The South African wine industry must be giving a huge sigh of relief as the transportation of wine for export is once again allowed, the Ministry of Agriculture has confirmed.
“Winemakers have been pleading to the opening up of exports,” Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Thoko Didiza announced.
On Wednesday night details of what would be allowed in the agricultural industry as South Africa enters level 4 lockdown, starting on May 1, 2020 were revealed.
In fact, on top of wine, the transportation of liquor per se – including products like Amarula – will also be permitted when the country moves to level 4 Didiza added.
The move comes after this type of transport was initially banned ahead of the start of the lockdown period onMarch 27, 2020 as it was not seen as “essential”. After about a week, the South African government suddenly permitted again for about another week before it was suddenly banned again.
Industry organisations like the wine producers body Vinpro have been lobbying all along to get permission granted to get their products to ports.
Grape and wine production is one of the largest export-orientated agricultural value-chains, with a contribution of R49bn ($2.7bn) to South Africa’s GDP.
The export of wool and other synthetic products will be allowed at level 4; harvesting of grains and oil seeds may take place, forestry is allowed and bee keepers may attend to their bees, including at night.
Didiza said at level 4 government wants to make sure that some industries which support the agriculture sector are operating. This would include mechanisation services for tractors and other implements required for production.
Retail shops providing agricultural inputs may operate and auctions may take place, but under strict conditions to adhere to the prevention of health risks.
Hunting and the transport of live animals are allowed as well as research, inspection, certification and quality control services.
All fishing, operation of fish hatcheries and fish farms will be allowed under certain conditions.
Harvesting and storage activities essential to prevent the wastage of primary agricultural, fishing and forestry goods will be allowed.
The export of all agricultural, agro-processed, fishing and forestry products are allowed.
In answer to a question about seasonal workers, the minister appealed to farmers to look for labour in their own vicinity and provinces. She said seasonal workers will not be allowed cross border or across provincial borders.