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Northern Cape Business 2020/21 edition

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  • Agriculture
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The 2020/21 edition of Northern Cape Business is the 10th issue of this highly successful publication that has, since its launch in 2009, established itself as the premier business and investment guide for the Northern Cape Province. 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. These include plans for the establishment of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) within the province, which have specific incentives designed to make investment into the Northern Cape even more attractive. The hi-tech exploits of astronomers and engineers in search of a landspeed record are the focus of an article on engineering sector while the rapidly expanding solar energy sector which continues to attract significant capital is discussed in some detail.

OVERVIEW Grapes and wine

OVERVIEW Grapes and wine The Orange River region punches above its weight in grape and wine production. Photo: Dippenaar Choice Fruit The word “audit” is normally associated with financial institutions or public bodies that must account for their expenses. But for the grape farmers and wine producers of the Northern Cape, meeting various health standards is a serious business on which rests access to lucrative export markets. Although the province has just 3% of South Africa’s vineyards, 18% of the nation’s white wine grapes are cultivated along the Orange River. For grape producers such as the family-run company Dippenaar Choice Fruit, their three-person HACCP team is a vital element in operations. HACCP stands for Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points. Among the audits which this team oversees are the BRC (British Retail Consortium) Version 8 Audit and SiZA, the Sustainability Initiative of South Africa. An instructive feature of the Dippenaar Choice Fruit website is the Chinese language option, a strong signal of the growing popularity of South African grapes in China. The company farms seedless grapes on 306ha across eight farms, including Gamcaip Grape Farm (pictured), along the Lower Orange River. The intention is to expand to 340ha and increase production from one-million cartons (4.5kg carton equivalent) to 1.5-million cartons by 2022. Sector Insight Northern Cape wines are winning awards for quality. The region as a whole has 5 688ha of vines and the Orange River Producer Alliance represents its farmers. According to the South African Table Grape Industry (SATI), the grape industry in the Northern Cape employs 1 215 people permanently, with a further 12 415 people finding seasonal work. Harvesting happens from early November to early February. Almost a third of South Africa’s table grape crop is NORTHERN CAPE BUSINESS 2020/21 36

OVERVIEW produced in this fertile region. The South African table grape industry has been investing in hardier varietals which produce a better yield. A variety of seedless grapes dominate plantings, with Thompson Seedless, Prime, Sugraone, Grapaes and Crispy Flame Seedless among the most popular. 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 get their products to market more quickly. 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. Of the Sultana grapes grown in the Lower Orange River Region, 70% are used for vine-fruit products. There are 1 250 Sultana grape growers in the province, producing three 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. Wine The 2019 season was a good one for Northern Cape wine farmers. Warm to hot conditions, coupled with the nutrient-rich land on the banks of the Orange River and sharply contrasting temperatures combine to produce consistently excellent wines. Average annual rainfall in the area is 150mm. The Northern Cape’s Orange River wine region accounts for 25.6% of South Africa’s Colombar vines and 10% of Chenin Blanc. The focus is on Colombar and Hanepoot grapes. Orange River Cellars (ORC) is the region’s biggest producer, sourcing its grapes from 850 grape producers in the area known as the Green Kalahari. ORC has a winery at its head office in Upington and a further four at Keimoes, Groblershoop, Kakamas and Grootdrink. 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 reported better yields in 2019 than the year before, at about 35 tons per hectare. Both Chenin Blanc and Colombar performed well with the latter doing exceptionally well. At the 2019 Top 100 SA Wines/National Wine Challenge, ORC went some way to changing the narrative about the type of wine that the region produces. ORC is famous for its sweeter wines, such as Muscadel but a blend of Petit Verdot and Shiraz (Lyra Vega) won a spot among the competition’s top 100 wines. In addition, the cellar garnered two Grand Cru Awards (best in category) and a further two Double Platinum positions in the select 100. 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 Cellar 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. The 2019 national wine grape crop was slightly smaller than the previous year. The Orange River was one of four regions to record a slight increase, but that was off a low base in 2018. For 2019, the national crop estimate was 1.2-million tons (SAWIS, South African Wine Industry Information & Systems). Vinpro is an organisation that 2 500 South African wine grape producers, wineries and wine-related businesses. ■ Online Resources Photo: Carpe Diem Estate Northern Cape Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development: Raisins South Africa: SA Wine Industry Information & Systems: South African Table Grape Industry: South African Wine and Brandy Company: 37 NORTHERN CAPE BUSINESS 2020/21

Other recent publications by Global Africa Network:

African Business 2020 edition
South African Business 2020 edition
KwaZulu-Natal Business 2020-21 edition
Northern Cape Business 2020/21 edition
Eastern Cape Business 2020 edition
Western Cape Business 2020 edition
Free State Business 2020 edition
Mpumalanga Business 2019/20 edition
Limpopo Business 2019-20 edition
Gauteng Business 2019-20 edition
KwaZulu-Natal Business 2019-20 edition
Northern Cape Business 2019/20 edition
Free State Business 2019 edition
Eastern Cape Business 2019 edition
North West Business 2019 edition
Western Cape Business 2019 edition
South African Business 2019 edition
Limpopo Business 2018-19 edition
Mpumalanga Business 2018-19 edition
Northern Cape Business 2018-19 edition
Gauteng Business 2018-19 edition
KwaZulu-Natal Business 2018-19 edition
Eastern Cape Business 2018 edition
North West Business 2018 edition
Western Cape Business 2018 edition
Free State Business 2018 edition
South African Business 2018 edition
Limpopo Business 2017-18 edition
Mpumalanga Business 2017-18 edition
Gauteng Business 2017-18 edition
KwaZulu-Natal Business 2017-18 edition
Northern Cape Business 2017-18 edition
North West Business 2017 edition
Free State Business 2017 edition
Eastern Cape Business 2017 edition
Western Cape Business 2017 edition
South African Business 2017 edition
Mpumalanga Business 2017 edition
Limpopo Business 2016-17 edition
KwaZulu-Natal Business 2016-17 edition
South African Business 2016 edition
Gauteng Business 2016 edition
Eastern Cape Business 2016 edition