Investment in road infrastructure good news for agriculture

Quality road infrastructure is vital for getting quality produce to market, especially for exports. Upgrades are thus good news for farmers

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Investment in road infrastructure, as with the Ashton Arch bridge in the Western Cape, is set to boost the growing agricultural sector in the Cape Winelands. This is predicted to improve the condition under which horticultural products are transported, as well as connectivity between agri-tourism areas in the region.

According to the Western Cape department of agriculture, this will also help create more jobs in this district. 

The agricultural value chain, which consists of agriculture and agri-processing combined, accounts for 16% of the value of goods and services produced in the Cape Winelands. 

“The agricultural sector is the second largest employer, accounting for 19% (51 689) of the labour force in the district, after wholesale and retail, which account for a significant share of 20% (54 279). Gross farm income in 2017 was R23,3 billion,” said agricultural MEC for the Western Cape, Dr Ivan Meyer.

road infrastructure investment welcomed
Dr Ivan Meyer, Western Cape minister of agriculture. Photo: Supplied/Food For Mzansi

Agricultural exports from the Cape Winelands show an increasing trend from 2005 to 2020. In the past ten years, export values have increased at an average growth rate of 10%.

In 2020, the seaports accounted for about 85% of the value of agricultural exports from the Cape Winelands. This was followed by 12% through inland and land borders and 3% from the airports.

“Road infrastructure is, therefore, a pivotal feeder to other modes of transport for agricultural exports from the Cape Winelands.”

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The choice of transport impacts the speed of delivery, efficiency and cost. The type of product being transported also determines these factors and this is why good infrastructure is vital to maintain a competitive sector, said Meyer.

“South Africa is known for its good-quality fruit internationally, thanks to our roads’ excellent quality. However, poor roads negatively affect the quality of products, especially fruit,” he added.

“Investment in road infrastructure enables agri-exports to continue to drive economic recovery in the Western Cape. That is precisely why the Western Cape Government is committed to providing world-class infrastructure that will enable the economy to keep on growing in this region.”

ALSO READ: FS farmers pay R6m. to fix government roads

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