Road infrastructure investment such as with the Ashton Arch Bridge in Ashton will boost the growing agricultural sector in the Cape Winelands, improving the condition under which the horticultural products are transported and the connectivity between Agri-tourism areas in the region.
This will help create more jobs in this district, according to Western Cape Minister of Agriculture, Ivan Meyer.
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 & Retail, which account for a significant share of 20% (54 279). Gross-farm income in 2017 was R23.3 billion.
“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%,” said Meyer.
He said that in 2020, the seaports accounted for about 85% of the value of agricultural exports from the Cape Winelands.
This, he adds, 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.
“Depending on the type of agricultural product exported, the choice of transport affects the speed of delivery, efficiency and costs. Therefore, good infrastructure is vital for the competitiveness of the sector.
“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 said.
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.”