Jobs and profits drying up on Western Cape grape farms

CAPE TOWN – Nico Greef, a grape farmer in Vvredendal, says he will make no profit this season. He has employed 30 fewer seasonal workers and, depending on railfall this winter, may have to retrench permanent staff.

Greef’s farm is one of the suppliers for Namaqua Wines.

“We will produce 400 tons less grapes that the usual 1,000 tons this season. All our grapes 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,” Greef said.

“We will make no profit this season.”

“One of my neighbouring farms lost their whole crop of table grapes. They didn’t pack one box.” “Another neighbouring farm lost about 70/5 of their table grapes,” he added.

Greef added that he had employed “around 30 fewer seasonal workers” this season.

He said that he had not laid off any permanent staff at the farm, “it might be a consideration, depending on how much rainfall we get this season.”

Jeane Boshoff of Agri Western Cape said that fewer producing hectares meant smaller yields and less food. Indications were that the provincial deciduous fruit harvest this summer would be 20% smaller.

“This means less seasonal workers will be employed, and for a shorter period of time,” said Boshoff.

Photo Credit- Daily Maverick

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