WHILE the economic crisis in Europe and the US may seem like a long way away, it’s a very real challenge in the Western Cape where many fruit, vegetable and wine growers are having to manage the negative effects of weak demand for exports. According to the Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism’s quarterly report by the Bureau for Economic Research (17 November 2011), the province produces approximately 60% of South Africa’s agricultural exports. Nearly 50% goes to Europe and the US, with countries in the European Union receiving the lion’s share of 41%.
From an export perspective, the report concludes that the Western Cape is very exposed to the heightened global economic uncertainty, particularly the developments in Europe, namely the sovereign debt crisis and severe austerity measures. This decline in demand led to a slump in Manufacturing Business Confidence during the reporting period.
But Robin Moore, the managing director of Nampak Flexible, Africa’s leading flexible packaging company, is optimistic and upbeat. “Increasingly, growers are identifying our flexible bags, pouches and sachets as a means of gaining competitive advantage in the tough export market. There’s no doubt that our A to Z range is like packaging nirvana for exporters, offering superior performance across the whole supply chain, specifically in terms of cost efficiencies, print quality, pack functionality and consumer convenience,” he says.
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