PRETORIA, South African cuisine will tantalise the taste buds of the world when local companies exhibit their products at the World Food Moscow 2017 Mockba in Russia next week as the Department of Trade and Industry (dti) leads a group of 20 companies from the agro-processing sector to the five-day exhibition beginning Monday.

The participation of South African companies in the popular exhibition has been made possible by the dti, through its Export Marketing and Investment Assistance (EMIA) scheme, which is aimed at developing export markets for South African products and services and attracting new foreign direct investment (FDI) into the country.

Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies said here Tuesday that South Africa’s participation in the Moscow exhibition is to promote the country’s agro-processing industry in order to consolidate and establish the market presence of South Africa in Russia. This will generate greater returns for the South African agro-processing and related industries at the show and within the Russian market, in line with the dti’s Market Diversification Strategy.

Davies said South African exporters are in a position to take advantage of the imposition of European Union (EU) sanctions and Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa (BRICS) relations by developing or maintaining a presence in this primary market.

The popularity and reputation of the World Food Moscow trade fair have grown significantly over the last 20 years. The fair has grown to become a major meeting place for the food and drinks industry and a vibrant source of products for the Russian market. This provides an opportunity for increasing export sales from the South African agri-food industry, food retail, institutional and commercial catering, added Davies.

One of the dti’s strategic goals is to grow the South African manufacturing sector to promote industrial development, job creation, investment and exports.

The exhibition is an annual event held in Moscow and it is an ideal platform for South Africa to showcase the country’s products to a significant number of wholesalers, distributors, retailers and restaurateurs.

Total trade between South Africa and Russia increased from 5.0 billion Rand (one US dollar = about 12.925 Rand) in 2012 to almost 8.0 billion Rand in 2016. Major South African exports to Russia include fruits and nuts, manganese ores, beverages, spirits and vinegar, wine, electrical machinery and equipment.