Western Cape Partners with Reunion to Boost Agro-processing Sector
The Western Cape is partnering with the French island, Reunion, to boost innovation in the province’s R12 billion agro-processing industry.
Alan Winde, Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Tourism, said a delegation from the province had been invited to the Third Food Innovation Symposium, which takes place in Reunion in November.
Minister Winde made the announcement ahead of his address at a discussion at Le Cap40 on Wednesday, 11 September 2013. Le Cap40 is a network focusing on developing business links between the Western Cape and France.
“The surest way to boost the competiveness of our local agro-processing industry is to embrace innovation. Through this mutually beneficial partnership, we can explore new ways of growing this key sector. This is an area of our economy with major opportunity for growth and job creation. Our partnership with Reunion provides a great platform for increased export opportunities for Western Cape business,” said Minister Winde.
Western Cape trade with France, which governs Reunion, totalled R3.7 billion in 2011.
In 2010, the Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism, the Cape Peninsula University of Technology and the Agricultural Research Foundation visited Reunion, providing the foundation for co-operation between the two regions.
Last year 20 major food companies from Reunion attended the CPUT Food Innovation Symposium.
This has been followed by projects between the two regions, including an exchange student programme between CPUT and the University of Reunion.
Research areas include extracting natural ingredients from plants and new technologies in the preservation of tropical fruits.
In addition, researchers from Reunion, Stellenbosch University and the Agricultural Research Foundation are currently investigating new projects in innovation and the food industry.
The Western Cape’s agro-processing sector is one of the province’s biggest growth sectors and currently employs 50 000 people.