Why this is important to Wisconsin businesses: The Western Cape province is well positioned to supply food to sub-Saharan Africa, whose population is rapidly growing.
South Africa's Western Cape province serves as an example of a strong agricultural region that will benefit from food processing technology. Almost all of Africa's food processing machinery is imported, presenting a strong opportunity for Wisconsin exports in that sector. In the Western Cape, agriculture is one of the most important sectors, and involves all the various activities that link the entire value chain from the farm/forest/fishery to the consumer. This includes inputs, production, processing, marketing and distribution of agricultural, forestry and fishing products.
The combined contribution of agriculture to the gross regional domestic product of the Western Cape is just under 5 percent, but these sectors are very important to the provincial economy and its export profile. The winter rainfall of the Boland and the year-round rainfall of the Southern Cape provide agricultural conditions that make the crop mix and production potential unique. As many as 11 commodities contribute significantly to agricultural production, with fruit, poultry/eggs, winter grains, viticulture and vegetables together comprising more than 75 percent of total output. The Western Cape and Cape Town have excellent transport and cold chain infrastructure, including road, rail, harbor, airports and processing facilities. The province also has a strong labor sector, including two universities that offer advanced programs in cereal science, fruit technology, plant biotechnology and viticulture.
Sub-Saharan Africa has a population of almost 1 billion people, and its regional economy is the second-fastest-growing in the world after Asia. This rapid annual growth of about 5 percent outpaces population growth and allows for more disposable income, creating increased middle class demand for a more diverse diet.