Dairy imports for February were 4 110 tons at a cost of R172 million. South Africa imported mainly from France (28%) New Zealand (28%), Germany (13%), Poland (8%) and Ireland (4%). Dairy imports for this year are low compared to last year, largely due to limited UHT imports. The main dairy products imported in February were whey (34%), milk powder (22%) and cheese (18%). UHT as a percentage of total imports was less than 1%.   

SA dairy exports (inclusive of sales to other countries in the South African Customs Union) are trading strongly. SA exported 14 317 tons of dairy product in February making this country a net exporter of dairy products to the value of 10 208 tons.  The total value of the exports was R222 million and the top five export destinations were: Botswana 37%, Mozambique 15%, Swaziland 15%, Namibia 13% and Lesotho 8%. The main exports were UHT milk 40%, evaporated milk 19% and yoghurt 16%.  

These strong export levels of dairy products indicate that the recent change in the footand-mouth (FMD) status of SA did not affect our exports seriously since processed dairy is safe to consume. However, the change in status will affect other links in the value chain that will over time be detrimental to the dairy industry if SA cannot contain the outbreak and reclaim the FMD-free zone status.  

Agri Inspec monitoring and investigation remains robust  

Although dairy imports reduced significantly in the first two months of this year Agri Inspec remains alert and proactive in probing the import landscape. Dairy imports for February comprised of 297 transactions with one transaction being investigated. The transaction is a consignment of yoghurt (0403100) of 28,8 tons from Zambia entering SA through Beit Bridge. The value of the transaction is R364 000 or R12,65/kg. The MPO will be kept abreast of what transpires during the investigation. – Bertus van Heerden, MPO