experimental fields on no-till technologies since 2007. 

Further, South Africa has expressed its appreciation for the assistance and collaboration from Argentina in preparation of South Africa’s hosting the Food and Agriculture Organisation's 14th World Forestry Congress in 2015, to be held in Durban. 

Minister Yauhar has extended an invitation to Minister Joemat-Petersson to visit Argentina in order to study the country’s models. This will also strengthen agricultural development co-operation between the two parties through shared programmes and projects both at the technical, operational and policy level.

To date, Argentina and South Africa have signed the following agreements in the field of agriculture: 

• Agreement on veterinary matters; 

• Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the National Institute for Agricultural Technology in Argentina (INTA) and the SA Agricultural Research Council; and

• MoU on Co-operation between INTA and the University of Pretoria.

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