WESTERN CAPE LAUNCHES AGRI-PROCESSING ON WHEELS INITIATIVE IN OVERBERGCasidra
The Western Cape Minister of Agriculture Dr Ivan Meyer, accompanied by the Executive Mayor of the Overberg District Municipality, Alderman Sakkie Franken, launched the Western Cape Department of Agriculture’s mobile Agri-Processing on Wheels Initiative in Bredasdorp.
The Agri-processing On Wheels Initiative will enable officials to develop the agri-processing capacity in the Western Cape by offering workshops to interested groups across the Western Cape Cape.
Speaking at the launch Minister Meyer highlighted that agri-processing is emerging as an essential sub-sector with the potential to spur economic growth and create jobs.
Meyer: “The Overberg is the 2nd largest agricultural region of the Western Cape with primary agriculture contributing 9% to the GPD and Agri-processing 5%. The horticulture, which makes up 46% and field crops (26%) of production in the Overberg region are the sub-sectors that benefit from the Agri-Processing On Wheels initiative.”
Meyer continues: “The agri-processing sub-sector in the Western Cape plays a critical role in addressing the youth unemployment challenge. This is because it employs a significant proportion of youth, i.e. about 45%. The subsector is also essential in transforming agriculture as about 47% of those used within the sub-sector are women.”
Meyer: “In addition, agri-processing also plays a crucial role in household food security. It prolongs product shelf life and reduces wastage, resulting from surplus production.”
Executive Mayor Franken welcomed the initiative as one that can build food security and jobs in the Overberg.
Franken: “I am thrilled that the Western Cape Department of Agriculture is rolling out this initiative in the Overberg. It will enable developing agri-processing capacity, agri-processing businesses, jobs, and a vibrant rural economy.”
“The Mobile Processing Units enable the Department to reach producers in remote areas by bringing the processing equipment to them. Furthermore, with increased capacity in agri-processing, the region is positioned to increase its current labour intake of 22%, which is primarily absorbed by agriculture,” concluded Meyer.