South Africa’s Secret Exports

The first things which come to mind when South African exports are mentioned are mineral resources, such as gold and diamonds. Indeed, South Africa may have the largest reserves of Manganese and Platinum in the world, but what else is this bountiful provider exporting?

Natural Exports


maize production in south africa

Maize is one of South Africa’s most important cash crops. It is considered a staple food product for many low-income families in the country, and also aids the livestock industry by providing a basis for affordable, natural feeds.


quality sugars

South Africa produces, on average, 18.8 million tonnes of sugar per year, and has positioned itself as one of the world’s most cost-competitive producers of high-quality sugar. It’s no wonder, then, that we’re renowned for our national “sweet tooth”.

Protea Flowers

Protea flower

The King Protea is not only South Africa’s national flower, but the genus is also endemic and indigenous to the country. The highly unique Protea is considered a highly sought-after global export, and more than half the world’s cut Protea flowers come from South African soil.

Fresh fruit

south african fruit exporters

South Africa boasts an ideal climate for farming and agriculture. Fresh fruit exports also comprise a massive section of the South African export industry, including grapes, citrus fruits, apples, pears, avocados, nectarines and quinces. South Africa’s export industry relies heavily on farming equipment, including tillers, rippers, spreaders and other agricultural machinery – all of which contribute to the agricultural industry’s export success.


Rooibos tea

South Africans only consume about 4500 to 5000 tonnes of Rooibos tea per year, out of the 12 000 metric tonnes that are produced. The remainder is exported all over the world, with the largest consumer country being Japan.

Natural minerals

minerals in south africa

South Africa cannot only be named as the third largest coal exporter in the world, but also the second largest producer of gold, ilmenite, palladium, rutile and zirconium. The title of world’s largest producer of chrome, manganese, platinum, vanadium and vermiculite also goes to South Africa.

Manufactured exports

Refined petroleum products

petroleum products

South Africa’s petrochemical industry makes up nearly 5% of domestic product alone, and also 25% of manufacturing sales, according to The petrochemical industry includes the manufacturing of solvents, cleaning aids, liquid fuels and other chemical, petroleum-based compounds.


South African Fizzers

This chewy, flavoured candy is as South African as it gets – ranging from strawberry to cream soda, Oros and bluebuzz, it gives off a sweet, fizzy taste when the taffy-like texture is bitten off. Ex-pats around the world are most likely the reason why it is one of the country’s most prolific exports – you just can’t get enough.


Marmite South Africa

Yeast extract, a by-product of beer-brewing, is used to manufacture this sticky, brown paste. Known and loved (or hated) by the world as a “British” product, most of the world’s Marmite technically comes from South Africa, as a result of the country’s booming beer industry.

To read more about South Africa’s agriculture and industry, visit South Africa’s leading supplier of agricultural implements at

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