South African agribusinesses are now part of the global trading environment and must compete, despite the presence of highly "unequal economic playing fields". Competing under these conditions is hard, with South African agribusinesses involved in an exhausting race of "catch-up" with competitors. However, given a global regulatory environment that entrenches the notions of international competition (on both a regional and global level), to "catch-up" and compete is exactly what agribusiness has to do. An analysis of the agro-food and fibre complex reveals a remarkable achievement, namely that, despite difficult local conditions, the agricultural industry succeeded in operating more competitively for the last eight years. On the primarily level the sugar, groundnuts, oranges, apples, grapes and wool industries establish themselves as "winners" in the global trading environment. On the value added level the maize flour, apple juice, grape juice and raisins industries have distinguished themselves as "winners". Agribusiness in these industries clearly started to focus on the "right stuff". Unfortunately, some "losers" also emerged, while some industries created positive "turnaround" situations.