Saturday, January 28, 2023

Agriculture boosts Western Cape’s economic recovery and food security

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

The Western Cape cabinet put its focus on the Overberg region, visiting the town of Bredasdorp during the Cabinet Meets Agriculture campaign.

Provincial ministers engaged with stakeholders from the province’s agricultural community to build partnerships in the interest of food security and economic recovery in the province. “Farmers and agri-workers feed the nation, so it goes without saying that they are crucial stakeholders for the government,” Western Cape premier, Alan Winde, pointed out.

Winde thanked producers and agri-workers for all they do to drive the province’s economic recovery, despite a multitude of challenges.

Through ongoing load shedding and the Covid-19 pandemic, the sector kept growing, contributing to the economy and ensuring food security. “But growing pains bring challenges. Apart from the energy crisis, producers have also had to grapple with other problems like drought and avian influenza. Yet, they and their workers wake up every day and forge ahead.”

Read more about the Western Cape’s plans for expanding water infrastructure.

He told the gathering: “We are under pressure, but we are serious about this relationship with the agricultural sector. It is not just about engaging, but also about coming up with solutions and plans to keep growing the agricultural economy and improving food security as the Western Cape’s population continues to grow at a rapid rate. We have to face challenges head-on and find solutions.”

Agriculture plays a major role in the economy

Speakers at the Cabinet Meets Agriculture campaign included emerging farmer, Thamsanqa Mxokozeli, who thanked the Western Cape government for helping him grow his business. He farms in the Bredasdorp area and employs 14 people. However, he says he does not have access to further credit and appealed for help. The provincial Department of Agriculture will be looking into this matter.

Western Cape minister of agriculture, Dr Ivan Meyer, thanked all the farmers, agri-workers, and producers in the province’s agricultural value chain. He added: “The Western Cape is the dominant player in the horticultural sector. The observed real gross income growth highlighted the deciduous, subtropical fruit and vegetables as the top three performing products.”

Pointing to the critical role agriculture plays in economic growth, Dr Meyer added: “Compared to the first quarter of 2021, over the same period this year, the gross domestic product (GDP) and employment numbers confirm that Western Cape agriculture is pushing forward.”

The Western Cape cabinet has undertaken to keep supporting the agricultural sector. “Agriculture is the catalyst that creates other businesses and jobs for many residents, particularly in rural areas where they are needed most, and in turn creates hope,” Winde concluded. – Press release, Western Cape Department of Agriculture

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