KIMBERLEY, SOUTH AFRICA, Vineyards in South Africa's Northern Cape Province have been largely unaffected by the drought this year and will have a bigger harvest than last season.

The Blocuso Agricultural Co-operative near Keimoes, about 460 kilometres west of the provincial capital Kimberley, is a successful trust-led grape growing farm whose harvests have grown exponentially since 2010.

Blocuso Farm has had a good harvesting year with more than 1,400 tons of grapes and raisins harvested.

The farm was bought by the government to empower the local community and it employs 17 permanent workers and more than 90 seasonal workers.

The farm has been a success and has managed to re-invest at least 4.0 million Rand (about 326,000 US dollars) back into the property while still making enough to employ local residents.

The Chairperson of the Blocuso Trust, Leonard van Rooyen, says more tangible success is planned for the future: Our vision is that this project must give our 466 beneficiaries a better life. At the end of the day, we want them to become self-reliant and keep their own project going.

The growth of the farm has had a good impact on the local community. Farm Manager Samuel April explains: We started with about eight or nine permanent workers. They helped to get the project off the ground and we now have 17 permanent workers. We also employ seasonal workers from the community so that what we earn here goes back to the community.

The trust is currently working on 49 hectares of farm land and has plans to expand to 216 hectares in the next few years.


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