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The economic security of the Western Cape Agricultural Sector is something that cannot be taken for granted, but which must be nurtured and cultivated. In the extremely competitive global environment characterised by fast changing consumer preferences, the services of this Programme provide a buttress for this security.

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The institutional marketing infrastructure for the major commodities in commercial agriculture in South Africa in general, and the Western Cape in particular, is reasonably well developed. However, efficiency gains are still possible in the demand chains of most commodities and opportunities for niche and differentiated products need to be developed and exploited. In addition, resource poor farmers have difficulty assimilating their products into these chains and exploiting other opportunities. This division address these issues through research and advice.


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With the change of the nature of competitiveness from land labour and capital to information and knowledge, the root of global agricultural competitiveness is embodied in farming systems and farm management practices. This division research and analyse the relative competitiveness of local farming systems and management practices in relation to international best practice. Due emphasis is also placed on resource issues with prominence given to alternative and sustainable uses of scarce natural resources. The results of these actions are wrapped in advice packages and disseminated to the whole spectrum of clients.


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In order to monitor trends and to make good decisions at all levels of responsibility (both within and without of the Department) good and reliable “data” or statistics is necessary. It is unfortunate that for various reasons the consistency of the agricultural economics database currently needs to be addressed as spurious claims are often made regarding various important agricultural issues. It follows that it is necessary to develop a comprehensive agricultural economics database in order to monitor certain actual trends in the agricultural sector.


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Trends and data are not enough to ensure sound decisions, but it is needed to distil the truly crucial variables and to evaluate the impact of these on the agricultural economy of the Western Cape. As mathematical and/or computerised models are a representation of reality, reality can be “changed” under controlled conditions in order to evaluate the impact of a specific variable. However, models are only a representation and simplification of reality. It follows that various angles on the same problem need to be developed. The purpose of this division is to develop the necessary mathematical frameworks and to evaluate the impact of various local and international environmental and policy measures on the economy of the Province.