Namibia: Lack of Value Addition Scuppers Table Grape Returns

NAMIBIA last year exported table grapes to five European countries, generating N$682,4 million in income, while South Africa’s wine exports to the same countries generated N$5,5 billion.

This confirms that value addition matters when it comes to trading, as opposed to volume only.

This comes as the industrialisation of Namibia seems to be on ice, while the news of the Special Economic Zone has faded, and some manufacturing incentives have been cancelled.

Namibia and South Africa share around five European customers – the United Kingdom (UK), the Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, and Belgium – yet generate different incomes from these customers, which is mainly due to South Africa’s wine production.

Namibia, on the other hand, harvests table grapes, packs and ships them out, with the only value addition involving raisins.

As result, the country has generated N$834,9 million in fresh and dried grape exports in 2020 – a slight decline from 2019’s exports worth N$840,7 million, the Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA) has indicated.

This income includes the exporting of 37,2 million kg of fresh and dry grapes in 2020, and 33,9 million kg in 2019.

Most of these grapes have been exported to the Netherlands, followed by the UK, Germany, Belgium, and Denmark.

According to Michelangelo Magazine’s May 2021 edition, South Africa exported 212,4 million l of wine to the same European countries as well as to Sweden in 2020.

This generated N$5,5 billion for the country.