Close on the heels of being awarded with the 2018 Premier Service Excellence Award Gold in the category ‘Best Implemented Plan’, the SmartAgri plan of the Western Cape Department of Agriculture was recently awarded the Eco-logic 2019 Award Gold in the category ‘Climate Change’ at a prestigious event held in Cape Town.

Contributing towards sustainability

The Eco-Logic Awards, an initiative of The Enviropaedia, identify individuals, organisations and communities that positively contribute towards a sustainable world and encourages consumers to support the finalists by purchasing their products and services. The Annual Eco-Logic Awards was established in 2011 and draws entries from all over South Africa. These awards have since grown into South Africa’s most glamorously green eco-calendar event, receiving extensive TV, radio, print media and online coverage.

The adjudicators commented as follows at the winners’ announcement:

“SmartAgri (the Western Cape Climate Change Response Framework and Implementation Plan for the Agricultural Sector) is an outstanding example of how government has developed a plan and is implementing it for the benefit of all involved in the agricultural sector (including commercial and small holder farmers, agri-workers, agri-businesses, etc.). The SmartAgri plan is also an attempt to secure the food basket of the Western Cape and beyond (regional, global exports, etc.); and to ensure that the agricultural sector in the Western Cape is more resilient to climate change, thereby securing jobs and ensuring economic development.

“SmartAgri is furthermore highlighting how difficult and comprehensive certain challenges are, in this case climate change, and finding effective ways to become more resilient as a sector. These action plans are delivered in a palatable and user-friendly way, in which the roles and responsibilities of stakeholders are clearly defined. The main aim is for stakeholders to pick up the plan, read it, get excited by it and move towards climate change resilience in their own way and at their own pace with their own tailor-made implementation plans.”

Adhering to climate-smart principles

The SmartAgri plan was completed in 2016 after an intensive 20 month period where stakeholders involved in agriculture took part in co-writing the plan. The plan was a sterling example of “Better Together” with the WCDoA as lead department, with the assistance of the Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, and the African Climate and Development Institute (ACDI) appointed as climate change expert project leaders.

The WCDoA is currently implementing the plan on departmental level, as well as on local government level and within the sector. The SmartAgri plan is furthermore a sector plan that is being implemented and communicated in such a way that it became a household and sector-name after clear and impactful branding.

Commenting on the award Western Cape minister of agriculture, Dr Ivan Meyer said: “It is therefore evident that climate change is the new normal and the agricultural sector will have to adhere to climate-smart principles in order to be sustainable. Aided with the SmartAgri plan as a roadmap to resilience, agriculture in the Western Cape will prosper and jobs will increase and be secured in the future.” – Press release, Western Cape Government