April 5/Johannesburg, South Africa/Financial Mail -- South Africa’s second-largest agricultural business, Senwes, has teamed with Bunge, the world’s second-largest sugar trader, in a joint venture that will enable its new international partner to gain at least 20% of SA’s market for wheat and oilseed imports, it was announced.

Senwes MD Francois Strydom said the joint venture would bring assurance of food security to local and regional consumers, competitive pricing and quality products.

The deal is expected to attract millions of direct foreign investment into SA, and will give Senwes greater ease in sourcing wheat and oilcake from international markets .

Strydom said SA imported 1.5 million to 1.7 million tons of wheat annually and between 1.7 million and 1.8 million tons of oil cake.

Bunge’s European unit said it planned to trade grain in South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Tanzania, Kenya and Mozambique.

According to Strydom, Bunge was the only one of the five main international agricultural organizations that had not yet entered the African market. It will be using Senwes’s expertise and understanding of the African market as a stepping stone to spread its wings.

Senwes intended to use the relationship to open global trading opportunities for its maize business, which suffered this year when South African maize struggled to find a market and better prices for farmers.

Strydom said Senwes, which controls more than a quarter of SA’s grain storage facilities, and Bunge planned to obtain regulatory approval by the end of May 2011.

From the April 5, 2011, Prepared Foods' Daily News