Agri Western Cape welcomes MEC Ivan Meyer’s R1bn budget

Agriculture MEC Ivan Meyer. Picture: Brendan Magaar/African News Agency (ANA)

Agriculture MEC Ivan Meyer. Picture: Brendan Magaar/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Mar 31, 2024


Cape Town - Agri Western Cape has welcomed the R1 billion budget tabled by Agriculture MEC Ivan Meyer, saying it well prioritises available funds to address prevailing challenges in the sector.

Tabling the budget earlier this week, Meyer said despite compounding challenges such as intensified delays and inefficiencies at the ports, increased geopolitical uncertainty, and load shedding, agriculture and agri-processing exports had increased from R63bn in 2018 to R104bn in 2023, which is an annual average growth of 11%.

Meyer announced the following key budgetary allocations: R196.2 million to promote the sustainable use and management of natural resources; R40.3m for ecological infrastructure; R38.5m for river protection works; R38m for flood damage support; and R216.4m for producer support services.

The department’s extension and advisory services have been allocated R35.4m, and R16.7m will go towards food security initiatives; R57.8m to provide animal health services to prevent and control animal diseases; R97.8m to improve agricultural production through research, focusing on mitigation and adaptation options for farmers in response to climate change; R30.6m to provide production economics and marketing services to agribusinesses; and R48.2m towards education and training and agricultural skills development.

Jannie Strydom, CEO of Agri Western Cape, said they were encouraged by the provincial Department of Agriculture’s 2024-25 Appropriation Budget, as tabled by Meyer.

“Agri Western Cape is of the opinion that Minister Meyer has well prioritised the allocation of available funds to address the prevailing challenges in our sector,” said Strydom.

He said the budget was aligned with Meyer’s ministerial priorities.

“Agri Western Cape believes that the budget will enable Minister Meyer to achieve the clear and measurable goals he has set as his priorities.

“Meyer’s first priority, agricultural education, training and research, provides for R48.2m in the coming financial year,” said Strydom.

“Although the budget is less than in the current financial year, it must be taken into account that the third iteration of the Fly Over project was recently completed, as well as that nine research projects were financed by the Alternative Crops Fund. It seems clear that the department believes in helping the sector grow through scientific-based support.

“Furthermore, there was a remarkable increase in the number of schools that expanded their curriculum by including agricultural subjects.

“The sustainability of the Western Cape agricultural sector remains subject to the maintenance and availability of our natural resources. Agri Western Cape is therefore delighted to learn that the budget for the sustainable resource use and management programme has been increased by R61.4m, that is 46%, to R196.2m,” said Strydom.

Strydom said, given the extent of damage caused by last year’s floods, “it is gratifying to learn that the river protection works budget has been increased by R20m to R38.5m.”

Meyer said this budget would support the Western Cape government’s growth strategy, which sets an ambitious target of building a trillion-rand, job-rich, inclusive, sustainable, diverse and resilient provincial economy that is growing at between 4% and 6% per year in real terms by 2035.

“Agricultural producers, workers and businesses have demonstrated, season after season, that agriculture is worth investing in. We are determined to use this budget to invest further in the growth and development of the industry,” said Meyer.

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