Harvest and cellar processes deemed “essential” to prevent wastage of primary agricultural goods

by | Mar 27, 2020 | Covid-19

As the outcome of dedicated advocacy (Vinpro and SALBA, with the assistance of key stakeholders like AgBiz, Agri-SA and Agri Western Cape), the attached Government Gazette was published on Thursday evening, 26 March 2020.

The key section is that

p.5 (6) (a) (e) has added the following to the list of essential services

“harvesting and storage activities essential to prevent the wastage of primary agricultural goods.”

“Our interpretation of this amendment is that the wine industry would be allowed to complete the harvest and also the necessary cellar processes to ensure that the crop is not ‘wasted’. Agri-workers that are required to harvest grapes and/or to operate as cellar workers, will be considered essential workers, during the lockdown period,” says Christo Conradie, manager of wine cellars at Vinpro.

“We’re truly very grateful for this outcome and it give us the necessary peace of mind on day one of #lockdown, on a Friday right before the weekend. It will allow agri-workers to work optimally and bring in the last of the harvest.”

He continues: “We would like to once again make a friendly, yet serious request, to everyone to continue to act responsibly. Against the background of a global crisis, which has already taken on traumatic proportions, and may not have manifested itself as a reality in our midst, to implement and execute this permit with due diligence. This applies specifically to each member of your team and to lead and manage the number of people who must work with the necessary judgment and consideration.”

With regard to permits for workers, Vinpro suggested two options to members in a previous member communication.

“Please check with your local police office/authorities and then act optimally. Vinpro in currently in contact with various provincial heads and will continue to monitor the situation and keep the industry informed.”

Last night, Dr. Ivan Meyer, Western Cape Minister of Agriculture, assured farmers and farmworkers that in terms of Regulation No. 398 of the Disaster Management Act, 2002, the sector, being responsible for food security, has been declared as essential. Read the full statement here.

Wanda Augustyn
Vinpro Communications Manager
Tel: 021 276 0429
E-mail: wanda@wineland.co.za



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