Table grape farmers request exemption from rolling blackouts

Reading Time: < 1 minute

Table grape farmers in the Lower Orange River region are facing another challenge amid higher stages of rolling blackouts. They say the rolling blackouts are making it difficult for farmers to maintain the cold chain and European market requirements.

Farmers are already dealing with issues such as climate change. Rolling blackouts at Stages 4 to 6 means that the areas are without power for nearly half of the day.

Table grape farmer Gabriel Viljoen says, ”In the cooling chain, we’ve got to maintain a constant temperature and once it reached a cooling chain, it’s going to be taken down to zero degrees celsius, which takes approximately 12 to 20 hours. After that, it’s put into a container which is shipped down to Cape Town.”

Grape farmers say apart from a smaller harvest, they also have unplanned expenses to cope with rolling blackouts. The Agriculture sector has asked Eskom and the government to exempt them from rolling blackouts.