THIRD ITERATION OF THE FLYOVER PROJECT SHOWS INCREASE IN HIGH-VALUE CROPS IN THE WESTERN CAPE

Minister Meyer Henriette Badenhorst and Mogale Sebopetsa

THIRD ITERATION OF THE FLYOVER PROJECT SHOWS INCREASE IN HIGH-VALUE CROPS IN THE WESTERN CAPE

On Friday, 15 March 2024, the Western Cape Minister of Agriculture, Dr Ivan Meyer received the final report of the third iteration of the Western Cape Department of Agriculture’s (WCDoA) Flyover Project.

The “Flyover” is one of the unique flagship projects of the WCDoA that is used to provide up-to-date statistical data on agricultural production (including smaller/alternative crops), and track the infrastructure footprint and changes in the agricultural land use.

The first survey or mapping exercise (supplemented by interviews with farmers) was undertaken in 2013 to provide the baseline for both the winter and the summer crops. The updated survey was conducted in 2017/18. The third iteration identifies the extent of production, infrastructure and land-use changes in the Western Cape.

Dr Meyer highlighted that regular crop and related infrastructure censuses play a pivotal role in informed agricultural planning, management, and policymaking. Minister Meyer said, “The aerial mapping of agricultural commodity production and infrastructure in the Western Cape yields five key benefits:

    • Providing accurate data on crop yields and production trends, crucial for production forecasts and understanding market dynamics;
    • Enabling efficient resource allocation allowing targeted support for agricultural development;
      Facilitating risk management by identifying vulnerabilities and enabling proactive strategies against environmental challenges;
    • Supporting farmers in making informed decisions about crop selection and marketing opportunities, potentially aiding in accessing financial services; and
    • Underpinning evidence-based policy development, promoting sustainable practices and addressing food security challenges.”

Specialist GIS Scientist and project leader, Dr Mike Wallace said that the third iteration of the project offers insights into a decade’s production changes, significantly aiding provincial, regional and national decision-making. “Detailed agricultural analyses were conducted on the collected data to enhance the project’s strategic value, aligning it with the Western Cape Cape Department of Agriculture’s Strategic Plan. Key structural changes observed from the 2023 flyover include a massive increase in citrus production and alternative high-value crops in the Southern Cape such as kiwis, almonds, avocados, macadamias and pecan nuts in the Western Cape. Consistent growth in the deciduous fruit industry signals increasing volumes to be exported”, added Dr Wallace.

The Report highlights that the potential production value of key crops such as orchards, vegetables, grains, oilseed and lupins, Rooibos, Honey Bush Tea and Hops have increased over the past ten years.

“We have seen excellent growth in the industry with the production value of orchards increasing by 32% between 2013 and 2017 and again by 43% between 2017 and 2023. However, this increase in production does highlight the need to put more pressure on key logistical infrastructure providers such as the Port of Cape Town which threatens the growth and export of high-value crops. The Western Cape Government has adopted its Growth for Jobs strategy and agriculture will be a key contributor to growing the economy and creating jobs in the Western Cape,” concluded the Minister.

Share this post