New Project: Impact of legislation on the Western Cape agricultural sector

Blue North, working in conjunction with DNA Economics, have been contracted by the Western Cape Department of Agriculture (WC DoA) to assess the agricultural legislative environment in the Western Cape and how conducive this environment is to business.


The agricultural sector is one of the primary pillars of the Western Cape economy, and plays a hugely important role in the generation of economic growth and employment in the province, with strong multiplier effects across the various agricultural value chains. With its strong export-market orientation, the WC agricultural sector is not immune to the challenges facing the South African agricultural sector in general, but especially the vagaries of the export market. The objective of the project is to identify the specific legislation, regulations, policy and imposed standards implemented at both the national and provincial level that provide significant constraints to farmers, processes and exporters in getting agricultural produce to both local and international markets, and provide recommendations as to how this legislative environment can most effectively be adapted. With land reform, transformation and empowerment being such a pertinent issue within the sector, constraints to emerging and smallholder farmers will be a significant focus point.


The combined project team is comprised of Brent Cloete and Sifiso Mhlaba of DNA Economics, and David Farrell, Anél Blignaut and David Black of Blue North. While DNA Economics has great expertise in the economic policy analysis arena, Blue North brings to the table a very well-rounded knowledge-base of the Western Cape agricultural sector; export processes; a strong network with industry experts; and much experience in engaging with farmers in workshop settings across the country. This is a great team with more than sufficient skills and expertise to carry out the project at hand.


We have chosen to break the analysis down at the level of commodity groupings – chickens; dairy; red meat; field crops; viticulture/wine; fruit; vegetables; wild harvested; wildlife industry; and new/alternative industries – based on their contributions to gross agricultural income in the Western Cape (see Figure 1 below). The main focus of the analysis will be the engagement with relevant stakeholders (commercial and emerging farmers; exporters and industry experts) through a series of expert interviews and focus group workshops within each commodity grouping. Prior to engaging with these stakeholders, a comprehensive review of both grey and peer-reviewed literature has been undertaken across commodity groupings to identify key areas of concern, to ensure that we are well-equipped as we move into the next phase. Key cross-cutting issues, in addition to commodity-specific issues, that have so far been identified include land reform, transformation and empowerment; development support and market access for smallholder and emerging farmers; legal access to and management of natural resources; restrictive labour regulations; and the myriad of trade regulations, certifications and standards that need to be adhered to in order to access export markets.


Figure 1: The commodity groupings on which the study will focus, together with their percentage contributions to gross agricultural income in the Western Cape (Source: DoA Agriculture Census)

Figure 1: The commodity groupings on which the study will focus, together with their percentage contributions to gross agricultural income in the Western Cape (Source: DoA Agriculture Census)


For us at Blue North, this is a fantastic project through which there is the possibility to effect real change within the industry, strengthen relationships with the WC DoA and various other stakeholders, and benefit from exposure to DNA’s strong policy analysis background.


Watch this space – we’ll keep you updated on this exciting project’s progress!