Cool Fresh Nam expects good harvestBy: LUQMAN CLOETE at AUSSENKEHR
COOL FRESH Namibia, which is running the State-owned vineyards along the Orange River at Aussenkehr, is expecting a good harvest this season.
“Our projection is to pack 130 000 4,5kg boxes of grapes this season, which is 30% more than last year,” CFN general manager Boet Burger said in an interview.
Burger said 95% of this season’s harvest is destined for the European market.
Burger attributed improved fertilising and chemical spray programmes and “finer skills” for the bumper harvest.
Asked about the projected income from the grape harvest, Burger said: “We are still in negotiations with the buyers, and expect to reach an agreement on the selling price in October.”
Besides grapes, CFN also produces crops such as tomatoes, pumpkins, dates, watermelons, melons and squash.
CFN employs 65 permanent workers and hires between 70 and 300 seasonal workers annually.
Burger said the small-scale grape farmers to whom CFN is rendering marketing services are also expecting a good harvest.
Last week 10 small-scale grape farmers were evicted from State-owned vineyards on the Orange River after Government had terminated its lease agreement with them, claiming they had violated several conditions.
The farmers claimed CFN was ripping them off and accused the government of siding with CFN.
They also claimed that the government evicted them because they had bypassed CFN and sold their grapes directly to a Dutch-based grape buyer in 2010.
An agronomist in the Agriculture Ministry, Julia Nambili, earlier told The Namibian that Government was taking over vineyards of the evicted farmers.
Asked whether the plots would be allocated to other people, Nambili said: “I can’t really tell for how long Government will be in charge of the plots.”