More than a third of wine-grape producers make a loss and the industry has about 25% fewer producers than a decade ago, according to Vinpro. Vinpro, the industry association, says the only way to ensure a sustainable supply of wine is if farmers increase prices they receive for wine. Vinpro has said the average net farming income was about R45,000 per hectare compared with the R70,000 per hectare required to be financially sustainable. Wine is one of SA’s largest agricultural exports, with the country’s nearly 100,000ha of vineyards, mostly in the Western Cape, accounting for about 4% of world production. "After years of financial pressure wine producers need a significant income adjustment of close to 30% to ensure a more viable environment. At the moment they on average earn a meagre 1% return on investment, which does not justify the establishment of vineyards," said Vinpro MD Rico Basson. He said many wine-grape farmers were either leaving the industry, uprooting vines for more ...

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