The agribusiness sector is a key component of the Western Cape’s economy. It lies at the traditional heart of the province’s economy, contributing significantly to the region’s exports. Agribusiness is also critically important for South Africa's and Africa’s economic growth.
The Western Cape is the largest exporter of agribusiness products of the nine South African provinces.
The province’s agricultural sector comprises both primary agriculture and agri-processing (transforming products that originate from farming, for example food and beverages manufacturing). Both are key to the province’s economy.
Wesgro’s Agribusiness Investment Unit aims to attract and facilitate foreign and domestic investment into the Western Cape’s agricultural sector. The unit also focuses on retaining existing investments and supporting their expansions in the agricultural space.
With winter rainfall in the Boland and year-round rainfall in the Southern Cape, the Western Cape’s unique climate offers a diverse crop mix and year-round production potential. The sector also benefits from excellent road, rail, sea and air transport and cold-chain infrastructure and processing facilities.
In addition, two universities offer advanced programmes in cereal science, fruit technology, plant biotechnology and viticulture, offering a pool of talent and skills for operators in the sector.
The Western Cape also hosts many businesses that operate at various points along the agribusiness supply chain, including inputs, production, processing, marketing and distribution of agricultural, forestry and fishing products.
The Western Cape’s winter rainfall provides agricultural conditions conducive to a distinctive crop mix.
Agriculture is one of the primary pillars of the Western Cape economy, with about 11 commodities contributing significantly to production. Fruit, poultry and eggs, winter grains, viticulture and vegetables comprise more than 75% of total output.
Subregions with their own climate zones ensure diverse crops and products. Fruit and viticulture are key agricultural sectors, as are vegetables and animal products, dairy, grain and flowers.
Many farmers in the Western Cape are turning to organic production methods, and agricultural innovation includes the use of drones to improve farming.
The Western Cape is the fifth largest global exporter in Africa of agricultural goods, with exports valued at US$4.6-billion in 2017 (source: Quantec).
Our destination is a resilient one, and with dams having recovered significantly after a recent devastating drought, Cape Town is one of only three cities in the world with a water-resilience strategy.
The Western Cape has a globally competitive agribusiness sector, and Cape Town is an established hub for food and beverage manufacturing, boasting some of the country’s largest companies in the sector.
The city’s proximity to a vast, productive agricultural hinterland with distinctive agricultural yields (including grapes and deciduous fruits), its large international port, growing consumer population and strong skills base make it a competitive location for food and beverage manufacturing operations.
The industry is an important earner of foreign exchange for the city.
An increase in food and beverage exports indicates that the sector is well placed to take advantage of the growing demand for food and beverage products on the African continent. Cape Town is competitive in terms of the manufacture of spice and sauce products, the processing of fish products, the manufacture of grain mill products, beer brewing and the production of soft drinks.
Wesgro’s Agribusiness Investment Unit targets priority sectors and markets aligned with those of the national and provincial departments of agriculture and the National Development Plan.
Priority sectors for investment are food processing; beverages; aquaculture; agriculture (including ostrich farming, fruit and vegetables, beef, and dairy); horticulture (including viticulture and wine production); medicinal, aromatics and flavourants (including essential oils); rooibos and honey bush; and capital equipment and industrial machinery (including cold storage).
Another key opportunity is the growing Cape halal agri-processing industry, which is the most developed on the African continent.
Wesgro supports trade and investment in medicinal cannabis in accordance with its mandate to support economic growth and job creation in the local economy. To learn more about opportunities around investing in cannabis, please download our factsheet:
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The Wesgro Investment Promotion Unit provides a free and confidential service to help you establish and grow your business in Cape Town and the Western Cape. Our team of expert Portfolio Managers have more than 40 years of combined experience in supporting new investors commercialise their businesses in the region, and in helping established businesses grow and expand.
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