The Western Cape food, beverages and tobacco sector has shown an immense growth and job creation capabilities between 2009 and 2019. This, according to agriculture minister Dr Ivan Meyer, proves that the agri-processing sector is a strategic priority within the province.
Over the ten-year period, the sector more than doubled its gross value added (GVA) in food processing from R9.2 billion to R23.7 billion, which is an average annual increase of 4.3%. This in itself is higher than the headline inflation rate in the Western Cape.
GVA in beverage and tobacco production grew from R5.2 billion to R9.8 billion in the past decade.
“As the sector has been growing, it has also contributed significantly to job creation in the province,” says Meyer.
“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.”
Seasonally adjusted employment
The industry has managed to mitigate some of these losses by creating 17 000 jobs in 2020 alone. 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.
“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,” says Meyer.
According to the minister, this initiative will expose rural communities to agri-processing opportunities, which will lead to the creation of jobs and enhance food security.