WESTERN CAPE NEWS - Today, Thursday 25 February, Minister Meyer and I had the opportunity to visit the Groote Post wine farm in Darling where they, like many other wine farms in the region, they are in the midst of the harvest season.
This wine farm employs 60 to 80 people at any one time, and continues the labour intensive practice of hand harvesting grapes in order to protect jobs, and to preserve the quality of their fruit. Approximately 30% of their product is exported.
During our visit, we had the opportunity to discuss the impact of the ban on the sale of alcohol on the farm, as well as their agri-tourism offerings which include a restaurant and game drives which create even more jobs and add to the local economy.
Agriculture and tourism are two of the leading job creating sectors in the Western Cape and it is important that we support these industries so that they can grow and create more jobs.
Agriculture as a whole has been a shining light in our economy over the past year, producing bumper crops and exports. The entire wine industry, from farm to sales has however been heavily impacted by alcohol bans, which has threatened the livelihoods of thousands of people in the province.
This is why the Western Cape Government has worked hard to lobby for the safe, limited re-opening of alcohol sales and why we are pursuing targeted legislative changes to specifically address harmful drinking behaviours. It is also why we created the Wine Tourism Worker Support Stipend, to subsidize workers’ salaries in this hard hit sector.
I was heartened to see during our visit today that the owners and management of Groote Post are as committed to protecting jobs on their farm as we are to saving jobs in this industry.
Minister Meyer said: “Today, I saw the passion for agriculture from the owners and the workers at Groote Post. These are the people driving economic growth in the Western Cape. Agriculture is driving economic growth in the Western Cape.”
Despite being hard hit by alcohol bans, the Western Cape wine industry managed to grow the value of exports in 2020, reflecting the resilience of this sector.
In 2020, the wine industry in the Western Cape increased the value of exports by 7.7% to R9.1billion in 2020. The value of packaged wine grew by 8.3%, with bulk wine export values increasing by 5%. The volume of bulk wine exported also grew in 2020, by 3.7% to 181.5 million litres.
According to the Bureau for Food and Agricultural Policy baseline for 2020-2029 it is further estimated that d export volumes are expected to increase by an annual average of 2% over the course of the next decade.
Growing exports of our agricultural products is one of the ways that we are working to strengthen the economy in the Western Cape as part of our recovery efforts so it is heartening to see that there has been some growth in wine exports.
Update on the coronavirus and vaccine rollout by Premier Alan Winde
As of 13:00 today, 25 February, the Western Cape has 3 992 active Covid-19 infections with a total of 274 717 confirmed Covid-19 cases and 259 610 recoveries.
A total of 7 116 vaccines had been administered by 17:00 on 24 February.
The Western Cape has recorded 17 additional deaths, bringing the total number of COVID-19 related deaths in the province to 11 115. We send our condolences to their loved ones at this time.
Additional data is available on the Western Cape Covid-19 data dashboard which also features active cases per sub-district, active cases per 100 000 and 7-day moving averages. Access the data dashboard here.
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