South Africa’s Tapioca Starch Trade: Export and Import Dynamics

South Africa’s involvement in the global tapioca starch trade showcases its growing significance as both an exporter and importer. With notable export performance and a reliance on imports to meet domestic demand, the country highlights its potential for growth in the tapioca starch industry.

South Africa tapioca starch imports


South Africa’s involvement in the tapioca starch trade demonstrated notable export performance in 2021. With exports valued at $123k, the country secured its position as the 39th largest exporter of tapioca starch globally. Although tapioca starch ranked as the 3534th most exported product from South Africa in the same year, its export figures highlight the country’s growing presence in the international market.

The primary destinations for South Africa’s tapioca starch exports included Namibia ($34k), the Democratic Republic of the Congo ($27.3k), Zimbabwe ($24.8k), Botswana ($19.7k), and Eswatini ($10.1k). These countries played a crucial role in driving South Africa’s export growth and expanding the reach of its tapioca starch products.

Between 2020 and 2021, South Africa witnessed significant growth in its export markets for tapioca starch. Notably, the Democratic Republic of the Congo experienced a substantial increase of $27.3k, reflecting a growing demand for South African tapioca starch in the neighboring country. Zambia contributed an additional $4.29k, while Kenya provided an extra $925, further underlining the expanding opportunities for South African exports.

ContinentCountryTrade Value
AfricaDemocratic Republic of the Congo27,252
Table: Where Does South Africa Export Its Tapioca Starch (2021)


South Africa’s tapioca starch imports in 2021 reached a total value of $6.97M, making it the 16th largest importer of tapioca starch globally. Although tapioca starch ranked as the 1444th most imported product in South Africa during the same year, the import data highlights the country’s reliance on foreign sources to meet its domestic demand.

Thailand emerged as the leading supplier of tapioca starch to South Africa, with imports totaling $3.44M. Brazil followed closely behind with $2.09M, while Vietnam contributed $818k, India provided $403k, and the Netherlands supplied $105k worth of the product. These countries played a significant role in fulfilling South Africa’s growing demand for tapioca starch.

Between 2020 and 2021, South Africa experienced notable growth in its import markets for tapioca starch. Notably, Brazil witnessed a substantial surge of $1.71M, reinforcing its status as a key tapioca starch supplier to South Africa. India contributed an additional $370k, while Germany provided an extra $72.2k, further indicating the country’s expanding import requirements.

ContinentCountryTrade Value
AfricaDemocratic Republic of the Congo124
AsiaChinese Taipei7,752
South AmericaBrazil2,094,056
Table: Where Does South Africa Import Its Tapioca Starch (2021)

Importing Tapioca Starch from Vietnam: A Reliable Partnership

Vietnam has emerged as a prominent supplier of tapioca starch to the South Africa market. In 2021, the total value of tapioca starch imports from Vietnam amounted to an impressive $818,148. This significant figure indicates that Vietnam’s tapioca starch holds a strong position in the market and is poised to maintain its presence in South Africa in the years to come. The reasons behind this sustained importation are primarily attributed to the product’s superior quality and competitive pricing.

South Africa benefits from Vietnam’s tapioca starch exports, which provide a dependable supply of this vital ingredient. The substantial import value from Vietnam underscores South Africa’s confidence in Vietnam as a trusted and preferred partner for fulfilling its tapioca starch requirements. With its consistent quality and competitive pricing, Vietnam’s tapioca starch has proven to be a reliable source that meets South Africa’s demand for this essential product.


In 2018, South Africa faced an average tariff rate of 4.25% on tapioca starch imports. Notably, several countries imposed higher import tariffs on this product, including Angola, Burundi, Benin, Burkina Faso, and the Central African Republic. These nations maintained a Most Favored Nation duty rate treatment, resulting in a 5% tariff on tapioca starch imports into South Africa.

The presence of higher import tariffs in these countries presents trade barriers and cost implications for South Africa’s tapioca starch imports. Policymakers and stakeholders need to consider these tariffs when formulating import strategies and engaging in trade negotiations to ensure a balanced and sustainable market for tapioca starch in South Africa.

Source: BACI and General Statistics Office of Vietnam