Western Cape allocates R55m to ecological infrastructure

by | Jun 17, 2022 | Article, Wineland

Western Cape: Today 17 June 2022 is commemorated as World Desertification and Drought Day. This year’s theme is healthy land equals healthy people. This focus is on transforming degraded land into healthy land to promote community and ecosystem resilience while improving human life, particularly in arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas.

Avoiding slowing and reversing the loss of productive land and natural ecosystems are essential for a swift recovery from the pandemic and guaranteeing the long-term survival of people and the planet.

The Western Cape Department of Agriculture‘s River Protection Project is an effective risk reduction measure in rivers that recent floods have negatively impacted. These interventions involve stabilizing the riverbanks, preventing further soil erosion of the riverbanks, and improving ecosystem functioning.

 

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Minister Meyer and Hans King.

Restoring ecological infrastructure

For this reason, the Department has set aside R37 million for restoring ecological Infrastructure and R18.5 million for river protection planned along the Keurboom, Jan du Toits, and Upper Hex rivers.

Last year minister Meyer handed over three river protection works (Holsloot Weir near Rawsonville and the Meerlustkloof and Meul Projects near Genadendal) to the respective water users associations.

“Built at the cost of R69 million, Holsloot Weir, for example, responds to the severe damage caused by flooding, alien invasive plants, and damaging ecological maintenance performed within the river,” says the minister.

Restoring ecological infrastructure increases agricultural productivity, socio-ecological resilience, improved water security and job creation, he says.

 

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Minister Meyer at the handover of the Holsloot Project.

 

READ: Western Cape launches Africa agriculture strategy

Western Cape Minister of Agriculture Dr Ivan Meyer said that the strategy focuses on co-creation within economic development, job creation, and food security.

“The African market offered great trade opportunities and was essential to South Africa and the rest of the world. We aim to unlock agricultural opportunities in Africa and the Western Cape Agricultural Sector, including agricultural trade products, inputs, services, technology partnerships, information, skills development, training and logistics,” says Ivan.

Meyer continues: “Africa is the third-largest market of the Western Cape’s primary agricultural exports, accounting for R4.3 billion in 2021. The African market imports share of 41% for agricultural exports comes from South Africa. Globally it accounts for 2.9% of global imports and contributes 2.8% to the world economy. Furthermore, during 2012-2017, the average annual GDP growth increased by 4.3%, the second fastest-growing economy after Asia at 4.5%.”

Welcoming the strategy, the Consul General of Angola, Mr Sebastião De Carvalho Neto, highlighted that agriculture was the base for economic development and the fight against poverty and hunger.

“The Angolan Government is looking at diversifying its economy with a strong focus on agriculture. We are looking at production capacity, innovation and technology and market opportunities. The Department of Agriculture’s African Strategy for the Agricultural Sector lays the platform to strengthen bilateral links and develop a more focused approach to our relationship  with the Western Cape Government, Wesgro and the Department of Agriculture,” he says.

Siobhan Thompson of Wines of South Africa highlights the importance of an African-South Africa wine Growth Strategy.

“South Africa’s wine exports to other African countries increased from about 15,5 million litres in 2020 to 23,4 million litres in 2021. For example, between 2020 and 2021, volumes traded with Nigeria increased from 1,9 million to 6,6 million litres, while Kenya’s volumes increased from 3,5 million to 4,8 million litres, and Tanzania’s from 2,2 million to 3,4 million litres.”

CEO of Agri-Western Cape, Jannie Strydom, says that his organisation is committed to supporting the WCDoA’s African Strategy.

“Government can play a crucial role by addressing poor infrastructure, logistical challenges and by facilitating trade relationships. Government must take responsibility for creatin

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