Millions for New Vineyards At Aussenkehr Farms

SOUTH AFRICAN fresh produce company Capespan has invested close to N$40 million to develop 114 hectares of vineyards at Aussenkehr in the south.

Namibia Grape Company (NGC) extended its marketing and management contract with Capespan in 2013.

Capespan managing director Andre Vermaak told The Namibian that the vineyard extension is part of an agreement the companies signed in 2013, which resulted in management and marketing contract extension from 2018 to 2028.

As per the agreement, according to Vermaak, his company committed to finance and implement an additional 114 hectares of table grapes and water supply to its existing 360 hectares.

“Last year we already developed 24 hectares of vineyards, and are currently developing another six hectares,” Vermaak added.

The company also invested a further N$11 million in building a cooling facility – which has been completed already – at Aussenkehr in anticipation of the planned expansion, Vermaak added.

According to Vermaak, the development of the new vineyards is expected to create about 58 permanent and 400 seasonal jobs.

However, he raised concern about the low electricity supply to the Aussenkehr farmers, saying this may delay the development of new vineyards.

“We hope the electricity situation at the valley will be addressed,” said Vermaak, explaining there is a need to upgrade the electricity supply to Aussenkehr, which consumes about 10% of the electricity supplied by NamPower.

Vermaak expressed optimism about the possibility of a good harvest this season.

“We’re positive about a bumper season and good prices this year,” said Vermaak, adding that new grape cultivars to be harvested this season are expected to help improve Namibia’s grape prices.

Source : The Namibian