Ebrahim Patel is the Minister of Trade and Industry. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi/African News Agency/ANA

CAPE TOWN  - Twenty-three food and beverage companies will showcase their South African-made products at the annual Africa Big 7, an internationally-renowned trade show set to kick off in Johannesburg on Sunday.

The June 23-25 event to be held at the Gallagher Convention Centre in Midrand is the annual meeting place for food and drink professionals across the continent to discuss the latest developments in the industry. It is the only food and beverage show in Africa and brings together hundreds of global buyers from significant segments of the agro-processing industry’s value chain.

The trade and industry department’s national pavilion will showcase local manufacturing capability in order to boost the export of South African products while simultaneously increasing intra-Africa trade, deputy minister Nomalungelo Gina said.

“Most importantly, it will also stimulate discussions on issues impacting the agro-processing sector and promote partnerships and collaborations,” said Gina.

She said the show was an opportunity for South African companies to join over 250 exhibitors from over 45 countries and to fly the national flag in some niche food and beverage categories such as wines, ginger gemmer, soy products and preserved fruits.

“The agro-processing sector is critical to the South African economy and has grown to be one of the largest manufacturing sub-sectors, accounting for about 24 percent of manufacturing gross domestic product and 3.3 percent of South Africa’s total GDP in 2017," Gina said.

She noted that agro-processing was the largest contributor to jobs in the manufacturing industry, accounting for approximately 21 percent of all jobs there and two percent of jobs in the entire economy in 2018.

"It is therefore important to use every opportunity to promote, support and grow this sector,” she said.

The participating companies at the fair are funded by the department of trade and industry through its Export Marketing and Investment Assistance scheme.

- African News Agency (ANA)