The Western Cape Food, Beverages and Tobacco Sector has exhibited impressive growth and job creation over the ten years between 2009 and 2019, proving once again that agri-processing is a strategic priority for the Western Cape.

Over this period, the sector more than doubled its Gross Value Added (GVA) in food processing from R9.2 billion to R23.7 billion, an average annual increase of 4.3% – far higher than headline inflation in the province. At the same time, GVA in beverage and tobacco production also grew from R5.2 billion to R9.8 billion.

As the sector has been growing, it has also contributed significantly to job creation in the province. Seasonally adjusted employment in the Western Cape’s food, beverages and tobacco sector grew from 64 000 jobs at the end of 2009 to more than 122 000 by the end of 2019.

This is an increase of 58 000 jobs, 13% of jobs created in the province over this period. These figures are particularly impressive noting that the coronavirus pandemic has had a devastating effect on employment countrywide.

The food, beverages and tobacco sector, by managing to increase employment by 17 000 jobs in 2020, mitigated against some of these losses. The Department will be working hard to foster new relations with various partners to take agri processing to the next level. One such initiative is the Agri-Processing on Wheels Project, which I am very excited to be launching later this year.

This initiative will expose rural communities to agri-processing opportunities, which will lead in the creation of jobs and enhance food security.

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