Wine Agriculture Experiences; Kenya and SA
The wine industry is a multi-million industry; both in SA and Kenya. South Africa boasts itself with its ability to strive within sustainable wine creation and sustainable wine farms. For most of this dialogue, we can borrow our findings from the recent Vinpro summit in Cape Town(the home of wine agriculture in SA) hosted by Vinpro, Nedbank and private wine houses. This gathering was to have a dialogue on the economy of wine agriculture SA in relation to Africa and the rest of the world. One of the many topics was how the wine economy is growing, where it needs improvement and most importantly how the youth relates to wine and agriculture among themselves and their respective countries.
After this summit, I was eager to find out how other close countries relate to wine agriculture. And in just a few weeks, Ray flew from Kenya to SA for a meeting. I am a young aspiring woman within agriculture and wine tourism. Ray is a professional technical advisor from PWC Kenya. You may ask yourself where do i begin to relate in terms of agriculture and wine tourism. We both love wine and we are passionate about the advancement of young people and women in Africa within our respective career spaces.
Ray and I met formally at an upmarket family restaurant that we believed serves moderate and consumable wine. The restaurant itself has a fantastic display of wine varieties.
And the kind of ambiance that is fitting to serve one of the best wines this country can produce. The next obvious step was to order a bottle of the finest wine to be shared between two young people with similar interests, to learn from the experience of one another. “What’s more strange is how casual South Africa takes wine drinking. In Kenya wine is a celebratory drink. Say I just won a deal at work or have received some personal good news then I’d order wine. We don’t serve wine as casually as you do in South Africa. “
Wine agriculture is the ability of agriculture to produce and sustain wine. From the primary stage where it’s still a grape in the farm to the value chain stage, where it’s sold in upmarket restaurants,chain food markets and liquor stores. Wine agriculture can only strive where there is vast land that is moist enough and it’s soil can sustain the growing of grapes. Soil health is especially important for the growing of wine grapes together with the climate of where grapes are being grown and fermented. This is the distinct difference that sets South Africa apart from Kenya as the Cape of South Africa is a sustainable place to grow and ferment grapes while Kenya cannot sustain the growing of grapes.
As the Vinpro wine day summit happened, the main discussion was the pricing of wine produce, how wine industries are experiencing shortfalls through how they price a bottle of wine. Climate change being a factor, has affected the production of wine. This has in-turn affected the profit and overall business. “One of the many reasons I’d definitely come back to this country is how relatively cheap wine is. In Kenya wine is very expensive. This is the main reason why it is an occasional drink, why we regard it as a celebratory drink.” Rey said.
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As a young person who’s main aim is to actively participate in the African agriculture economy, this meeting only highlighted few points. The open opportunity to create sustainable wine trade and to capitalize on the relationship between both these countries. There is a huge gap among black Africans in the business of wine agriculture and wine value chain.
Additionally, agripreneurs can look into providing theirs skills, innovation and creativity. From the packaging (agri-packaging),transportation (agri-logistics) and distribution, market and trade. This can be an exchanged business relationship where we look at where the demand is and fill it in.
In conclusion, it is my dream that we realize the importance and the profit we can create through intra-trading within the African continent. Furthermore, we need to learn and acknowledge that money has to circulate within us first before it goes anywhere else. The wine value-chain offers such an opportunity and it is up to us, women and youth in agriculture to maximize the moment. We need to learn to be ruthless in our pursuit to develop African agriculture and that means that most of the time, opportunity is rarely found in your comfort-zone. Meeting with Ray forced me to realize that even when our careers don’t gel together but our missions are the same.
With that, let’s raise a glass to wine agriculture and the vast opportunity it provides youth and women in Africa.
(Ray Momanyi is a technical advisor for PWC, Kenya| B-hon Computer Science. University of Nairobi)
About Nomfundo Zondi
Nomfundo Zondi, Founder of Icebo Empowerment Network, an Agri empowerment, and advocacy platform for youth and women in agriculture and climate change. Together with Icebo Consulting, consulting in agriculture and climate change. She is the founder of the hashtag #AgriWomenChatAfrica on Twitter.
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