The Western Cape Department of Agriculture (WCDoA) and Potatoes SA have embarked on a strategic partnership by signing a three-year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to strengthen the potato industry, stimulate economic growth, and create new job opportunities, according to a news release by the South African Government News Agency.
As South Africa’s most widely consumed staple food, potatoes are essential in preparing various meals, with the sector currently providing employment for an estimated 55,000 individuals. Potato production is concentrated in the country’s leading regions, such as Limpopo, Free State, Western Cape, Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal, and Eastern Cape.
Western Cape Agriculture MEC, Dr. Ivan Meyer, emphasized the importance of the WCDoA Commodity Approach in the collaboration between the department and the potato sector. Meyer stated, “The WCDoA’s commodity approach is a strategy for farmer support across agricultural value chains. This partnership with commodity organizations, such as Potato SA, strengthens the help rendered to land reform farmers. Successful land reform happens when farmers can access natural resources, skills, mentorship, technology, and markets, and make money.”
The MOU aims to build capacity, facilitate market access, and offer skills development programs that will provide mentorship to land reform beneficiaries within the potato sector, according to Dr. Mogale Sebopetsa, Head of the WCDoA.
Potato SA CEO Willie Jacobs applauded the MOU signing and the commitments made, describing it as a significant advancement for the industry. Jacobs highlighted the potato industry’s substantial contribution to South Africa’s fresh produce turnover, saying, “The potato industry is estimated to contribute at least R6.6 billion to South Africa’s economy and contributes 30% – 50% of the fresh produce turnover in the country.”
Source: South African Government News Agency