4 years ago

Northern Cape Business 2019/20 edition

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Since its launch in 2009, Northern Cape Business has established itself as the premier business and investment guide to the Northern Cape Province. The 2019/20 edition is officially supported and used by the Northern Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism. Northern Cape Business is unique as a business and investment guide that focuses exclusively on the province. In addition to comprehensive overviews of sectors of the economy, this publication has a particular focus on specific, packaged investment opportunities. The massive potential represented by the Square Kilometre Array radio telescope project and the rapid progress being made by Sol Plaatje University are also highlighted in this edition.

OVERVIEW Grapes and wine

OVERVIEW Grapes and wine Record harvests are being recorded. The Orange River region produced a record grape harvest in 2016/17, going above 20-million 4.5kg equivalent cartons for the first time. Despite what were described as ideal conditions, berry sizes were smaller in the 2017/18 season and production was down by 7%. However, with new, more hardy varietals being developed and planted, the outlook for the grape industry in the Northern Cape is good. A variety of seedless grapes dominate plantings, with Thompson Seedless, Prime, Sugraone, Grapaes and Crispy Flame Seedless among the most popular. The South African Table Grape Industry (SATI) reports that the Orange River region has 1 975 permanent employees and 16 926 seasonal employees. If ambitious plans to create a Special Economic Zone at Upington come to fruition, the grape, raisin and wine traders of the Northern Cape could be among the beneficiaries, providing logistical support for getting their products to international markets more rapidly than is currently the case. On a provincial level, there are plans to add 40 000 tons of grapes for wine, juice and raisins to the Northern Cape’s capacity. A draft six-year plan has been developed for the Northern Cape Vineyard Development Scheme which will be implemented by the Northern Cape Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD), the National Agricultural Marketing Council, the Land Bank, Distell, Winetech and Orange River Wine Cellars. Almost a third of South Africa’s table grape crop is produced in the fertile Orange River region of the Northern Cape. The South African table grape industry has been investing in some new varietals which produce a better yield. Seventy percent of the Sultana grapes grown in the Lower Orange River Region are used for vine-fruit products. There are 1 250 Sultana grape growers in the province, producing three SECTOR INSIGHT A Special Economic Zone could boost exports. Sultana-type grapes which rank among the best in the world: the Sultana Clone H5, a new hybrid called Merbein Seedless, which has proved resistant to splitting after rain, and the most popular type, the 143B. The following vine-fruit products are produced in the Northern Cape: Sundried Thompson Seedless Raisins; Dipped Orange River Sultanas; Golden Sultanas; Muscat Raisins; and Monuca Raisins. An example of successful Sultana-grape production in the province is SAD Vine Fruit (Pty) Ltd, which owns the largest dried-vine fruit processing and packaging plant in South Africa. The Upington-based firm employs more than 350 people when in full production. As much as 80% of vine fruit grown in South Africa is exported, primarily to Europe. NORTHERN CAPE BUSINESS 2019/20 44

OVERVIEW Diversified agri-company KLK recently purchased a half share in Carpe Diem Raisins, an exporter of high-quality raisins. The raisin factory has a production capacity of 12 000 tons and the company packages and sells about 22% of South African raisin production. All of the products in the Carpe Diem Group, including table grapes and pecan nuts, are certified organic. With about 135ha under production, the farm lies 10km east of Upington. Wine According to SA Wine Industry Statistics, the Orange River region has about 5% of the total hectares under wine grapes in South Africa, and just over 3% of the total number of vines. New vineyards are being planted. Warm to hot conditions, coupled with the nutrient-rich land on the banks of the Orange River and sharply contrasting temperatures at times, combine to produce consistently excellent wines. Average annual rainfall in the area is 150mm, but the eastern part of the region from Kanoneiland to Groblershoop have been receiving more than their due in recent seasons. The Northern Cape’s Orange River wine region accounts for 25.6% of South Africa’s Colombard vines and 10% of Chenin Blanc. The focus is on Colombard and Hanepoot grapes. Orange River Wine Cellars (ORC) is a large co-operative with six wineries. Grapes are collected from 749 farmers. OWC has a winery at its head office in Upington and at Keimoes, Groblershoop, Kakamas and Grootdrink. ONLINE RESOURCES Northern Cape Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development: Orange River Wine Cellars: SA Wine Industry Information & Systems: South African Table Grape Industry: South African Wine and Brandy Company: Orange River Concentrate Producers (part of the ORC group) produces about 7.5-million litres of white grape juice concentrate, a percentage of which is exported to Japan where the Itochu Corporation uses it in soft drinks and food. ORC supplies wine to Tops at Spar which has more than 700 stores across the country and makes Tops’ private label “Carnival”. ORC has also been selling wine in China, the USA and Europe for a number of years through its Norweco division. Unique labelling aims to capture local markets, so ORC wines are called “Star Tree” in the US and “Goddess” in Denmark. The Douglas Wine Cellar produces about 6 000 cases per year. Together with the Landzicht cellar (just over the border in the Free State), the Douglas Wine Cellars is a GWK company. The Douglas cellar crushes 7 000 tons of grapes every year and produces 5.6-million litres of wine. Hartswater Wine Cellar is a part of the region’s other big agricultural company, Senwes. Two wine brands (Overvaal and Elements) are produced in the Hartswater irrigation area north of Kimberley. 45 NORTHERN CAPE BUSINESS 2019/20

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