The Philippi farming area plays a key role in meeting Cape Town’s demand for food, but its future is uncertain as expanding urban development swallows more of this highly productive agricultural area, and as dumping and pockets of informal settlement damage the land.

The Philippi Horticultural Area

The Philippi Horticultural Area is a 3,600 hectare green belt that produces a significant proportion of the agricultural produce consumed in Cape Town. It has seen much debate and contestation over planning for its best use.

The difficult question facing the City of Cape Town is how to ensure best use for the land – maintaining (or, better still, increasing) the agricultural output, while containing the impact of uncontrolled urban creep. And, in the face of the massively expanding population of Cape Town and the growing need for housing, considering the possibility of using some of the land for housing.

There are no clearcut answers on this, particularly as researchers have noted that some farming practices are contributing to heavy metal contamination of the soil and of the aquifer and these risks need to be managed to contain their impact.

PEDI believes that the PHA has a much greater role to play in the City than simply as traditional agricultural land that provides farming jobs, or preserves the water supply, or even simply as a provider of food.

Rather, the PHA lies at the heart of a key value chain in the economic revitalisation of the wider Philippi area. Situated quite literally at the geographical centre of the City, the renewal of Philippi is critical to the City’s economic future, to the creation of jobs and skills, and to quality of life for the City’s poorest. PEDI is actively engaging a wide range of stakeholders – from NGOs to national, local and provincial government and the private sector – to shape an economic vision that can bring the area into the mainstream of the region’s economy.

Several research documents have been compiled over the years to better understand the area’s opportunities and value.