Cape Town to host International Agribusiness Conference

Cape Town
Cape Town

THE World Forum of the International Food and Agribusiness Management Association (IFAMA) will see 450 delegates spend four days at the Cape Town International Convention Centre in June 2014.

IFAMA is an international management organisation that brings together current and future business, academic and government leaders to improve the strategic focus, transparency sustainability and responsiveness of the global food and agribusiness system.

The Agricultural Business Chamber (Agbiz), a voluntary association of agribusinesses operating in South and Southern Africa, will assist as the facilitator and secretariat to the local organising committee. Agbiz spokesman Lindie Stroebel said the agribusiness and food industry in South Africa would benefit from the exposure to the international food and agribusiness environment. “Africa and African opportunities have recently become the focus of the world at large, and should be showcased to gain the credit it deserves.”

Agriculture is one of the primary pillars of the Western Cape economy.  Although the province contributes some 14 per cent to the country’s Gross Domestic Product, it generates almost 23 per cent of the total value added by the agricultural sector in South Africa, said Judy Lain, marketing manager at Wesgro.  “ The Western Cape produces between 55 per cent and 60 per cent of South Africa’s agricultural exports, which is valued at more than R7 billion per year and makes up for 20 per cent of South Africa’s total agricultural production. The Western Cape has a diverse production capacity with 11 commodities contributing significantly to agricultural production.  Notably, crop production including fruit, poultry and eggs, winter grains, such as barley, wheat and hops, viticulture and vegetables together contribute more than 75 per cent of the total output.  Consequently, the diversity of the agricultural enterprises also contributes to the sector’s general stability.”

According to Adriaan Fourie, co-ordinator from the Cape Town & Western Cape Convention Bureau.   “Cape Town has become the preferred destination for a wide variety of upcoming international agricultural and veterinary conferences.  The surrounding Western Cape agricultural and business communities, together with excellent infrastructure and global appeal are key factors in our quest to establish Cape Town as the venue of choice for this sector.”

Although the Western Cape produces a variety of produce and agricultural related commodities, the key export products currently include wine, wool, ostrich related products and fruit.  The products are high in quality and competitively priced, resulting in good value for money in a number of international markets.

“What makes IFAMA even more of a win for the province is that it will be held out of season, meaning that it will fill empty hotel beds and bring foreign visitors to our restaurants, shops and tourist attractions,” said Cheryl Mulder-Verbruggen, head of the Cape Town and Western Cape Convention Bureau.

The conference will be hosted by combination of private sector, government and academic representatives in the South African and African agribusiness spheres.