Agriculture Processing plants boost rural employment.
hile the contribution of agriculture to provincial gross domestic product (GDP) is small at 4.2%, the fact that nearly 40% of exports from the Western Cape derive from fruit or agri-processing makes this a vital sector to the health of the regional economy. Seven of the 10 biggest export earners are either agricultural products or agri-processed goods. In the national context, agricultural products made up 5.2% of the country’s export basket in 2015. The African continent accounted for 22.7% of total exports. Wheat is another of the province’s strong sectors: the Western Cape’s 310 000ha planted to wheat in 2015 represented 64% of South Africa’s crop. Japan is a major destination of the province’s maize production. In canola, the Western Cape is even more dominant, with 99% of the nation’s hectares. (StatsSA). A working group of the Protein Research Foundation is developing strategies to increase the yields and plantings of canola. A canola symposium was held in Bredasdorp in 2016. The province’s climatic regions vary from Mediterranean around Cape Town and on the coast (where rainfall can be 2 000mm at places) to the drier regions of the inland Karoo districts where annual rainfall WESTERN CAPE BUSINESS 2017
SECTOR INSIGHT A new testing centre will be built in the Western Cape to certify agricultural products for export to the EU. figures can be below 150mm. Just over three-million hectares of the province is cultivated and 270 000ha are under irrigation. The sector supports almost 10 000 farms and employs 214 000 people. Farming carried out on the Western Cape’s 13-million hectares of agricultural land comprises approximately 21% of South African commercial agriculture. The Provincial Government of the Western Cape has identi-