6 years ago

Eastern Cape Business 2017 edition

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The 2017 edition of Eastern Cape Business is the 10th issue of this highly successful publication that, since its launch in 2006, has established itself as the premier business and investment guide to the Eastern Cape Province. The Eastern Cape enjoys an abundance of natural and human resources, as well as established industrial infrastructure that drives the economy of the province. This includes three ports and two industrial development zones which are home to a wide range of manufacturers and exporters. The 2017 edition includes an in-depth look at the province’s two Industrial Development Zones, a focus on skills development and investment climate information from the Nelson Mandela Business Chamber and the Border-Kei Chamber of Business.

OVERVIEW Agriculture

OVERVIEW Agriculture Agriculture underpins several sectors of the economy of the Eastern Cape. The Eastern Cape is well located for the cultivation of crops and animal husbandry. The province encompasses all seven of South Africa’s biomes, which means that practically every kind of crop or animal or crop can be cultivated or raised on the province’s 169 580 square kilometres of land. These include the wool-producing merino sheep and the mohair-producing Angora goat which thrive in the dry interior and have been a vital part of the national economy since 1789 and 1838 respectively. The Eastern Cape has more livestock than any other South African province, and produces a quarter of the nation’s milk with producers tending to favour coastal areas such as the Eastern Cape. Deciduous fruit (Langkloof), citrus fruit (Addo/Kirkwood) and chicory (Alexandria) are important parts of the province’s agricultural mix, but a feature of recent years has been towards diversification. Land-usage patterns have changed. Parts of the Amathole and Sarah Baartman districts that used to be sheep or pineapple farms are now stocked with game and are geared towards the hunting and tourist markets. SECTOR INSIGHT Wool sales earned a total of R3.7-billion in 2015/16. • The business rescue of Magwa Tea Estate could be an investment opportunity. • Communal farmers have won a top wool award. There are about 70 000 people employed on commercial farms across the Eastern Cape, with a further 436 000 dependent on smaller farms, mostly in EASTERN CAPE BUSINESS 2017 32

OVERVIEW the east. Improving the agricultural yield of the eastern part of the province is vital for improving food security and lifting many thousands of people out of poverty. The recent national drought has put extra pressure on rural communities. Infrastructure plays an important role in the agricultural sector, and the repair of the road between Port Elizabeth and Addo has been welcomed by all the citrus farmers in the Addo/Kirkwood district. Big infrastructure projects have been undertaken in the eastern parts of the province by the Eastern Cape Rural Development Agency. Three training centres focus on agriculture in the province: Fort Cox College of Agriculture and Forestry, Mpofu Training Centre (teaching mostly smallstock management) and the Tsolo Agricultural and Rural Development Institute, which is developing ties with Walter Sisulu University. The Dohne Agricultural Research Institute, near Stutterheim, developed a new breed of sheep, the Dohne merino. The large Magwa Tea Estate went into business rescue in 2016. At its peak, Magwa produced about 2 700 tons of tea but more investment is now needed to make it (and its neighbouring estate Majola) a profitable business. Crops The Eastern Cape is South Africa’s second-largest producer of citrus fruit. Oranges make up the vast majority of citrus products (80%), but the province is also well-known for its clementine and satsuma tangerines, as well as navel oranges. Deciduous fruits such as apples, pears and apricots are grown primarily in the Langkloof Valley. Another crop in which the Eastern Cape leads national production is chicory. The roots are used for beverages such as instant coffee, the leaves go into pet food and stock feed and unopened leaf pods become chicory endives, a sought-after salad ingredient. The province produces between 18 000 and 20 000 tons of wet root every year, mostly near the coast at Alexandria and inland from Port Alfred. The entire crop is consumed in South Africa. The province’s pineapple crop, grown in the same part of the Sunshine Coast that produces chicory, is similarly largely for domestic consumption. Approximately 80 000 tons are produced every year and processed in East London. One of the fastest-growing sectors in agriculture is macadamia nuts. The ECRDA has partnered with a community to plant the popular nut at Ncera in the Tyume Valley north of Alice. The original planting of 150ha is being expanded by a further 30ha. The harvest of 49 tons in 2015 is expected to grow to 80 tons as the trees mature. Sheep and goats The long-term drought which has afflicted all regions in South Africa is having an effect on all sectors, but wool-producing sheep farmers and mohair-producing Angora goat producers perhaps less so, partly because they are so well adapted to dry conditions but also because farmers can reduce their flocks. 33 EASTERN CAPE BUSINESS 2017

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