In a major boost for agricultural innovation and skills development, the Western Cape Government has strengthened its partnership with Stellenbosch University.
Yesterday (24 August 2015), Joyene Isaacs, Head of the Western Cape Department of Agriculture and Professor Eugene Cloete, Vice-Rector: Research and Innovation, Stellenbosch University, signed a
Memorandum of Agreement on behalf of the two institutions.
As part of the agreement, the Department of Agriculture will mentor post-graduate students, with staff acting as study leaders. In addition, students will be eligible for internships from the department and
access to its Young Professional Persons programme.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Alan Winde, Minister of Economic Opportunities, said the collaboration was aligned to the Western Cape’s growth strategy for the next five years, Project Khulisa.
“Project Khulisa has identified agri-processing as a key growth sector with the potential to add up to 100 000 jobs and generate R26 billion for the economy under a high-growth scenario. Key to this is the
development of skills and creating a new generation of agriculture employees and entrepreneurs. We will continue to work very closely with the University’s Food Science Department.
“Our goal is to create the right environment for the private sector so we are able to reach these targets. Stellenbosch University is also creating that enabling environment and we know we can only
remain competitive through skills innovation. This an excellent example of Better Together and through this collaborative approach, we are creating the platform for the people of this province to take our economy forward.”
Minister Winde added that the world focus was turning to Africa.
“With the challenges facing our planet, the agricultural sector in Africa is going to play a big role in creating solutions for the world. The research being conducted in this sector is building the brand of the Western Cape as a centre of innovation”.
Other focus areas will include animal and plant science, agricultural economics, agricultural engineering and Landcare.
Echoing Minister Winde's sentiments regarding the MOA, Prof Eugene Cloete said "many good things will come out of this partnership especially in terms of building capacity and exchanging expertise."
Cloete added that agriculture is extremely important for SU and that the institution wants to cement its relationship with the Department of Agriculture.
The memorandum of understanding has formalised the long-standing informal partnership between the two institutions.
This collaboration has included:
- Department specialists appointed by Stellenbosch University as study leaders for post-graduate students;
- Stellenbosch University staff worked on a new climate change response plan, SmartAgri, for the department;
- University students have access to the department’s research farms
PHOTO: In front, from left: Dr Ilse Trautmann, Chief Director: Research and Technology Development Services, Western Cape Department of Agriculture, Professor Eugene Cloete, Vice-Rector: Research and Innovation at the Stellenbosch University, Joyene Isaacs, Head of the Western Department of Agriculture, Professor Danie Brink, Acting Dean of the Faculty of AgriSciences at Stellenbosch University.
At back, from left: Bongiswa Matoti, Director: Agricultural Economics Services, Western Cape Department of Agriculture, Alan Winde, Minister of Economic Opportunities
For media queries, kindly contact:
Spokesperson: Alan Winde, Minister of Economic Opportunities
Western Cape Government
Tel: 021 483 3550
Cell: 060 970 4301