On 21 April, the United Nations commemorates Creativity and Innovation Day.
“It is time for us to reflect on creativity and innovation in the agriculture sector,” says Western Cape Minister of Agriculture, Dr Ivan Meyer.
The Western Cape province is an important agricultural production area for South Africa. It is known for its diverse range of crops, including winter cereals, fruits, vegetables, and wine and table grapes.
Acting Chief Director: Research and Technology Development Service Scientist Dr Chris Brouwer, however, highlights that the region faces various challenges, including water scarcity, climate change, and soil degradation, all fundamentally important for agriculture. In response, Innovation and technology are playing an increasingly important role in the agricultural sector in the Western Cape.
De Brouwer said: “From precision farming techniques to alternative crops and innovative water management practices, farmers are finding new ways to increase efficiency, reduce environmental impact, and improve profitability. These approaches involve using advanced technologies such as drones, sensors, and software to collect data on crops and soil conditions. This enables informed decision-making about planting, irrigation, fertiliser use, pest control and other aspects of crop management.
In addition to these technologies, farmers in the Western Cape also use the following software and data analysis tools to improve their operations.
- Fruitlook (www.fruitlook.co.za) is a web-based portal with near real-time information based on remote sensing data modelling spearheaded by the Department of Agriculture and currently widely used by our producers.
- Cape Farm Mapper (www.elsenburg.com) offers numerous layers of free information about many factors affecting production down to the farm level that can assist in detailed farm planning.
Meyer said: “Innovation is one of the values of the Western Cape Government. This key value is underpinned by collaboration between the department, academic institutions, organised agriculture and commodity organisations”.
“Ultimately, creativity and innovation must contribute to sustainable agriculture, a growing economy and more jobs”, said Meyer.
Spokesperson for Minister Ivan Meyer