Premier Winde and cabinet laud the start of recovery for agriculture

western cape agrPremier Winde, minister of agriculture Ivan Meyer and the Western Cape cabinet met with representatives from the agricultural sector to discuss the successes and challenges they face

The meeting forms part of a series of engagements Premier Winde and his cabinet will hold with various sectors and role players in the province, which will be taking place over the coming months.

Premier Winde said, “Our economy faces some challenges that are beyond our control such as Brexit, the US-China trade relations and issues of land expropriation without compensation but I am pleased that the agriculture sector continued to invest in the Western Cape. Investment is a sign of confidence and the fact that we are seeing investment continue in agriculture is a sign of its recovery following the drought. Creating an enabling environment for the economy to grow is a key focus this government and a crucial aspect of this as ensuring that agriculture is supported.”

“As the provincial government, we have committed to supporting the economy and investment which will contribute towards job creation and economic growth. Agriculture in the Western Cape is an important contributor to the economy in terms of job creation, revenue generation and it plays a major role in national food security,” Premier Winde added.

Major stakeholders such as Agri- Western Cape, AFASA, BFASA and representatives from the Fruit and Wine as well as the Red Meat and Wool Industries raised a number of concerns. These include the transformation of the agriculture value chain, drought support, trade and market access and the socio-economic impact of the drought on agriculture.

While good rains have seen many of the province's dams start to fill, some areas continue to experience drought conditions.

Head of the provincial agriculture department Joyene Isaacs confirmed that the Provincial Risk in Agriculture Committee has gathered all the data needed to request further drought support needed in the province. The data will form the basis of a report, highlighting the support needed in the sector, which will be forwarded to the Department of Local Government, the Provincial Disaster Unit and the Western Cape Cabinet.

The current prediction is that approximately US$9.59mn is required to assist farmers until the end of March 2020.

Minister Meyer said, “Despite the drought, agriculture in the Western Cape generates a total income of US$1.38bn a year and provides for 17 per cent of our total workforce in the Western Cape and 26.7 per cent of agri-workers in South Africa. The Western Cape contributes 45 per cent to South Africa's agricultural exports.”

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