From left to right: Michael Appolis (Department of Agriculture); Ettiene Weideman (HWUA); Agriculture MEC Ivan Meyer; Johan Kock (JVC Construction); Jacques Swanepoel (Casidra) and Professor Gerrit Basson (Stellenbosch University). Picture supplied
From left to right: Michael Appolis (Department of Agriculture); Ettiene Weideman (HWUA); Agriculture MEC Ivan Meyer; Johan Kock (JVC Construction); Jacques Swanepoel (Casidra) and Professor Gerrit Basson (Stellenbosch University). Picture supplied

Agriculture MEC hands over R78m river protection project

By Mwangi Githahu Time of article published Jun 2, 2021

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Cape Town - Agriculture MEC Ivan Meyer has handed over the newly opened Holsloot Weir near Rawsonville to the Holsloot Water User Association (HWUA) to operate.

The R78 million project was a collaboration of department officials, Stellenbosch University, Ingerop Consulting Engineers, JVC Construction and the Cape Agency for Sustainable Integrated Development in Rural Areas (Casidra).

The Holsloot Weir is a river protection intervention aimed at ensuring functioning ecosystems.

According to the department’s Cape Winelands district manager, Rudolph Röscher, the weir provides an agricultural and environmental solution to the ecological damage caused by several severe floods over the years.

“Individual farmers and landowners will actively implement alien infestation-clearing projects to restore the Holsloot River along the riparian zone of the project.”

HWUA chairperson Ettiene Weiderman said that, unlike in the past, they now have a measured river.

“We now know how much water goes where. We also have less movement of sediment in the river, which improves the flow of the water.

“The building of the weir is a great example of what a functioning government can do for its people.”

Meyer said: “The project is an outcome of the provincial government’s infrastructure-led growth strategy.

“The project also improves water security and job creation, while the maintenance management plan ensures the sustainability of the project.

“It will directly impact approximately 150 farming households and 4 000ha of mainly wine grapes under irrigation.”

The Holsloot Weir is a river-protection intervention aimed at ensuring functioning ecosystems. Picture supplied

The handover took place against the background of the latest Statistics SA’s agriculture survey covering 2019 showed that horticulture production, which is concentrated in the Western Cape and Limpopo, generated just over a quarter of the country’s agricultural sales.

The survey, which provides an overview of the most popular products and goods in the agriculture and related services industry according to sales data, showed fruit (including grapes) and vegetables accounted for 23% of all agricultural sales and 85% of horticulture sales.

Stats SA director general Risenga Maluleke said: “The agriculture survey, which covers the activities of commercial farms that are registered for VAT, provides a rich overview of the finances of the agriculture industry, including data on income, spending and employment.

“Almost half of total sales were generated from animals and animal products in 2019, with cattle accounting for 16%.

“Poultry is also an important source of income. Not only does the agriculture industry depend on the sale of live chickens, accounting for 5% of all sales, but it also generates income from chicken meat (10%) and eggs (4%).

“If you add these together, at R58.1 billion the value of sales related to chicken products is not that far from the R61.9bn recorded by the entire field crop sector.”

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