But climate change threatens to decimate the sector, which has prompted the provincial government and industry players to scramble for long-term solutions to ensure it remains sustainable.
Last week Western Cape agriculture MEC Ivan Meyer said the industry needs a long-term plan to keep it sustainable. This comes as the province continues to feel the effects of the recent drought.
“This is not merely a drought, it is a national climatic disaster,” he said.
The MEC was speaking at a discussion Agri Western Cape convened with financial institutions and agribusinesses.
The provincial agriculture department explained at the weekend that it wants to consider all possible options to ensure the sector adapts to climate change.
“For example, we are saying there are some areas in the region that should explore growing other drought-resistant crops,” said department spokesperson Daniel Johnson.
“The [MEC] is suggesting that we need a detailed study and research looking at how we can ensure the sector adapts to climate change. This will need to be discussed with all stakeholders,” Johnson said.
Jannie Strydom, CEO of Agri Western Cape, said the drought in certain parts of the province was now in its fifth year.