South Africa is a biodiversity hotspot, offering a wealth of indigenous plants to produce natural ingredients. Next to these raw materials, South Africa also has a large food and wine industry; its waste materials, such as kernels, peel, seeds and low-grade materials can be used to produce a variety of extracts, essential oils and vegetable oils. Only a few companies in South Africa bank on these opportunities to supply export markets with innovative ingredients. Moreover, only recently are some public institutions becoming aware of the opportunities the sector offers for rural development and value addition.

In this context, CBI is starting an export development programme in the country, both targeting the enabling business environment and company-specific issues. For this reason, ProFound consultant Robbie Hogervorst visited South Africa for a fact-finding and acquisition mission to South Africa in March 2014. Through kick-off workshops and company visits in the Western Cape and Gauteng, the mission was intended to find suitable exporters and provide CBI with forward action recommendations for the programme. Outcomes include a need to broaden the programme to include ingredients for food supplements and the need to bridge the gap between academia and companies. The mission also identified a need to engage with additional stakeholders at national and provincial level to tackle several key bottlenecks such as a lack in certification capacity for pharmaceutical ingredients. Moreover, these stakeholders can play a role in strengthening sector organisations and further acquisition of companies for the CBI programme.