The economic development approach of the Cacadu District Municipality, termed SEEDS (Socio-Economic and Enterprise Development Strategy) is structured around seven core strategies based both on a review of international trends in rural regeneration strategies as well as a reflection on the experience of the District Municipality and other institutions in promoting development in the region.
These seven strategies are briefly outlined below:
a) Increasing agricultural income
Agriculture remains the single most important economic driver in the district. The starting point for rural development is to find ways of increasing agricultural income. This is of course firstly a product of the drive of farmers individually and collectively. However, there are a number of ways in which farmers can be supported to increase the value of agricultural output. These include:
b) Investing in natural capital
There is an increasing recognition internationally and within South Africa that it is important to invest in protecting and restoring natural resources and ecosystems such as catchments, wetlands, rivers, forests and other natural areas to preserve bio-diversity, to ensure sustainable water supplies as well as to exploit the economic potential of such areas. The growth of tourism in the region is strongly associated with the exceptional and diverse natural assets. Key approaches to this include:
c) Broadening economic participation
Inequality and poverty are deeply entrenched with rural South Africa and represent a major constraint to development. However, the poor of the region also represent a major resource for economic progress. Broadening economic participation as part of a broader social development emphasis is thus a key pillar for rural regeneration. Key areas of action include:
d) Developing the skills base
The skills base of the region is a key driver of both economic progress and poverty reduction. The skills profile of the Cacadu District Municipality is very skewed. It is a region with a significant pool of highly skilled people. However, most people have limited skills and limited educational attainment. This is both a major constraint to development but also represents a significant area of opportunity given the wide range of good educational institutions in the region. The Cacadu District Municipality is committed to a concerted approach to improving the skills profile of the region. Key areas of action include:
e) Improving connectivity and utility infrastructure
Transport, water and energy infrastructure are major challenges in an arid low-density rural area such as CDM. The costs of such infrastructure are particularly high in such areas given distance and the area enjoys relatively low priority for infrastructure given its small population. It is therefore necessary to be innovative and focused in ensuring that sufficient infrastructure is in place to support development. Key areas here include:
f) Regenarating core towns
The core towns within a rural region play a critical role in the economy of the region as a whole. They are the economic and services hub that enable the rural economy to function. When towns decline, the rural hinterland tends to decline given the symbiotic relationship between them. The regeneration of core towns is thus a critical driver of rural economic development. Key areas of action include:
g) Building local and regional networks
Research globally suggests that the quantity and quality of networks within a region and between the region and relevant role-players outside the region - “social capital” – is a key factor influencing economic development. A key element of any strategy for rural regeneration is thus about finding ways to expand the networks and linkages between stakeholders in the region and connecting the region into relevant provincial, national and international processes. Areas of focus include:
The predominant sectors in terms of the District’s economy are agriculture and tourism, contributing approximately R690 million and R680 million respectively to the Gross Geographic Product of the District.
Agriculture, together with related post-harvest value adding / agro-processing, creates approximately 41% and 7% of formal employment opportunities respectively, while the tourism industry creates approximately 3% of formal employment. This translates into approximately 4,000 people employed in agro-processing industries.
Due to the diverse climate of the region, a wide array of agricultural commodities is produced. Very little arable land exists in the District and therefore agriculture mostly consists of extensive animal grazing.
Areas with irrigation water produces export quality fruit under irrigation. In the more arid, inland areas, the available agricultural water is mostly used for irrigating animal fodder.
From the most recent data available (2000), it is estimated that the total area of permanent cultivation under irrigation in the District comprises approximately 39,600ha, with temporary cultivation at about 60,000ha. Subsistence irrigation is taking place on about 3,800ha. The total amount of land under irrigation in the District thus equals just over 103,000ha, which is less than 1, 8% of the total land cover of the District.
Processing and value addition to agricultural commodities are mainly practiced in Port Elizabeth, where the buying power and market demand for value added products exists. Coega Industrial Development Zone (including the port of Ngqura) and to a lesser extent Port Elizabeth International Airport provides Cacadu District with international export avenues (however, the lack of direct international flight connections from Port Elizabeth International Airport restricts the export of highly perishable goods and high value commodities by air).
Many of the post-harvest livestock industries are operating under capacity, mainly due to declining stock levels and the increase in primary production of certain commodities are required to optimally utilize existing processing capacities and market demand.
A summary of the main agricultural industries (as well as related agricultural raw material emanating from industries) in the District are listed below:
Other industries with potential, which are in their infancy or not done to significant scale in the District are as follows:
LED District Support Team
The Eastern Cape Department of Economic Development and Environmental Affairs (DEDEA), the Department of Cooperate Governance and Traditional Affairs [DCGTA] (formerly Local Government and Traditional Affairs [DLGTA]), together with Municipalities in the Province, have since 2008 been leading an effort to consolidate an integrated, better-coordinated and more effective local economic development (LED) support system in the Province.
While started by the aforementioned institutional partners, the initiative has also involved the Eastern Cape Development Corporation (ECDC), the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Department of Social Development, as well as other public sector institutions. Towards the goal stated above, discussion among these institutional partners has, among other outcomes, conceived of a multi-layered LED planning and support system that will function at various levels of the public system.
The DST’s tasks mainly centre around planning facilitation and support, implementation support and communication/reporting, and may typically assume the following:
Partner institutions have in principle endorsed the above outlined scope of work.
Support to Agriculture
The District Municipality has entered into a two-year agreement with the DED (German Development Service), with effect from March 2009. The agreement assigns an LED adviser to assist the municipal efforts in supporting agricultural initiatives district-wide, mainly focusing on emerging farmers. The main objectives is the development of an agricultural mentoring strategy (by March 2010), identifying and supporting viable agricultural initiatives and liaison with key stakeholders in the agricultural sector in the district and neighboring districts (Amathole, Chris Hani and Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality).
The first steps in this regard will include:
One of the biggest challenges identified so far is to give the emerging farmers adequate support. Many of them do have basic or even advanced technical skills regarding agriculture as such but on the other hand they seem to have fundamental deficiencies in managing agricultural production as a business. Many commercial farmers and organizations, namely, National Woolgrowers Association, Chicory SA, Khula Sizwe Trust (ostriches), the South African Agri Academy (citrus, other agricultural products and marketing) are willing to support the emerging farmers but often those initiatives are not covering all the potentially suitable areas in the District.
Supporting tourism development
In support of tourism in the district, the Department of Economic Development provides support to local municipalities to promote tourism in their respective areas and generally works towards tourism destination development, management and marketing.
The Tourism Master Plan (TMP) of the Cacadu District Municipality was completed in 2009, mapping out the strategic direction for tourism growth and development in the area. The TMP is the culmination of the development or review of Responsible Tourism Sector Plans in each of the nine local municipalities located within the district.
One of the first steps in the development of the tourism industry in the district is the configuration of appropriate institutional arrangements. The TMP recommends the establishment of local tourism organisations (LTO) in each of the nine local municipalities. A LTO is a partnership between local government and the private sector that seeks to grow the tourism industry by increasing the number of tourists and in doing so increases the economic benefits of tourism to the region as a whole. To date LTOs have been established in Baviaans, Camdeboo, Blue Crane Route, Kou-kamma,Kouga,Sundays River Valley, Ikwezi and Makana Local Municipalities. LTOs in Ndlambe Local Municipality is in the process of being established.
The establishment of LTOs not only creates a platform for dialogue between the district and local municipalities and tourism stakeholders in each area, but also puts in place steering teams for the implementation of tourism-related programmes and projects in each local municipality.
AWARDS EARNED BY THE CACADU DISTRICT MUNICIPALITY:
Swiss Tourism Award
The well-established “7 Wonders of our World” campaign, launched in 2009, earned the municipality a Swiss Tourism Award in the category of Sport and Adventure Destination. The award recognizes international destinations and resorts that distinguish themselves for special naturalistic, cultural and artistic characteristics and for their strong tourism vocation, and is a testament to the strong and strategic marketing strategy nurtured by the district.
2011 Web Design Award
The tourism website of the Cacadu District Municipality, http://www.travelcacadu.co.za/, was awarded a Web Design Award in May 2011 after scoring more than 80% on Web Design’s judging criteria. The focus of Web Design is to award South African web designers for producing a great web design and websites are judged according to aesthetic appeal, navigation and user friendliness. The website design for Cacadu instils an easy-to-navigate layout that users will find helpful in the filtering through of information.
Rebrand 100 Global Awards 2011
The Cacadu District Municipality brand was named one of the world’s most effective in the seventh annual REBRAND 100® Global Awards in 2011. This prestigious accolade is the highest recognition for excellence in brand repositioning, and is the first and only global program of its kind. The rebranding of the Cacadu District Municipality, at the hands of Boomtown Strategic Brand Agency, encompassed creating a tourism and trade brand from a District Municipality, which should attract tourism, stimulate investment and promote the District as a destination rather than a government municipality. Over 32 industries and 34 countries are represented among the 2011 winners.
Director of Economic Development: Mr P Kate
Portfolio Councillor: Mr N O'Connel
Tourism and Creative Industries Councillor: Ms Y Vara