The government’s lockdown on businesses, resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic, has left many farmers in the wine industry with feelings of uncertainty. Speculation was rife that it could mean the harvesting of grapes and processing of harvests in cellars wouldn’t be allowed. This could result in a whole season’s harvest potentially going to waste.
Saai instructed its legal team to deliver an urgent legal opinion on whether wine farmers would still be able to continue with production. Saai was ready to urgently approach the court, if it proved to be necessary.
“Thanks to Saai and other agricultural role players’ continuous pressure on the government and our speedy reaction, it has now been clarified that wine farmers will in fact be able to continue with the necessary steps for the harvesting and preservation process,” says Dr Theo de Jager, Chairperson of Saai’s board of directors.
The legal opinion confirmed that the actions of wine farmers will in no way be illegal and more information was published in the Government Gazette of 26 March 2020.
Saai urges farmers to contact them urgently should their farming practises be disrupted by the current crisis, by phoning 066 071 6094. Saai is continuing with the processing of online permit applications for the agricultural industry and all farmers are encouraged to make use of this platform. Visit www.saai.org.za for more information on how to apply.