Regional Resource Flow Model Project (2013-15)
  Dec 13, 2016     Library, Report

The Regional Resource Flow Model (RRFM) project aimed to provide a strategic analysis of the provincial economy and identify key intervention points for improvements in resource productivity. This project had two phases and was completed over a two year period (2013-15).

Phase 1

The first phase examined the provincial economy at a macro-economic level, providing economic and labour multipliers for sectors and an analysis of their carbon intensity. This work provided quantitative evidence that:

  • The agricultural sector has a high labour absorption, particularly in terms of low-skilled labour.

  • The agri-processing sectors are associated with some of the highest economic output multipliers, highlighting it as a key sector to promote economic growth. This finding is consistent with the outcome of the subsequent scoping phase for the Western Cape Government’s “Project Khulisa” – a programme to focus its efforts to create an enabling environment for economic growth and job creation.

  • Agriculture is as a major source of non-energy greenhouse gas emissions, with a strong link to the food, beverages and tobacco sector.

The above findings highlighted the food value chain as an area of focus, with the second phase of the project thus focussing on the primary stage of this value chain, namely the agricultural sector.

Phase 2

The second phase of the project analysed the carbon intensity of key agricultural sub-sectors and included a meta-analysis of existing data. Data sources included carbon footprints provided by Confronting Climate Change (CCC), a collaborative venture between fruit and wine industry associations and other stakeholders (including the Western Cape Government Department of Agriculture), as well as publically available provincial livestock and game greenhouse gas inventories. Furthermore, the feasibility of using water footprinting and life cycle assessments to examine the resource intensity and environmental impacts of key agricultural products was assessed, using wheat as a case study. The analysis covered close to 70% of the agricultural production in the Western Cape, based on value measured in terms of contribution to GDP.

Key outputs from the agricultural analysis include:

  • Western Cape carbon intensity estimates for wheat, wine and fruit, as well as partial carbon intensity estimates for livestock and game.

  • Carbon intensity benchmarks for wine and wheat in relation to international studies.

  • A life cycle assessment of potential environmental impacts related to wheat production.

  • Recommendations to improve the Department of Agriculture’s Commercial Enterprise Budgets (Combuds) to better inform such life cycle-based regional analyses.

  • Recommendations for interventions to improve the resource intensity and carbon footprints for the analysed agricultural value chains.

The executive summary provides a synthesis of the work done to date and the key results and insights. The detailed reports are available on request and include:

Social Accounting Matrix (SAM) Analysis:

A macro-economic analysis to prioritise sectors for economic development in the Western Cape considering output and GHG emissions multipliers.

Grain Sector Report:

Examining the resource intensity of wheat and other grains in the Western Cape, including representative life cycle assessments for wheat.

Wine Sector Report:

Analysis of greenhouse gas emissions of Western Cape wine grape production, including a comparative benchmarking analysis drawing on international studies.

Fruit Sector Report:

Analysis of the carbon footprint of fruit in the Western Cape, including pome fruit, stone fruit, citrus, table grapes and wine grapes.

Livestock and Game Sector Report:

Overview of the carbon and resource intensity of livestock, dairy, ostrich and game in the Western Cape.


To request the grain and livestock reports, please contact Cathy Pineo ( To request the SAM or fruit and wine reports, please contact Pieter Janse van Vuuren (


The successor to the Regional Resource Flow Model (RRFM) project is the Resource Productivity (RP) project, which was initiated in 2015. It builds on the key insights from the RRFM project and focusses on agri-processing. Further details are available here.