Natural ingredients sector can accelerate inclusive economic growth

Vegetable basket

The natural ingredients sector has a strong potential to accelerate inclusive economic growth in South Africa and across the continent. This was said by the Chief Director of Chemicals Cosmetics Plastics and Pharmaceuticals at the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) Claudy Steyn. She was speaking at the opening session of the two-day National Natural Ingredients Conference that was held in Sandton.

The conference is hosted by the dti in partnership with the Centre for the Promotion of Imports (CBI) an agency of the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The purpose of the conference is to review the Natural Ingredients and Cosmetics Products Export Strategy that has been implemented since 2015.

”It is important to note that the natural ingredients sector is a key segment of the government’s re-industrialisation drive with vital links to key economic policies such as the National Development Plan Industrial Policy Action Plan and the New Growth Path. Economic growth needs to accelerate in a more inclusive manner and the natural ingredients sector is one sector that can achieve this. This sector holds great potential for South Africa because the global cosmetics health and food markets are growing in particular for natural products,” said Steyn.

She added that globally consumers increasingly view natural products as safer and healthier alternatives to synthetic ones and manufacturers respond by developing natural products or by including natural ingredients in their formulations.

The Natural Ingredients and Cosmetics Products Export Strategy encourages the production of natural ingredients that comply with the international market requirements and stimulate local value-addition in the production of organic or natural cosmetics products in a business-enabling environment. The strategy is aimed at growing the exports of natural ingredients including vegetable and essential oils improving the competitive of the industry to increase exports and promoting the transformation and inclusiveness of the sector amongst others.

“The global presence of the South African products with natural ingredients is currently very low and this presents an opportunity for natural ingredients producers to build a sustainable and traceable value-chain. Rising agricultural activities in the natural ingredients sector will contribute in the development of an inclusive rural economy.

“It is important to note that the SA natural ingredients sector has a strong potential to produce natural ingredients for the cosmetics health and food sectors making the sector attractive to invest in. Production and processing of natural ingredients can stimulate growth and investment in the sector and contribute in boosting the country’s ailing manufacturing sector thereby creating the much-needed jobs,” stressed Steyn.

Natural ingredients produced in South Africa currently include indigenous species such as the aloe, ferox, buchu, marula, baobab, honey bush, rooibos, and the devil’s claw.

Source: APO Group.

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