Agriculture and fishing are key economic sectors in the Western Cape, accounting for 75% of the nation’s fishing and about 45% of South Africa’s agricultural exports. The value added in the sector amounts to more than R14 billion per annum. Furthermore, the sector is one of the largest employers. A critical challenge is the resource intensity of farming practices. The combination of changing climate and global carbon pricing could potentially render large parts of this economy and its downstream activities unviable if we do not act to reduce risk. Farming of the future will belong to those areas that adopt water efficiency, energy efficiency, low-carbon and low resource intensity input technologies and practices.
The Western Cape Department of Agriculture provides a wide range of development, research and support services to the agricultural community in the Western Cape. The agricultural sector stimulates economic growth in the province and plays a major role in creating sustainable job opportunities.
GreenAgri supports the Western Cape's Provincial Strategic Goals and its Green Economy Strategic Framework which includes smart agri-production plans on sustainable farming practices, balancing farming and conservation needs, resource efficiency and waste minimisation. The portal was developed by the Western Cape Department of Agriculture in collaboration with GreenCape. GreenCape is a sector development agency in the Western Cape and supporting businesses that operate in the green economy.
Action Plans & Policies
The website lists various action and policies relating to the Agricultural sector. These include the Provincial Strategic Plan, the SA Framework Environmental Legislation and the International: United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
Tips & Tools
The useful tips section presents an overview on a variety of topics that could help you on your farm or provide you with new ideas to propel your business. Topics under this section include how to implement energy efficiency, how to adopt to renewable energy, composting, conservation agriculture, climate change, water management and even aquaculture
Projects & Research
The Department of Agriculture is also involved in projects and research in various areas. These include Energy, Aquaculture, General Sustainability, Livestock, Commodities, Conservation Agriculture, Soil Health, and Water.
The SmartAgri plan, launched during May 2016, and with the vision “Leading the way to a climate-resilient agricultural future for the Western Cape with a coordinated sector plan”, has set the scene for focused action and implementation in the agricultural sector. The plan has been widely acknowledged by the agricultural sector as one of the best plans developed for the sector. Furthermore, owing to its position as a highly vulnerable sector, agriculture is the first sector in the province to benefit from a sectoral climate change response framework and plan. The plan presents the “road map” for the agricultural sector to travel towards a more productive and sustainable future, despite the uncertainties around specific climate projections.
Also on the website you can find the following briefs case studies; Regional and Commodity Briefs, Fruitlook, Conservation Agriculture, Small Holder Farming, Disaster and Risk Management, Peri-Urban Agriculture, Renewable Energy.
The website also has some interesting articles on their blog page. Click here to visit the page.