Wine-grape farmers remain optimistic about their future even as more than a third of producers are making a loss. Just as worrying is that the industry now has 25% fewer producers than a decade ago. Wine-grape production for the year was nearly 1.23-million tonnes, about 15% down compared to 2017, according to wine producers body Vinpro. It says the only way to ensure a sustainable supply of wine is for farmers to receive higher prices for their wine. The average net farming income was about R45,000/ha compared with the R70,000/ha required to be financially sustainable. Wine is one of SA’s largest agricultural exports, with nearly 100,000ha of vineyards, mostly in the Western Cape, accounting for 4% of world production. Under pressure Vinpro said many wine-grape farmers were either leaving the industry, uprooting vines for more profitable crops or not replacing vineyards. The Bureau for Economic Research and the Bureau for Food and Agricultural Policy predict that at 85,000ha, the a...

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