Study set to assess agricultural potential of the Philippi Horticultural Area

A comprehensive study to assess the agricultural potential of the Philippi Horticultural Area is set to commence soon.

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The Western Cape Department of Agriculture, through its implementing agent, Casidra, had called for bidders to put proposals on the table to develop a plan to map, secure and grow agriculture in the PHA.

Today (21 June 2017), officials from the Western Cape Department of Agriculture briefed the Standing Committee on Economic Opportunities, Agriculture and Tourism on the matter.

Deputy Director-General of the Department, Darryl Jacobs, said: “The purpose of the study is to preserve and protect the PHA as a highly productive horticulture area to boost our food and nutrition security.We are committed to protecting agriculture land in the urban space and the Department of Agriculture has consistently opposed development applications in the PHA. A steering committee, which will include all relevant stakeholders and land users at the PHA, will also be established to guide the process.”

“While the Department of Agriculture is not a decision-making authority on the PHA, the results of our study will provide an evidence-base, as well as a set of recommendations, for decision-makers to use in evaluating land use in the area.”

Decision makers include the City of Cape Town, the Western Cape Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning and the National Department of Rural Development and Land Reform.

Western Cape Minister of Economic Opportunities, Alan Winde, said: “Our vision is the development of agriculture and agri businesses in the PHA, in partnership with other spheres of government, farmers in the area and other interested parties. We believe the region could be an economic hub, and a vibrant space for various small, medium and commercial enterprises in the agriculture value chain. This will deliver a jobs boost not only to Philippi, but to our entire region.

As part of the investigation, funding models will be studied and improved security will also be a focus area.

“We are in the middle of one of the most severe droughts our region has seen. Agriculture is particularly vulnerable to water shortages, and we’ve already seen the impact of the current drought on our sector. Analysing the quality and quantity of water resources feeding the PHA will be a key part of the study. This will include an assessment of the aquifer.”

Minister Winde reiterated that agri processing and agriculture were key sectors under the Project Khulisa economic strategy.

“Agriculture and agri processing employ over 400 000 residents, including support workers. Globally, there is a focus on agriculture as a solution to the rising demand for food. We know the Western Cape is well positioned to respond to this global challenge. Developing the PHA so that agri entrepreneurs have the support they need to establish thriving businesses, will play an important role in further growing our sector.”

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