The EU’s 2030 climate target plan, including the “Farm to Fork Strategy”, aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 55% from 1990 levels. However, these changes will also apply to trading partners like South Africa, making it crucial to monitor the farmers’ protests’ influence on EU policy adjustments.

From South Africa’s perspective, balancing agro-chemical use and productivity for environmental sustainability is critical. A moderate approach with feasible timelines, which EU farmers are advocating for, is worth supporting. This would ensure that trade between South Africa and the EU continues on the current terms.

There is also a growing protectionist sentiment among protesting farmers, which is concerning for South Africa, an export-oriented sector with strong EU ties. South Africa’s agricultural sector has previously faced protectionist tendencies in the EU market, particularly in citrus. The outcomes of the EU farm protests will be consequential to South Africa.

Finally, given the global influence of EU environmental laws, South Africa must seek to diversify its markets. Exploring markets such as China, South Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Taiwan, India, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, the Philippines and Bangladesh is essential, while maintaining EU market access remains vital for South African agriculture.