Today's Labour News

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farming thumb medium80 84GroundUp reports that Nico Greeff, a grape farmer in Vredendal who is also chairman of the Olifants River Table Grape Producers’ Association and a director of the SA Table Grape Board, says he will make no profit this season.  His farm is one of the suppliers for Namaqua Wines.  

He has employed 30 fewer seasonal workers and, depending on rainfall this winter, may have to retrench permanent staff.  “We will produce 400 tons less grapes than the usual 1,000 tons this season.  All our grape varieties are down by 40%, our currants are down 70%, and together with the reduction in raisins this means a total loss of R5 million for the farm,” said Greeff.  According to the Western Cape Department of Agriculture grape farms are one of the biggest sources of agricultural employment in the Vredendal/Clanwilliam area.  But, Citrusdal, which lies 130 kilometres up the Olifants River and is a centre of citrus farming in the Western Cape, will apparently not be as hard hit by the drought as Vredendal.  Indications are that the provincial deciduous fruit harvest this summer would be 20% smaller.  Bianca Capazorio of the Western Cape’s Ministry of Economic Opportunities said the department was working to connect farm workers at risk of losing their jobs with the Department of Social Development, “to ensure that they are able to access social assistance.”  Conservation agriculture, which involves diversifying crops and planting crops that use less water, such as berries, cherries and pomegranates, has apparently been implemented at farms across the province, enabling farmers to achieve far greater yields with lower water usage.

  • Read this report by Aidan Jones in full at GroundUp

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