Through the investments committed, the unit's work will assist in the facilitation of an estimated 452 new direct jobs in the Agribusiness sector, against an annual upper band target of 280.
“The agriculture sector is one of the biggest contributors to the economy and job creation in the Western Cape and results such as these bear testimony to this fact. Despite the many hindrances experienced since the beginning of this financial year - including the drought - the team has managed to produce outstanding results and exceed what was initially viewed as a daunting target at the beginning of the financial year,” commented Wesgro CEO, Tim Harris.
Reflecting on a successful past 4 months, the unit had numerous highlights, which included:
- 3 fixed investments committed to the value of R278 million, which are expected to support the creation of more than 150 jobs over the next 5-years in the Western Cape;
- more than 60 meetings were undertaken with investors, corporates and service providers - 14 of which were Halal businesses;
- 8 inward missions from Japan, France, Germany, UK and the USA (Nevada) were hosted;
- attended 6 conferences to promote investment opportunities in the Western Cape to local and international investors, and strengthen relations with National stakeholders in the Agribusiness sector;
- 4 meetings were undertaken during the quarter with district and local municipalities including: 2 with Matzikama and 1 with Mossel Bay and Overberg respectively; and
- the unit engaged with 6 Sector Development Agencies including the Halal Forum (IHCC), South African Halal Certification Bodies and Hortgro.
The unit has been working closely with the Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism's (DEDAT) Agribusiness desk, the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, hosting a total of 8 stakeholder engagements over the past four months.
Congratulating the team on this success, Western Cape Government Head of Department of Agriculture, Joyene Isaacs, said: “AIU at Wesgro has done it again! Well done as this reflects the hard work and dedication of the team towards the agricultural sector. I’m proud of the Department’s association with the AIU and Wesgro, better together. Our agreement is delivering results, even in a difficult economic environment. Let’s celebrate!”
Executive Mayor Patricia de Lille, commented: “These results are truly outstanding in a sector that means so much for the Western Cape. It is especially heartening to know that these numbers were achieved while we are still recovering from the worst drought in decades. It speaks to the resilience of the sector and the good work the Agri team have put in to ensure that we continue to grow this industry. The target that was exceeded with the number of jobs created is truly remarkable and we must continue to work harder to see the industry flourish.”
Western Cape Minister of Economic Opportunities, Alan Winde, added: “Agri-processing is one of our key sectors under our Project Khulisa strategy to grow the economy and create jobs and we are very pleased to see that Wesgro has managed to secure investments exceeding their targets in this sector. We are especially pleased that they have exceeded their job creation targets, creating 452 jobs.”
Wesgro is Cape Town and the Western Cape's official Tourism, Trade and Investment Promotion Agency, and receives its mandate and funding from the Western Cape Government's Department of Economic Development and Tourism and the City of Cape Town.