R40 million investment to boost urban agriculture, food processing jobs in Philippi

18 June 2020

The City’s Mayoral Committee at its meeting yesterday, 17 June 2020, gave the Directorate for Spatial Planning and Environment the greenlight to sign agreements that will see R40 million invested in the Philippi Agri-hub Project. This recommendation will serve before Council for final approval at the end of the month.

The project is intended to revitalise small and medium-business urban farming, offer training, and increase job opportunities in Philippi, one of the suburbs with the lowest monthly household income in Cape Town.

‘This proposed investment comes at a time when increased nutritional support from fresh produce is a priority for the City and vital to the health and livelihood of local communities. The number of opportunities to be provided – be this in job creation, skills development and capacitation – will be determined in the coming months,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Spatial Planning and Environment, Alderman Marian Nieuwoudt.

Should Council approve this recommendation, the Directorate will sign two agreements – one with the Philippi Economic Development Initiative (PEDI), and another with the National Treasury to facilitate the transfer of the grant funding to the City for the Philippi Agri-hub Project.

The project falls within the Philippi Opportunity Area that has been identified by the City as a catalytic precinct for significant revitalisation and development. It aims to strengthen existing agri-value chains by tapping into the significant productive capacity of the Philippi Horticultural Area, and will also provide opportunities for improved market access by using the infrastructure at the City’s Philippi Fresh Produce Market.

Last year, the City’s Urban Catalytic Investment Department submitted a bid proposal to National Treasury for R40 million funding over a three-year period for the Philippi Agri-hub Project. This bid succeeded and should Council agree with the recommendation from the Mayoral Committee, the first funding will be received by the City as from 1 July 2020.

‘Philippi has significant potential for economic development given that it has a well-established industrial area. There are also opportunities in urban agriculture and agro-processing as it is in close proximity to the Philippi Horticultural Area. The greatest challenge though, is to unlock the growth and development opportunities – all of this require investment. Thus, the grant funding from the National Treasury will go a long way in assisting us with this endeavour,’ said Alderman Nieuwoudt.

The Philippi Economic Development Initiative (PEDI), a non-profit company, was established in 1998 to function as a local implementing partner of the City. PEDI currently operates the Philippi Fresh Produce Market complex from a City-owned property in Philippi.

The infrastructure and envisioned improvements at this site will be used for the processing and beneficiation of locally harvested produce; it will also offer small and medium enterprises and emerging farmers access to a subsided market, and has the potential of directing some of the processed produce for export via the Cape Town International Airport’s ‘air access initiative’.

‘The R40 million investment will be used to turn the Philippi Fresh Produce Market complex into an up-scaled agri-hub with small-scale agri-business opportunities. Besides expanding the existing fresh food-processing capacity, the environment will benefit from diverting refuse from landfill seeing that the hub will also include a food-to-waste organic fertiliser plant. We will keep track of this programme by monitoring the cubic metres of compost to be produced.

‘Skills development, training, and business development services form part of the project and the goals will be determined and monitored in partnership with PEDI. What we want to achieve here is the creation of job opportunities, the development of local small scale commercial farmers, and in the end, economic development that will be to the benefit of the broader Philippi community,’ said Alderman Nieuwoudt.

The Philippi Agri-hub Project consists of three components:

  • an expanded and upgraded agri-processing and packaging plant;
  • an expanded food-to-waste to organic compost manufacturing plant; and
  • an expanded small farmer training academy and business centre

PEDI will be the City’s implementing partner for this project, while the Urban Catalytic Investment Department will coordinate and manage the project as part of its overall catalytic programme for Philippi.

Should Council give the City the go-ahead, the City will enter into an agreement with PEDI setting out the project objectives, targets and obligations, financial and administrative procedures, compliance requirements, and performance reviews.

‘I trust that Council will also see the huge potential this project holds for Philippi and its local residents, farmers, and business community,’ said Alderman Nieuwoudt.


Published by:
City of Cape Town, Media Office