Difficult to estimate W Cape fire damage - VinPro

Dane McDonald

Cape Town – Wine industry body VinPro on Tuesday said that it was difficult to “accurately determine” the economic impact of the Western Cape fire which ravaged the Simonsberg region last week.

VinPro spokesperson Edo Heyns told Fin24 that it was presently not possible to put a rand value on the damage wrecked by the fire.

The fire, which started on January 19 was only brought under control four days later on January 22 and caused significant damage to the vineyards of several well-known wine estates.

VinPro economist Andries van Zyl said that the cost of losing a hectare of vineyard to fire amounted to almost R240 000, based on industry averages.

The estimation included the loss of income, additional labour to uproot damaged vines and re-establishment of vines, said van Zyl.

The SABC reported on Friday that close to 3 000 hectares of mostly vegetation and some vineyards were destroyed.

Based on the prolonged drought and recent fire events, the DA has called on government to declare the Western Cape a disaster area.

According to the Western Cape's ruling party its “latest estimates” suggest a 10% drop in agricultural production.

“Seasonal farmworkers are particularly at risk, as fires rage and the drought bites,” said the DA Western Cape spokesperson on economic opportunities, tourism and agriculture, Beverley Schäfer.

Source http://www.fin24.com/Companies/Agribusiness/difficult-to-estimate-w-cape...