OVERVIEW fied agri-processing as one of the three key sectors that can deliver high growth and lots of jobs. Over a five-year period to 2014, the sector grew at nearly 5% and delivered jobs growth of more than 7%. Agri-processing holds potential to increase employment in rural areas. If it receives the dedicated attention and support, it could add up to 100 000 jobs and generate R26-billion for the economy under a highgrowth scenario. Among the areas on the todo list of Western Cape Minister for Economic Opportunities Alan Winde, whose ministry is responsible for agriculture, is to bring more irrigated land on-stream to increase product into the agri-processing chain; to keep promoting wine sales to the world; to expand African exports (Angola is proving a good first step); investigating whether the Western Cape can tap into the global halaal market said to be worth $2.3-trillion; and to build a testing centre for agricultural products so they can be certified for sale into the European Union (EU). Zoning laws also have to be adopted to promote growth in rural areas. He gives an example of a fruit pulping and drying company in the small town of Gouda, which was restricted by zoning laws when it wanted to expand its factory space beyond 1 000m². “They are growing at 65% and you are telling them to pack up and move to the city? Gouda loses 1 000 jobs!” Winde says that it must be the objective of govern-
ment and planners to create an enabling environment for companies to expand. In presenting his 2016/17 budget, Minister Winde said that the number of jobs in the agricultural sector had grown by 63% in a year, citing StatsSA data. This figure included seasonal jobs. Many more opportunities for employment may come about if the trend reported on by City Press in August of 2016 grows bigger: experienced citrus farmers moving to the Western Cape from other areas. Reporting that five farmers from Limpopo and the Eastern Cape had bought farms in Citrusdal, Robertson and Wellington, the newspaper noted that the variety of new fruit types (apart from lemons and other citrus fruit) to be planted by these new farmers would supply work all-year round for local people. Mandarins, seedless watermelons and squash are among the other fruits. There is also good news for agriculture in the Western Cape – out of Gauteng. South African Breweries has built a new malting plant in that province. To get to an annual production figure of 130 000 tons of malted barley for the new facility, more barley will have to be grown. The locally-sourced barley that SAB buys will rise from 65% to 95% of total stock. The company’s only other malting facility is in the heart of barley-growing country, at Caledon in the Overberg region, where 180 000 tons are processed every year. The Western Cape is a major producer of fruit and vegetables and is by far the biggest producer of peaches in South Africa. The country produces about 60 000 tons per year. Only 1% of South Africa’s fruit is dried, but that still represents 51 000 tons of product. The Western Cape is strong in dried fruit and nuts with Montagu Dried Fruit and Nuts, Cape Dried Fruit Packers (also based in the Boland town of Montagu), and Safari among the biggest producers and distributors.
Apples and pears
Iron and steel
Fruit and nuts
Top 10 exports 2015 SOURCE: QUANTEC, 2015
WESTERN CAPE BUSINESS 2017