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Agricultural associations and commodity organisations established a unity forum for the Western Cape organised agricultural sector in Paarl on Monday 23 March to bring about one voice for the collective interest of the broader agricultural sector in the province. The Western Cape Agriculture Forum, an inclusive, voluntary association of agricultural organisations and commodities active in the Western Cape, will seek to promote growth in the sector and aims to advocate consensus on national level regarding strategic issues within agriculture.
Mr Carl Opperman, CEO of Agri Western Cape, said the Western Cape Agriculture Forum will act as a united voice for the common interests of the agricultural sector in order to promote and grow a prosperous and sustainable Western Cape agricultural sector.
“The forum aims to advocate consensus positions to the national and provincial government, regional structures and bodies and the international community on matters of mutual concern to the agricultural sector in the Western Cape,” he said.
The agreement was signed by Agri Western Cape, AFASA (African Farmers Association of South Africa), NAFU (National African Farmers' Union), VinPro, SATI (South African Table Grape Industry), Hortgro, the Red Meat Producers Organisation in the Western Cape, the National Wool Growers Association, the Milk Producers Organisation, Dried Fruit Technical Services, the Canning Fruit Producers Association and the Kaapland Pork Meat Producers Association.
Mr Ismail Motala, Chairperson of AFASA Western Cape, says the initiative shows that stakeholders within agriculture in the Western Cape can work together to develop the agricultural economy of the province. “We are confident that all the members of the forum have a vision that will enhance the transformation of the agricultural economy in an inclusive manner,” Motala said.
Mr John Durr, chairman of the Western Cape Red Meat Producers Organisation and member of the Western Cape Agriculture Forum management committee, said agricultural commodities and associations have too much in common not to work together. “The newly established Western Cape Unity Forum will be of cardinal importance in the future, especially with regards to assisting emerging farmers,” Durr said.
According to VinPro’s Managing Director, Mr Rico Basson, the forum will assist to establish a unified perspective on a number of key aspects. “This will ensure a more sustainable and prosperous agricultural industry in the Western Cape,” he said. Basson was also elected on the management committee of the Western Cape Agriculture Forum.
Other members of the management committee are Mr Cornie Swart, President of Agri Western Cape, Mr Niel Joubert, Vice President of Agri Western Cape, Mr Ismail Motala and Mr Elton Jefthas from AFASA. A seat on the management committee will be reserved for a representative of agricultural business in the province.