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"The grape industry’s sustainability is under threat"

"Amidst the backdrop of extensive media coverage that the current harvest has received, we deem it important to remind industry role-players that the timely marketing of quality grapes in preferred export markets at certain price levels determines the success of our industry. The industry’s sustainability is at risk, due to the combination of numerous factors at play within the broader environment." said a spokesperson of the South African Table Grape Industry.

"As the season draws to a close, we echo our producers’ sentiment and concern. The industry’s reliance on world-class infrastructure including dependable electricity supply, functioning and effective ports as well as good road infrastructure represent the building blocks of our logistical chain and are critical for our sustainability."

"The urgency of this matter cannot be overemphasised; hence SATI remains in constant contact with Transnet, through various forums, to ensure that the Cape Town port remains on the agenda. Waiting periods experienced this season simply cannot be repeated, as these have a direct impact on the quality of our grapes. Obtaining the necessary input from industry leaders, especially regarding logistics, remains a priority. International disruption of shipping remains a concern, however we have little control over the matter."

"The cost pressures our industry is experiencing are not unique to South Africa and have garnered the attention of international industry organisations such as SHAFFE. The Russia-Ukraine conflict is exacerbating an already inflationary environment, especially in terms of inputs such as fertilisers, chemicals and fuel. Labour rates, which form a significant part of the cost structure, continue to rise and are not sustainable. Large-scale investment to ensure that our vineyards are renewed and that we remain internationally competitive places further pressure on the industry."

"Competition in our traditional markets, specifically from South America, has led to larger volumes of grapes being available and therefore places downward pressure on market prices. Increased global inflation, specifically the high figures prevalent in Europe and America, exacerbate this economic situation and support what we already know – grape prices at certain levels are simply not sustainable."

"Recent Covid-19 related restrictions in China have highlighted the fact that this market is simply not conducive at certain times. Market development of new markets remains a strategic priority, however structural challenges exist which urgently need to be addressed."

"The above synopsis provides perspective into the challenges our industry faces, and although we have not touched on all aspects in depth, our objective is to provide a balanced viewpoint considering a large harvest in volume is not necessarily the measure of sustainability."

"I would like to conclude by assuring constituents that we are aware of challenges currently being faced and remain committed to protecting our producers' interests."

"SATI can influence some of the matters and challenges highlighted above more than others. We will continue to advance these issues whilst working actively with all role-players to raise the level of urgency in finding solutions and communicating the impact it has on our industry."

For more information:
AJ Griesel
South African Table Grape Industry
Tel: +27 21 863 0366 

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