Blockchain improve government efficiency

Blockchain provides opportunities to improve government efficiency and develop the new economy

Premier of the Western Cape, Helen Zille and Minister of Economic Opportunities, Beverley Schäfer both gave key note addresses at the Blockchain Africa conference held in Cape Town today, focusing on the possibilities blockchain technology holds for the Western Cape.

Blockchain, the technology which underpins crypto currencies, creates a digital ledger which is stored in a shared network. The technology allows multiple users to access the information, but not to change it, so it provides a reliable and transparent record.

While still relatively new and largely untested, the technology has several applications in the government and the private sector that enhance the speed, efficiency and transparency of transactions.

Globally, blockchain is being used by governments to simplify the transfer of assets, thereby cutting down the cost and time involved in property transfers, car sales and other administrative processes. It could also centralise healthcare records, allowing doctors to access patients’ records and track educational outcomes throughout a child’s schooling career. Because the technology does not allow anyone to change the data, it also creates a system of trust, and has the potential to minimise corruption.

“The Western Cape Government is driving innovation and positioning the province as a global technology hub. Our focus is on developing the future economy and in order to do that, we need to embrace the Fourth Industrial Revolution and explore how technologies like blockchain can help us drive service delivery and economic growth.

Speaking at the event, Premier Helen Zille said: “We have to understand and incorporate the potential of blockchain to revolutionize our systems. New ideas require experimentation through private public partnership incubators or what we call ‘sandboxes’, to see how the regulatory environment can facilitate the development of a range of applications in a context of policy certainty. I look forward to seeing the Western Cape Government exploring these in years to come.”

Minister Schäfer and Premier Zille also met with several local and international players in the blockchain field on the side lines of the conference in order to discuss the various ways in which the technology is already being implemented.

In her speech, Minister Schäfer explored the potential of using blockchain technology and crypto currencies to help bank the unbanked and provide affordable, accessible financial products to the informal sector, traders and small businesses.

She also detailed how blockchain could be used to track agricultural products, thereby allowing retailers and even consumers to accurately track their food from farm to fork. International pilot projects have shown the potential of using this kind of technology to minimise the impact of food-borne diseases and outbreaks.

The technology could also be used in the tourism space in a range of applications from reducing ATM fraud to being able to easily track lost luggage.

More detail can be found in Minister Schäfer’s speech, which is attached.

Media Queries:

Bianca Capazorio
Spokesperson for the Ministry of Economic Opportunities
(Responsible for the Departments of Agriculture and Economic Development and Tourism)
Tel: 021 483 3550
Cell: 072 372 7044

Application for YPP bursary-scholarship is now OPEN

Application for the Young Professional and Pre-Young Professional Persons Programme Bursary-Scholarship is now OPEN.

Download the documents that outlines the procedure to follow and includes the relevant documentation used when applying for the Young Professional and Pre-Young Professional Persons Programme.



South Africa’s first floating solar PV installation unveiled in the Western Cape

Marlenique, a fruit farm and wedding venue just outside of Franschhoek has unveiled a state of the art, floating solar PV system.

The system has been installed by New South Energy on the farm’s dam, helping to generate clean energy, while also minimising evaporation from the farm’s dam and saving valuable agricultural land.

The system is the first commercially operated floating solar system on the continent, and at 60kWp, it is also the largest.

The first phase of the project, which also includes a land-based solar installation on the farm, will allow the farm to run 90% of its energy intensive cold storage, irrigation and wedding venue facilities off of the traditional electricity grid.

A second phase which will see the installation of battery packs, will remove them from the grid completely.

Speaking at a launch event on the farm on Friday, Minister Beverley Schäfer said: “This project has looked at some of the key issues sustainability issues we are facing in agriculture and the economy today- water and energy- and has attempted to find solutions. The system reduces the farm’s reliance on the electricity grid, and provides clean, affordable energy supply, while at the same time also reducing evaporation and saving water. The knock on effect is that the business will save money in the long run, and create a business that is not only environmentally sustainable, but financially sustainable as well.”

Boplaas 1743, which owns and operates the farm, is one of the oldest family owned businesses in the country. Financial director Carl van der Merwe said the installation would reduce their carbon footprint by half. With rising electricity prices, and uncertainty around Eskom, the family made the decision to invest in solar.

“Marlenique farm is the highest energy user in our portfolio. We are aiming to be 100% green through solar energy solutions across our entire portfolio in the near future.”

Minister Schäfer said: “As the Western Cape Government we have been urging businesses to take up solar PV as an alternative energy source. We’ve seen uptake grow from just 18MW in 2015 to 112 MW today, which reduces demand on the grid and helps to diversify our energy mix. We are pleased to see businesses like Marlenique responding to our call to invest in resilience in such an innovative way.”

CEO of New South Energy David Masureik commended Boplaas for being innovators in the agricultural sector and said: “I would also like to thank the government for their interest in solutions that will inevitably encourage the sector to thrive. Without the support and encouragement from national and local government for industry to become more sustainable and independent in terms of power solutions, our business would not exist. We are honoured to take part in positive change happening across the public and private sector.”

GreenCape, the Western Cape Government's partner in developing the green sector, has also just published a brief on the solar industry, highlighting the various financing and incentive options available to businesses who are considering solar PV as an option.

The brief can be found here:

Minister Schäfer said: “Investments into alternative energy can help to reduce shocks on our economy from events like energy and water shortages and help to protect our economy and valuable jobs.”


The floating solar PV system installed on a dam at Marlenique helps to prevent evaporation and saves land for agricultural use.

Media Queries:

Bianca Capazorio
Spokesperson for the Ministry of Economic Opportunities
(Responsible for the Departments of Agriculture and Economic Development and Tourism)
Tel: 021 483 3550
Cell: 072 372 7044

Agriculture embraces Fourth Industrial Revolution with cutting edge satellite technology

The Department of Agriculture in the Western Cape is at the forefront of using technology to enhance sustainable farming, and as part of its initiative to embrace the fourth industrial revolution, has introduced Sentinel-2 earth observation technology.

Sentinel-2 is an earth observation satellite mission developed by the European Space Agency as part of their Copernicus Programme to perform terrestrial observations in support of a wide range of services, including agriculture.

Sentinel-2 is groundbreaking in agriculture and with 10-20m spatial resolution and a five-day revisit frequency, it represents a considerable improvement on the old agricultural remote sensing products.

Sentinel-2 also provides free access to data.

The department has developed a Sentinel portal and remote sensing tools which will leverage the extraordinary wealth of agriculturally relevant satellite data in an integrated platform which hides the complexities from non-specialist users.

These tools provide rapid access to near real-time information on vegetation (veld) and crop conditions resulting in quicker information flow and better decision making and understanding. It also allows for rapid assessment of natural disaster impacts such as fire scar extents, drought, crop failure and pest and disease damage. It also allows for a better assessment of crop conditions and resource use and is therefore particularly useful in the study of the impact of climate change.

Previously the only option to access satellite imagery was to browse through catalogues of images, select suitable cloud-free images and then download and archive each image, with all its multispectral wave bands.  This process was both laborious and highly data-intensive, whilst the subsequent analytical workflows required specialist skills and expensive software.

Sentinel-2 also makes use of cloud based services, which streamlines workflow.

The Department is currently exploring some of these cloud-based services in their geographic information system (GIS) and their very popular online tool, CapeFarmMapper (CFM).

Research commissioned by the Department and conducted by the University of Stellenbosch Business School last year revealed that in order for the Western Cape to achieve an “agri-renaissance”, the fourth industrial revolution should be embraced, and affordable technology be made more widely available.

Minister of Economic Opportunities, Beverley Schafer said: “The Sentinel-2 portal is a free-access space where ground breaking satellite imaging technology can be accessed and used to develop agriculture, respond to disasters and study the impacts of climate change. By making these tools available, the Department is contributing towards sustainable farming and the development of a food-secure province through the intelligent use of technology.”

Media Queries:

Bianca Capazorio
Spokesperson for the Ministry of Economic Opportunities
(Responsible for the Departments of Agriculture and Economic Development and Tourism)
Tel: 021 483 3550
Cell: 072 372 7044

Veld assessment conducted to determine where drought relief is required

Drought support to farmers in the West Coast District, Matzikama and Cederberg will be intensified, while in Swartland, farmers do not require fodder support, the annual summer season veld assessment has revealed.

The first round of the bi-annual veld assessment was undertaken over a period of three days last week in the West Coast district and the Witzenberg municipality. The assessment is conducted to inspect veld conditions to determine where drought relief efforts should be directed and to streamline the disaster response at district offices.

During the assessments, the veld conditions in Swartland were deemed to be in a good state and farmers in the area will not require fodder support.

However, in the northern parts of the West Coast District, Matzikama and Cederberg, there had been a deterioration in conditions and fodder support will now be issued monthly, instead of every second month.

Minister of Economic Opportunities, Beverley Schäfer said: “The veld assessment, which we conduct in Summer and Winter each year helps us to determine the state of grazing available to farmers in the province and where best to direct support. Following the assessment, we will be providing additional support to certain areas. Farmers that I have met with who have received drought aid, have all indicated that the support has been instrumental in helping them to continue to farm through the tough drought periods.”

Several areas across the province are still experiencing drought conditions, and now receive monthly drought support in the form of vouchers for animal fodder.

The province has since 2017, issued R200 million in provincial and national disaster funding to support farmers in the province through the drought.

In February, the Department issued vouchers across the province to a total value of R17.6 million to over 1500 farmers.

This is divided as follows:

Central Karoo: fodder support to 610 farmers to the value of R8 554 512

Cape Winelands: fodder support to 62 farmers to the value of R440 215

West Coast:  fodder support to 424 farmers to the value of R4 412 909

Garden Route (Eden) fodder support to 422 farmers to the value of R4 202 281

During the assessment tour, it also emerged that communications and coordination between programmes has significantly improved since last year. Support from the national Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fishers (DAFF) and the Provincial Disaster Management Centre is also being received to improve communications at a national level.

The second round of the summer bi-annual veld assessment will take place in the Central Karoo, Eden and part of the Overberg District from the 5th to the 7th March.

Members of the veld assessment team inspect the state of plants and grasses on a farm in Bitterfontein.


Drought support vouchers have been supplied to help feed these sheep on a farm in Bitterfontein.

Media Enquiries:

Bianca Capazorio
Spokesperson for the Ministry of Economic Opportunities
(Responsible for the Departments of Agriculture and Economic Development and Tourism)
Tel: 021 483 3550
Cell: 072 372 7044

SOPA 2019

On Friday, 15 February, Premier Helen Zille delivered her final State of the Province Address at the Western Cape Provincial Parliament. Premier Helen Zille will come to the end of her second successful 5 year term as Premier of the Western Cape. According to the Constitution of South Africa "No person may hold office as Premier for more than two terms,.." 

The year 2019 also marks 10 years of good governance, and 10 years of working Better Together.


For a summary of the Western Cape Government’s key achievements over the past 10 years, please refer to the attached brochure.

72% of land reform projects supported by the Western Cape Department of Agriculture are successful.

Minister of Economic Opportunities, Beverley Schäfer today released the results of an independent evaluation done to determine the success of agricultural land reform projects in the province which receive support from the Department of Agriculture.

The study, which rated the projects on 39 indicators in environmental, socio-economic and economic categories found that 72% of projects were successful in the period between 2014 and 2019.

This represents a 10 percentage point improvement on results achieved in a study undertaken to determine the success of projects between 2009 and 2013.

Minister Schäfer said: “The department set themselves goal of achieving a 70% success rate for land reform, and we have more than achieved this. These results show that the Western Cape’s commodity approach to land reform is creating successful businesses and farmers.”

While the constitutional mandate for land reform rests with the national Department of Rural Development and Land Reform, the Western Cape provides support to land reform projects through a unique and highly effective commodity approach where the support of 11 commodity groupings representing farming from horticulture to livestock, is leveraged to provide funding, market access and technical support.

Through this programme, and coupled with the additional project implementation support provided by our agency Casidra, the province has been able to provide mentorship, training, market access contracts as well as access to grant funding, equipment and infrastructure.

The Western Cape is the only province to have conducted an independent evaluation of the projects it supports and the results from the latest study indicate that the support package offered to farmers is creating a real impact in terms of business growth and their quality of life.

“What we are seeing from these results is that support is critical to a land reform project’s success,” Minister Schäfer said.

In order to ensure that the two studies are comparable, the Department commissioned Kayamandi Development Services, who conducted the original study, to complete the follow up. Additionally, the farms chosen were compared using the same set of parameters.

The study evaluated 105 of the projects which receive support from the department and found that 16% of farms were classified as “highly successful” while 56% were classified as “succeeding”.

A further 24% were “challenged” and 4% of the total had failed.

This is an improvement on results in the previous study, where 14% of farms had failed, and just 11% had been found to be highly successful.

To further test the improvements, the researchers made a direct comparison between 19 farms which had been chosen in both the surveys.

Overall, they found that these 19 farms had improved from an average rating of 59% during the previous evaluation, to a current 65%. Of the 19, 14 showed improvements, while the remaining five remained in the same category and did not worsen.

The results of the survey indicate that farms scored lowest in the environmental dimension of the survey and highest in the economic viability portion.

The most successful farms scored an average of 86% for the economic viability indicators which included basic business practices such as having registered a company and a bank account and being tax registered.

Minister Schäfer said: “It is clear from this survey that the farms that are run as a business are the most successful. Farmers that are tax compliant, and keep sound financial and production records, are the most likely to succeed. Unfortunately, the environmental indicators, like the use of renewable energy and waste recycling seem to be among the lowest scoring indicators, which gives us an indication of where our support and extension services should be focusing going forward.”

The report also indicates that those farms, where farmers had invested some of their own funds into the business tended to fare better than those where farmers did not.

The report found that this ensures that beneficiaries are more committed to the project because they have something of their own to lose. Slightly more than one third (36%) of beneficiaries contributed none of their own capital to the farm’s financial kitty.

‘What we have seen from the challenged projects is that many are situated in the Central Karoo and Eden districts and many farm with livestock. These areas are still dealing with the impact of the drought and we believe this may have had some impact on their success. However, we have also seen that these farms have a smaller degree of financial and tax compliance, and report lower ratings of relations between beneficiaries,” Schäfer said.

“What we are most pleased to see is that many of the beneficiaries are reporting that they have a better quality of life. The number one objective of land reform is ensuring that people are able to access economic opportunities and improve their lives,” Schäfer said.

The research found:

  • A significant increase in the overall rating levels of satisfaction with life, with 47% indicating some improvements in overall satisfaction.
  • Nearly all beneficiaries anticipate high or very high future financial satisfaction will be brought about by the project farms
  • Beneficiaries rarely experience hunger, if ever and 37% have seen an increase in food security
  • 56% of beneficiaries saw their income increase.
  • 38% have seen an improvement in the standard of physical living environment.

Some comments from farmers receiving support from the department:

Byron Booysen is a hydroponic farmer, farming tomatoes and cocktail tomatoes who received infrastructure support from the department.

“I could approach government and I could discuss with them what my goals and needs were over the next five years and with the support we’ve gotten from them, we have reached some of those goals,” he said.

Justice Mxokezeli, a mixed farmer from Bredasdorp said the department’s help in buying livestock was a key point in the development of his business.

“I’m looking to become a big guy. I want to be competitive locally and internationally through exports,” he said of his future plans.

Achmat and Wadea Brinkhuis started their farm Chamomile in the Philippi horticultural area 12 years ago.

“When the department first came here, me and Wadea bought five chickens and now we’re up to 13 000,” he said.

Some background on the research and the farms:

In total, 105 farms were evaluated from across all six regions:

Of these 105, 12 had only just recently received support and were thus deemed too immature to rate.

17 of the original 105 had to be replaced for various reasons. Of the 17, nine refused to participate in the study.

On average, each farm has 10 beneficiaries each.

The gender distribution between beneficiaries is fairly even, with 48% female and 52% male.

More than half (52%) are between the ages of 36 and 49.

The majority (67%) had more than five years of farming experience at the start of the project while 16% had no farming experience.

About a quarter (23%) had a grade 10 or standard eight education, 8% had a diploma and 19% had a degree.

The average number of full-time employees per project is six.

Picture caption: Minister Schäfer inspects the chicken houses at the Chamomile farm with Achmat and Wadea Brinkhuis.

Media Queries:

Bianca Capazorio
Tel: 021 483 3550
Cell: 072 372 7044


Elsenburg Agricultural College Open Day

For more information - please contact Maritjie Cornelissen at 082 882 8713

What to do in a medical emergency

Whenever you’re in a situation that requires emergency medical attention, you should get to your nearest community health centre as quickly as possible. 

When arriving at a health centre, a health worker will assess you and assign a colour corresponding to how severe your condition is:

  • Green – A health worker will attend to you when they’re available. 
  • Yellow – A health worker will attend to you as soon as possible.
  • Orange – A health worker will attend to you urgently.
  • Red – A health worker will attend to you immediately.

By following this system, you’ll receive the right treatment at the right level of care, as it allows life-threatening injuries and conditions to be attended to first.

Always go to your local clinic first to have your required level of care and treatment determined by medical staff. Remember to take your ID with you if you can.

Appointment System

If you need follow-up care, the health worker will set up an appointment to ensure you receive the necessary treatment at the right level of care at your clinic.

To avoid long waiting times, always try to be on time for your appointment, and remember to bring your ID book or card.

Once at your clinic, your condition is assessed and treatment will be determined, which may require a referral. Be sure to always have your ID book or card with you when visiting the clinic.

For life-threatening emergencies where you can’t get to a community health centre on your own, you must call our ambulance services as soon as possible on 10177.

To be in an accident or suffer a medical emergency can be very traumatic. Trauma can be managed or reduced if you know how to manage the emergency.

It's important to know what to do when calling an ambulance and what to expect when you get to the hospital.

When to call an ambulance

An EMS ambulance operated by Western Cape Government Emergency Medical Services should only be called for medical emergencies such as:

  • heart attacks,
  • near drowning incidents, 
  • serious motor vehicle accidents, 
  • unconscious individuals, and
  • other such medical emergencies. 

Non-emergency calls account for up to 70% of calls received by Emergency Medical Services (EMS). These range from headaches to toothaches. These types of calls hamper service delivery and place strain on already limited resources.

How to call an ambulance

The number to dial include 10177.

Please have the patient details on hand when calling to ensure that the incident is referred to the correct emergency unit.

Information you should give when calling an ambulance

  • The current medical status of the patient. For example, are they breathing? Are their symptoms worsening? 
  • Any ongoing medical issues that you’re aware of, like breathing problems or heart issues? Are they taking any medication?
  • Any changes to the patient’s condition while you’re on the call.
  • Your exact location, with any landmarks that may help us find you faster.

An emergency medical resource is dispatched based on the information provided by the caller.

What to expect after you call an ambulance

In the event of a priority 1 (P1) medical emergency the ambulance will arrive within 15 minutes or less, 80% of the time. Non-life threatening priority 2 (P2) calls will need to wait longer due to pending P1 emergencies.


How the triage system works

The EMS triage system begins when you first contact an emergency call centre. 

The call agent will:

  • evaluate the emergency based on the information provided by the caller. This is why it’s very important to provide correct patient details including medical history if at all possible, and 
  • prioritise the severity of the emergency using several filtering protocols as well as input from emergency medical practitioners at the emergency call centre.

At this point the incident is given a triage colour code. 

It’s important to give details about the emergency to the call centre to make sure that the correct code is allocated to it.

Most calls are triaged green due to 70% of calls being non-emergency incidents. We need to ensure that response time isn't wasted on non-essential calls. EMS aims to arrive within 15 minutes of the initial call. 
Emergency numbers

Currently, there’s no single emergency number in South Africa for emergencies. It’s very important for you to have the correct contact details handy for a speedy response to your specific emergency.

Here's more information on who to call in an emergency.

State of the Nation Address (SONA) 2019

The State of the Nation Address (SONA) is an annual speech given by the President as the Head of State which focuses on the current socio-economic state of the nation.

This year, the State of the Nation Address will take place on Thursday, 7 February 2019. The theme for this year's event is “Following up on our commitments: Making Your Future Work Better”.

What is the State of the Nation Address?Parliament

The State of the Nation Address is divided into 3 parts:

  1. The public participation role in the ceremony when the Civil Guard of Honour welcomes the President and his guests. 
  2. The state ceremonial, which includes a 21-gun salute and the South African Air Force flypast.
  3. The official address by the President.

Members of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) will line the route that the President takes to Parliament.

The Military Guard of Honour will participate in the ceremony and the military band will play South Africa’s national anthem.

In a general election year, like 2019, 2 State of the Nation Addresses are delivered.

The State of the Nation Address is one of the rare occasions where the 3 arms of State, namely the Executive represented by the President, Deputy President and Ministers; the Judiciary, represented by the country’s Chief Justice and the Judge Presidents; and the Legislature, represented by the Members of Parliament gather in one place.

 The provincial and local spheres of government are also represented.

When is the State of the Nation Address happening?

  • The State of the Nation Address (or SONA) will be delivered to a joint sitting of the two Houses of Parliament (National Assembly and National Council of Provinces).
  • The State of the Nation Address will be broadcast live on DStv Channel 408, SABC TV, eNCA, SABC radio stations and Parliament’s YouTube Channel
  • The Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) will be hosting a number of live broadcast viewings of the State of the Nation Address on Thursday evening. You can view the live broadcasts here.

What happens during the State of the Nation Address? 

  • The President sets out government’s key policy objectives and deliverables for the year ahead.
  • It highlights the achievements and challenges experienced over the past year and maps the year ahead.
  • It covers wide-ranging political, economic and social matters and considers the general state of South Africa.
  • It deliberates on South Africa’s domestic affairs as well as its continental and international relations. 
  • The full address is recorded in the Minutes of Proceedings. 

Road closures

The following is the list of road closures that will affect traffic in and around the city.

What do South Africans want to hear at the State of the Nation address?

SmartAgri Newsletter Edition #3 2018/2019

The latest edition of the SmartAgri Newsletter is now available. In this edition, we bring you once again a basket of climate smart articles and we hope you enjoy the read.

Visit the SmartAgri page or Greenagri to view the latest edition.

Click Here to directly view the PDF

Isaac Ntoto of Mossel Bay wins the 2018 Prestige Agri Award

This year’s winner of the Prestige Agri Award is Isaac Ntoto, from Garden of Eden Berries in Brandwag, Mossel Bay.

The announcement was made at a gala event held at the Nederburg Wine Estate on Saturday night.

Ntoto oversees all the technical aspects of the farm, ranging from soil sampling to fertilisation and integrated pest management. In addition, he plays a role in new employee recruitment and induction.

After the announcement, Ntoto said: "I’m very grateful and happy about this award. I feel very privileged to live in this day and age and be part of a good story in SA. There’s still hope in SA and for agriculture. People in agriculture work hard to make our country great. To my fellow agri-workers: The work that you do is important. Thank you for putting your energy into producing food for people’s tables every day."

Owner of the farm, Gavin Lensley-Noakes said Ntoto won because he possessed “the three P’s. Passion, purpose and personality. Isaac loves working with berries, so the passion is there. He has a purpose- he knows where he wants to go, and he has drive. And personality because when you’re farming with berries, you’re farming with people and Isaac has a marvellous way with people. He is always smiling and encouraging his team, but he’s firm at the same time.”

As overall winner, he has won prizes in excess of R100 000 and a place on the Prestige Agri Worker Forum which meets with the Minister each quarter to discuss agri worker as well as sector related issues.

The competition, which has been sponsored by Shoprite since 2012, seeks to recognise the hard work and dedication of the province’s agricultural workforce.

New minister of Economic Opportunities, Beverley Schafer said: “Congratulations to Isaac Ntoto on his well-deserved win. I look forward to engaging with him and hearing his thoughts on issues which affect agri workers, in our quarterly engagements.”

“I am also very pleased that we saw an increased number of entries from young people in the competition this year. Developing opportunities for the youth is one of my priorities as Minister of Economic Opportunities, and agriculture, as one of the cornerstones of our economy, is key in helping us drive this.”

Outgoing Minister, Alan Winde said: “Over the years, this competition has shown us the calibre of the workforce we have in this sector. This year has been a particularly difficult one in agriculture, with the drought, avian influenza and the listeriosis outbreaks. But despite the uncertainty, the men and women who work in this sector still played their part in ensuring that seeds were sown, animals were fed, and crops were harvested.”

We would also like to thank Shoprite, who have been our partner in this competition since 2012. They play such an important role in the agricultural value chain in South Africa and it just makes sense that they’re the ones partnering with us to honour the people who work in it.”

A total of 1318 agricultural employees entered the competition this year from 16 regions across the province. Regional winners were chosen in Piket Bo Berg, Durbanville, Stellenbosch, Central Karoo, Berg River, Franschhoek, Breede River, Swartland, Overberg, Langeberg, the Garden Route, Olifantsrivier, Hex Valley, the Elgin, Grabouw, Vyeboom and Villiersdorp region and Witzenberg.

Media Enquiries: 

Bianca Capazorio
Spokesperson for the Ministry of Economic Opportunities
(Responsible for the Departments of Agriculture and Economic Development and Tourism)
Tel: 021 483 3550
Cell: 072 372 7044

Elsenburg winemaking students launch 2018 wines

Nine final year winemaking students at the Department of Agriculture’s Elsenburg College showcased the wines that they have made as part of their studies.

Students at the college are trained to make wines on a commercial scale in order to be industry ready when they graduate. At the end of their studies, they will hold a Bachelor of Agriculture degree and all nine have already found work opportunities for next year.

The students, guided by winemaker Lorraine Geldenhuys and assistant winemaker Solomon Monyamane,  work with several different varietals of wine throughout the year, and some of these are then bottled and labelled as Elsenburg wines.

Elsenburg celebrates its 120th anniversary this year, however winemaking was only introduced at the school in 1976. Since then, many of the Western Cape’s most decorated winemakers have passed through their doors.

Minister of Economic Opportunities, Alan Winde said “The students have made us proud and we wish them well as they go out into the industry and follow in the footsteps of the many winemakers who have studied at Elsenburg and continue to fly the flag for our province’s wines.”

In addition to the hands-on training they receive at the campus, students have also received practical experience on local wine farms, as well as support and mentorship from those in the industry. Today’s event was also held as a celebration of those who have partnered with the school and the students.

Minister Winde said: “These students are all very passionate about wine, but the industry has played a valuable role in honing their skills and ensuring that they are ready to go out into the commercial market when they graduate, and we are grateful for that. The wine industry in this province plays an important role in our economy, through job creation, exports and tourism, and by ensuring that our talented young winemakers are nurtured and developed, we are able to ensure that this industry and all of the value chain that it supports, will continue to grow and excel into the future.”

As part of their experience at the college, the class of 2018 also travelled to Portugal earlier this year, where they were able to learn about European, and specifically drought-resistant cultivars.

During the event, students introduced wines that they have worked on, as well as wines previously made at the school by pairing them with various foodstuffs including salmon, steak and chocolate brownies.

Student Roger Cloete, who introduced the fortified wine at the event, said it had been his job to add the brandy at the exact right moment in the process to ensure no further fermentation took place.

“I didn’t sleep for two and a half days. It was hectic,” he said.

Introducing the Pinotage, was student Phillip Deetlefs who said the uniquely South African wine was first made at Elsenburg in 1941. Winemaking is in his blood as the Deetlefs wine estate is one of the oldest family-owned businesses in the country.

While Elsenburg is in possession of a liquor license, the wines produced at the college are not currently for sale. They are however regularly served at official events, and used for marketing purposes and as gifts for visitors to the department.

Head of Department at the Department of Agriculture, Joyene Isaacs however said: “going forward we would like to look at different ways that we can make the wines commercially available. By next year’s wine launch, we would like to have a plan in place,” she said.


Front row (from left) Carla Schwellnuss, Minister Alan Winde, Lorraine Geldenhuys (Elsenburg winemaker), Albert Burger, Solomon Monyamane (assistant winemaker Elsenburg), Roger Cloete and Philip Deetelfs.

Second row: Candice Barnes, Nelia Wilken.

Back: Inge Burger, Mvuselelo Dalicuba


Media Enquiries:

Bianca Capazorio
Spokesperson for the Ministry of Economic Opportunities
(Responsible for the Departments of Agriculture and Economic Development and Tourism)
Tel: 021 483 3550
Cell: 072 372 7044

Minister Winde congratulates the Western Cape Winners of national Women’s Month awards

As Women’s Month draws to a close, two Western Cape businesses have received national recognition in separate awards ceremonies honouring women and women empowerment.

Western Cape pig farmer Leandre Mitchley walked away with the national award for the top small holder farming entrepreneur at the Female Entrepreneur Awards held in East London last week.

Leandre started her enterprise in 2011 with just two pigs on a rented small holding near Malmesbury, growing her business to 200 pigs, and branching out to include 20 sheep as well. However disease caused her to loose several of her pigs- a setback she is still trying to recover from.

Following her national award she said:  “I’m feeling very blessed and happy about my prize. I really need the prize money as I lost most of my pigs (due to diseases) from 2015 – 2017. I will use the money to replenish my stock. I have worked very hard and suffered tremendously and God blessed me with this prize.”

Minister of Economic Opportunities, Alan Winde said: “Leandre’s hard work and commitment to her business, even when times were tough were some of the attributes that made her a natural winner for the provincial prize. We are delighted that the national panel saw the same attributes, and we hope that this recognition and prize money will catapult her business to new heights.”

The Standard Bank Top Women Awards which were held in Gauteng last week recognised Green Cape as the top gender empowered company in the energy and utilities sector.

Women make up 57% of Green Cape’s 42 member team - a real achievement as the green economy, science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields are typically male dominated fields.

Minister Winde said: “This award recognises the hard work that Green Cape is doing to ensure that women take their place in the energy sector. By ensuring that women are active participants in this sector, Green Cape is leading the way in helping other women enter these traditionally male-dominated fields.”

Western Cape farmer Leandre Mitchley won the national Female Entrepreneur Award in the small holder farming category at an event in East London.

Media Enquiries:

Bianca Capazorio
Spokesperson for the Ministry of Economic Opportunities
Tel: 021 483 3550
Cell: 072 372 7044


Top Western Cape women in agriculture honoured.

The Western Cape Department of Agriculture held its prize ceremony for the Female Entrepreneur Awards in Stellenbosch last night, honouring the many hard-working women in the sector and the role they play in food security and growing the economy.

The competition is a joint effort between the National Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) and the provincial Department of Agriculture. It seeks to reward the efforts and contribution of women in job creation, economic growth and poverty alleviation.

Provincial winners are entered into the national competition.

Minister of Economic Opportunities, Alan Winde said: “This competition serves to recognise the work women are doing in Agriculture, which is such a male dominated space. It honours the role they play in food security, job creation and bringing foreign exchange into our economy. But more than that, each year as we go through the entries, we as a department are able to identify where the women are, see what they’re doing, and find ways to help nurture them, and help their business grow.”

The winners were:

Top entrepreneur: processing  |  Jeanne Groenewald, Elgin Free Range Chicken
Started 22 years ago with a few backyard chickens, the Elgin free range company now supplies major retailers and employs over 600 people.
Jeanne Groenewald says she hopes to develop and grow her company’s national footprint going forward.

Top Entrepreneur: Subsistence Farming  |  Magdalene Campbell, Beacon Organic Garden, Mitchell’s Plain
Situated on the school grounds of the Beacon School for Learners with Special Educational Needs, this garden provides skills training, as well as food for the school, the team’s own consumption and the surplus is sold to raise funds.
The garden uses organic farming practices and produces many different kinds of fresh vegetables and herbs.

Top Entrepreneur: Small Holder Farming  |  Leandre Mitchley, LS Pig Farming
Leandre Mitchley started out with just two pigs, but has grown this to 200- although the road has not been without struggle as she lost about 90 pigs along the way.
Her dream is to turn her business into a commercial facility and to open her own butchery.

Best Female Worker  |  Marta Klein, Baakensrug Farm
Marta Klein grew up on the farm and has lived there her whole life. She was given the opportunity to train as a butcher and has excelled in her craft. She has a Code 10 drivers’ license and has many different roles and responsibilities on the farm and is even the unofficial nurse, having helped deliver two babies.

Ministerial Award: Youth Entrepreneur  |  Liebre Jacobs Fruitlips
Liebre Jacobs was the runner up in the processing category and was chosen for the special ministerial award for young entrepreneurs.
Her Picketberg-based business buys third grade fruit and turns it into jams, sauces and chutneys. The business employs 17 permanent staff members, with about 50% of these being youth.

Minister Winde said: “We congratulate these women for their hard work and commitment to their enterprises, but also for the important roles they play in their communities. 300 000 people earn a living in our region because of agriculture, and when we look at our country’s struggle with youth unemployment, this is the sector that can help solve it. There are huge opportunities for young people, and especially young women in this sector and we hope that awards like these that put a spotlight on the various roles women can play in agriculture, will help attract more women to consider careers in the sector.”

The provincial winners will compete in the national awards which will be hosted by DAFF in East London on August 27.

Minister Winde with the Western Cape FEA winners. From left: : Leandre Mitchley, Marta Klein, Minister, Magdalene Campbell, Liebre Jacobs and Jeanne Groenewald.
Picture credit: Gizelle Van Wyk

Media Enquiries:

Bianca Capazorio
Spokesperson for the Ministry of Economic Opportunities
(Responsible for the Departments of Agriculture and Economic Development and Tourism)
Tel: 021 483 3550
Cell: 072 372 7044

AEASA Conference

The 56th annual conference of AEASA is scheduled for 25 to 27 September 2018 at the Lord Charles hotel, Somerset-West. AEASA is a professional organisation of agricultural and related economists in South Africa, established in 1961. One of the key objectives of AEASA is to promote the application of the scientific principles of Agricultural Economics in order to solve agricultural, agribusiness, rural and relevant national problems in Southern Africa.

The proposed theme for the event is “Practicing Agricultural Economics in an uncertain neighbourhood”. The Simon Brand Memorial Address will be delivered by Dr Karen Brooks, Director of the CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Institutions, and Markets at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Washington DC. Furthermore, various prominent local role players in agriculture will partake in panel discussions on the role and contributions of Agricultural Economists in, amongst other, growth and investment in the agricultural sector, agribusinesses, the wine and horticultural industries, policy making and government.

The conference website can be visited at for a draft programme, as well as online registration and paper submissions.

For further enquiries kindly contact the Conference Secretariat at


The latest AgriProbe is now available
DISASTER Survey Forms-Updated

If you have been affected by disaster - please do the following:

  1. Receive the form by mail or hard copy from your Department of Agriculture office or download a copy here: English  |  Afrikaans.
  2. Read the survey carefully and complete the form in detail.
  3. Return the form to the Department of Agriculture office within two weeks.

An official will contact you as soon as all forms for a specific disaster have been completed and you will be instructed as to the way forward.

Contact person:  Ms Jody Wentzel  |  Tel. 021 808 5368  |  Email:

Documents can also be downloaded here:  Disaster Risk Management


Want to study Agriculture?

Time is running out to apply to study at Elsenburg Agricultural Training Institute in 2019, so hurry!

Closing date for applications: 30 June 2018. Visit Elsenburg College for more information on available courses and to download application forms.

Jump-start your career in agriculture. Apply now!

2018 Western Cape Prestige Agri Awards

Application for the Western Cape Prestige Agri Awards competition is now open

2018 Prestige Agri Awards officially launched

Minister of Economic Opportunities, Alan Winde has officially opened the 2018 Prestige Agri Awards.

This year marks the seventh year that the Department of Agriculture has partnered with supermarket giant Shoprite to sponsor the awards.

The competition aims to celebrate excellence among those working in the Provence’s agricultural industry, across 11 categories and in 16 districts.

The awards were originally started in 2002 by the Hex River Valley Association. Since then, over 10 000 people have participated.

Speaking at the launch of the awards, Minister Winde paid tribute to those who worked hard to ensure that the province’s agricultural industry continued to be one of the biggest economic and job creation sectors in the province.

“The awards are recognition for people who put so much of their energy into ensuring that there is food security, that there is foreign exchange coming into the country from exports, and that they can provide for their families,” he said.

Dr Johan van Deventer, General Manager at Freshmark, Shoprite's fruit and vegetable procurement and distribution arm, said that they have been a proud sponsor of the competition for the past seven years.

"Agri workers are the reason we are able to sell fresh, quality produce in our supermarkets on a daily basis and the Agri-Worker of the Year Awards are a great way to acknowledge and reward their hard work,"  he said.

An independent study into the impact of the awards conducted in 2015 found that the awards inspired pride in agricultural workers, encouraged them to learn new skills and created positive perceptions around agricultural work.

Last year’s winner - Hermanus Bienas from Vredendal - said he had been learning since being awarded the top prize last year.

He travelled to Germany as part of his prize, where he was exposed to agricultural and supermarket fresh produce practices in that country.

Winners of the regional awards will receive a cash prize, a certificate and trophy, and Shoprite vouchers. They will also go on to compete at the provincial awards to be held in November, where the overall Agri-worker of the year will be selected.

The overall winner walks away with a R25 000 cash prize, an overseas trip valued at R60 000, an IPad, Shoprite vouchers, data and a place on the prestige Agri- worker board which meets with Minister Winde each quarter to discuss issues in the sector.


Minister of Economic Opportunities, with Freshmark’s national buyer Chris Schutte.
Photograph: Gizelle van Wyk.



Media Enquiries:

Bianca Capazorio

Spokesperson for the Ministry of Economic Opportunities

Tel: 021 483 3550

Cell: 072 372 7044


Fourth Industrial Revolution Launch

The 4IR creates an opportunity for the agricultural sector to evolve into an ‘Agri Renaissance’ desired end state, wherein role players embrace technology through the adoption of, amongst others, farm-management software, precision agriculture, predictive data analytics 
and genetics. This enables producers to monitor crop health, the weather and soil quality by using robotics and drones.

All documents can be downloaded here.





Western Cape Department of Agriculture using innovative ways to communicate drought information

The Department of Agriculture has developed a series of new and innovative ways to communicate with the public about the drought and climate change.

The first of these is the department’s Drought Portal, a designated site where up to date information regarding the drought can be easily accessed. Farmers will also be able get up to date dam levels, complete a disaster survey and access a handy “drought toolkit”. This can be accessed by visiting

The department has also launched Gooi Agri,which allows users to upload short videos of their own smart-agriculture practices and techniques. Each month will be themed and the first theme is “drought and water”. While each theme will run for one month, the first theme will run until the end of May, because of the importance of water and the impact of the drought.

All videos can be uploaded online at or video clips can be sent via whatsapp to 062 044 9061. The best video clips will be featured on the website and shared via various media platforms. 

In addition, the department is producing a weekly radio programme called Die Kwik Styg on RSG.

The show, launched earlier this month, is presented by seasoned broadcaster Lizma Van Zyl.  The weekly programme focuses on climate change and includes internationally renowned experts as guest speakers. It is broadcast on Fridays at 12.45. Previous episodes are available on the RSG website for download.

Minister of Economic Opportunities, Alan Winde said “the drought and climate change impact us all, and the agricultural sector have been hit hard. However, these recent initiatives show that the department is looking at innovative ways to keep farmers and farming communities informed with up to date and accurate information that will help them make the best possible decisions going forward.”

Media enquiries:

Bianca Capazorio
Spokesperson for the Ministry of Economic Opportunities
021 483 3550
072 372 7044


Philippi Horticultural Area Plan (PHA)

The PHA is defined as “unique Agricultural Land” in terms of the National Policy on the Protection of High Potential and Unique Agricultural Land (2006), that is:  land that is or can be used for producing specific high value crops.

Documents can be downloaded here.