Establishing and managing a farm can be an exciting but challenging endeavour – even more so if you are a new entrant planting vines as a 25-plus year investment or are caught off guard by Covid-19. Vinpro, other wine industry organisations and the Western Cape Department of Agriculture are therefore working closely together to support and grow the industry inclusively.
A decade of support
“The wine industry and the Western Cape government have been working closely together for more than a decade to obtain development funding for new entrants from the South African government,” says Phil Bowes, Vinpro enterprise development manager and chairman of the selection committee that allocates this funding.
During this time, more than 50 new entrants received almost R100 million in support in the form of infrastructure, access to movable assets and other capital needs. The SA Wine Industry Transformation Unit (SAWITU) – which receives a portion of the industry’s statutory levies and looks after the interests of black entrants to the wine industry – has provided further assistance to these producers since 2019.
“SAWITU also recently signed a 10-year contract with the Department of Agriculture Land Reform and Rural Development, which has already led to the approval of more than R4 million in support, with recognition to Vinpro’s practical strategy and action plans,” says Phil.
Advice and expertise
All wine grape producers who receive funding form part of the Comprehensive Agricultural Support Programme (CASP) and must strictly adhere to the guidelines and regulations of the AgriBEE Charter, the Conservation of Agricultural Resources Act and the National Environmental Management Act.
“The wine industry and government are therefore joining forces and supporting these producers through access to advice, expertise and information on, among other things, sustainable resource management, vineyard selection, cultivar selection, soil science, capital acquisition and route to the market,” says Phil.
SAWITU also concluded a service level agreement with Vinpro in 2019 whereby Vinpro’s soil scientists, viticulturists and agricultural economists share their expertise with emerging producers through subsidised farm consultations and regular workshops on best soil and vineyard practices and how to identify business management risks.
“We continuously monitor and evaluate the interactions and progress through the Vinpro Group’s WineMS information management system and believe that the inputs from our team, as well as from other industry experts are having a positive impact on these businesses,” says Phil.
Although there is still much to be achieved, the wine industry is involved, motivated and focused on transformation. “We want to see new entrants to the wine industry succeed and continue to grow sustainably,” says Phil.
BEE support for existing wine businesses
In addition to coordinating financial and technical support to emerging wine grape producers, Vinpro’s enterprise development division also provides guidance to other wine-related businesses regarding their black economic empowerment (BEE) activities.
“After evaluating and assessing the needs of an established business, we develop a practical strategy and action plans together that will help your business comply with basic BEE requirements. We also help businesses to implement their scorecards and actions optimally,” says Phil.
Furthermore, Vinpro evaluates and assists with the establishment and long-term sustainability of new land reform projects and helps obtain funding for new and existing empowerment projects. The organisation also commits to healthy, safe and prosperous wine industry communities through involvement in ethical trade, training and research initiatives and funding.
For more information contact:
Tel: 021 276 0429