Russia takes interest in S/Africa's black winemakers
APA-Cape Town (South Africa) - A group of Russian businesspeople is in South Africa as part of the host government's efforts to boost businesses of black winemakers in the country, APA learnt on Wednesday.
Fourteen black winemakers based in the Western Cape Province and another based in Eastern Cape Province are with the Russian delegation attending a four-day session organised by the Ministry of Trade and Industry in Cape Town, the office said.
Deputy South African Trade and Industry Minister Bulelani Magwanishe said the Russian Wine Inward Buying Mission is a government initiative aimed at changing the patterns of ownership in the local wine industry.
“This initiative seeks to increase exports of South African wines to the Russian market and simultaneously contribute to our transformation efforts within the wine industry,” Magwanishe said.
The opening session was attended by Andre Kuzmin, who is chief executive of a leading Russian wine buying company, Marine Express.
The mission is a result of a meeting Magwanishe had with Kuzmin on the sidelines of the St Petersburg International Economic Forum in Russia in June.
Their engagement centred on increasing South Africa’s wine exports into the Russian market.
“The specific objective of our engagement was to create market access for black-owned wine companies. I am happy that black and women-owned winemakers are key stakeholders in this mission.
He said more targeted missions like this were being planned so that “radical economic transformation will be achieved and applied more practically.”
According to the minister, the Russian mission will go a long way in maximising linkages between the primary and secondary productive sectors of the economy.
He added: “Wine production, as part of agro-processing, is a priority sector identified in our Industrial Policy Action Plan.
The South African wine industry has grown exponentially, with exports having more than doubled between 2005 and 2016 – creating 300,000 direct and indirect jobs.