South Africa and Thailand boosts agricultural ties

Image courtesy of Expat Life in Thailand

The agricultural sector has become a significant beneficiary of the thriving bilateral relationship between Thailand and South Africa, revealed South Africa’s Ambassador to Thailand, Darkey Africa in a recent interview. This conversation was held to commemorate three decades of South African democracy and the bilateral relationship between the two nations including a strengthening of agricultural ties.

Africa underscored the positive strides the two nations have made over these 30 years, which were sparked by Nelson Mandela’s visits to Thailand in 1997 and 2004.

Mandela’s vision to foster ties with various countries, particularly those within Asia, has manifested in the form of fruitful cooperation at a global level and increased bilateral trade efforts.

Throughout these years, multiple agreements focusing on tourism, sports, culture, and agriculture have been signed.

The agricultural sector, in particular, has seen a mutual exchange of goods, with South African fruits finding a market in Thailand, while Thai fruits, including mangosteen and durian, are exported to South Africa. The ambassador expressed his interest in introducing South African beef and wine, known globally for their quality, to Thailand.

However, he emphasised the importance of exchanging agricultural knowledge, given Thailand’s impressive agricultural background, which could greatly benefit South African farmers.

Direct flights

Yet, the tourism sector on both sides still has room for improvement. Despite tourism being a focus of many agreements, the number of people travelling between the two countries in 2022 was only 2,000.

Africa suggested that direct flights between the two countries could potentially boost these numbers, and encouraged the national carriers, Thai Airways and South Africa Airways, to consider this option.

However, Africa did acknowledge the challenges of implementing and monitoring the various agreements between the two nations. He suggested a monitoring mechanism be put in place to ensure the benefits of these bilateral relations are felt by the people.

According to 2023 trade statistics, South Africa’s export value to Thailand constituted 7.31 billion rand (14.45 billion baht), whereas the imports from Thailand were worth 59.97 billion rand (118.5 billion baht). These figures indicate an imbalance in bilateral trade, with Thailand benefiting more.

Reflecting on South Africa’s journey since the end of apartheid on April 27, 1994, Africa highlighted the country’s achievements in eradicating discrimination and embracing diversity. Today, South Africa stands proud in the global community, championing democracy and human rights.

The ambassador also touched upon the Nelson Mandela Centre at Bangkok’s Chulalongkorn University, launched on March 21.

He viewed the centre as a platform to share experiences on resolving conflicts, preventing atrocities, and promoting peace, not only between the two nations but globally, demonstrating their commitment to enhancing global peace, reported Bangkok Post.

Politics NewsThailand News

Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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