Agricultural revival in the Western Cape
The Chamber of Commerce welcomes news of an agricultural revival in the Western Cape where the most recent employment figures show a significant improvement.
Total employment in the sector increased 49,8% in the first quarter of 2022 compared with the corresponding quarter last year -- an increase largely explained by the economic recovery following last year’s strict Covid-19 lockdowns. Figures also show a significant increase in the number of people employed in agri-processing, which is a sure sign that the sector is back on track.
The Chamber also commends efforts to increase exports into the African market via the Provincial Department’s new Africa Agricultural Strategy. Already about 41% of African agricultural imports come from South Africa – and this percentage seems likely to grow according to provincial Agriculture Minister Dr Ivan Meyer who visited the Chamber earlier this month.
What is clear is that agriculture is leading the Province’s economic recovery despite ongoing challenges. This success illustrates the agricultural sector’s immense employment potential, and we appeal to all tiers of government to remove remaining obstacles to growth, such as ongoing transport challenges.
Fortunately there appears to be encouraging progress at the Port of Cape Town, where stakeholder collaboration has eased congestion and infrastructure backlogs.
Other welcome news includes the upgrading of the Provincial Veterinary Laboratory and extension of the Department’s MOU with commodity organisations. Both initiatives should further strengthen a sector that lies at the heart of the Western Cape economy.
The Chamber looks forward to facilitating ongoing engagement between all agricultural stakeholders with a view to maintaining the positive momentum.