Apart from India, South Africa is the 2nd selected FoodPackLab territory for potential collaborations with third countries, according to the market research and survey among SMEs from 7 FoodPackLab networks, which constitute the Partnership for FoodPackLab strand 2 (consisting of FoodPackLab consortium and collaborating clusters). FoodPackLab has focused on the development of a joint Internationalization strategy defining a joint European strategic vision with a global perspective and common goals and actions towards specific third markets. A continuation of FoodPackLab aims at fostering cross-border and crosssectorial collaboration of clusters and business networks in the strategic field of food security by supporting the implementation, testing and further development of the European Strategic Cluster Partnership – Going International (ESCP-4i) through the implementation of its planned actions toward selected third countries beyond Europe.
The main challenge to be focused on in South Africa by FoodPackLab will be food security, as it is one of the most important issues in this country since the Listeria outbreak in 2017-2018. With food security as one of the top priority for the government after the Listeria outbreak in 2017-2018, and agriculture as one of the triggers for boosting employment and economic growth, ensuring food security measures in South Africa provides new opportunities for European tech SMEs, especially those working on precision agriculture and water management. Moreover, the policy framework created by the trade agreement in place between the European Union and South Africa ensures structural support for initiatives targeting food sector.
Furthermore, initial contacts have also been established by the FoodPackLab consortium with organizations such Catalonia Trade & Investment-Johannesburg that provided some preliminary information about the market and affirmed their interest in supporting the initiative, as well as discussing synergies and collaboration opportunities.
Moreover, agreements are being made between the Western Cape Province in South Africa and the French Region of Burgundy-Franche-Comté, where FoodPackLab’s strategic partner VITAGORA’s headquarters are located. Following the mission organised in South Africa early September 2019, where VITAGORA’s managing director participated, the cluster’s relationship with Business France South Africa is being strengthened. During the next visit of their team to France in November 2019, 8 SMEs members of Vitagora will have the opportunity to meet them and discuss about relevant opportunities on the agrifood value chain, from precision agriculture, down to traceability and bio-preservation.
Such organizations like Business France South Africa and Catalonia Trade & Investment-Johannesburg are committed to support European, in this case French and Catalan, companies in their development in this high potential market.
Thus, there is a huge potential of fostering the intersectoral cooperation between photonics, packaging and food industry in South Africa with the objective to increase the quality and hygiene of processed products in the period 2020-2025, affecting millions of people.