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The Western Cape Agriculture Sector is one of the Province’s key sectors in terms of jobs, exports and contribution to GDP. It also has huge historic significance as the backbone of the regional economy and a major draw card for job-seekers.
The Chamber supports local area and sector development by providing the following:
1. Enterprise development - increasing awareness of opportunities for learning, development and links to expertise.
2. Networking events - enabling members to connect with new customers, suppliers, experts and decision-makers.
3. Regional sector and value chain development programmes - for firms to express their concerns about issues affecting business in their sub-sector and to steer systematic improvement to realise faster growth of the sub-sector.
4. Participation in Business retention and expansion programmes - to steer systematic improvement of their local business environment.
5. Strengthening of dialogue with the public sector - towards more effective public investment, smarter service delivery, procurement efficacy and to stop doing what the private sector can do with greater efficacy.
Western Cape Agriculture is a diverse sector that punches above its weight in terms of overall contribution to national agricultural output – a 15% share. Horticultural production makes up almost half of the gross farm income in the province.
Crop production covers more than two million hectares of agricultural land, with the biggest share taken up by wheat production. The other major crops are wine grapes, canola, barley, rooibos tea, apples, table grapes, pears and oranges.
Growth industries include blueberries and cannabis.
Pre-Covid, there was a sizeable increase in agricultural exports from the Province, and the upward trend returned in 2022 as lockdown restrictions eased.
In 2019 the sector created 22 000 jobs. Total sector employment stands at around 250 000.
The Province’s three main export destinations are the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and China. The Provincial Government recently launched a campaign to increase agricultural exports into Africa. Currently, South Africa’s immediate sovereign neighbours are the main export destinations on the African continent.
Investment in the sector increased in 2019 after several years of decline. Increasing investment, mainly into the food, beverages and tobacco sector, is being driven largely by strong investment in information and communication, with Cape Town the key investment area.
At a recent Chamber engagement, the Western Cape Minister of Agriculture, Minister Dr Ivan Meyer, highlighted the Western Cape’s Africa Agricultural Strategy. He said Africa is currently the third-largest market for Western Cape primary agricultural exports, amounting to R4.3 billion in 2021. Over 40% of African agricultural imports come from South Africa.
The sector is undergoing marked changes due to external factors such as the volatile global economy and international markets, changing consumer demands, rising inflation, mechanisation, Port infrastructure challenges and high shipping rates.
Additional environmental variables include global warming and food safety & security concerns. As the Cape Chamber, we look forward to supporting and growing this key economic sector in the province.
We welcome your engagement in growing our economy!