Despite the drought, more than 100 000 jobs have been added to the Western Cape’s agri processing and agriculture sectors since the launch of the province’s Project Khulisa growth strategy.
Alan Winde, Minister of Economic Opportunities, the Western Cape Government team who are driving the strategy and Wesgro, today (17 October 2017) delivered a mid-term update on Project Khulisa Agri-processing, which was launched in 2014. Jobs growth, progress on skills development and transformation were among the key points raised at the briefing.
The impact of threats like drought and avian influenza (AI) on the economy were also discussed. Project Khulisa was launched in 2014 with the target of adding 100 000 jobs to the agri-processing sector, and growing the Gross Value Add (an indicator of all the goods and services produced by the sector).
In order to achieve these objectives, three strategic initiatives have been identified: capture a larger share for the Western Cape’s of the global Halal market; increase exports of wine to China and Angola; and to improve local production capacity for domestic and key strategic markets.
“Wesgro’s 8 year old agri-investment unit has been very successful to date and it is clear that our work is having a real, positive impact in the Province. In the past 3 years the unit has secured R1.4 billion in investment, creating 1268 jobs in the Western Cape. Both of these were well above the targets set. There are also currently 26 exciting opportunities in the unit’s pipeline to the value of R1.5 billion. The Western Cape has a wealth of opportunities in the sector and our message remains – the Western Cape and Cape Town is a great place to invest!” said Towfiq Hendricks, Wesgro Agribusiness: Portfolio Manager.
Minister Winde said a key objective of the growth strategy was to expand access to the agri processing and agriculture sectors: “I am also especially pleased to announce that we’ve expanded access to the industry, through transformation projects and support for emerging farmers.”
Darryl Jacobs, Deputy Director-General of Western Cape Department of Agriculture, provided an update on the drought.
“We have surveyed producers in the sector, and they expect an average decline in production of around 36.9%. If this scenario transpires, this would translate to R4.96 billion GVA decline for 2017/8, which represents 27% of our sector. The potential impact are job losses of 35 634. This is why we have committed to supporting commercial and emerging farmers, and have spent R67 million to date in monthly support.”