Locals should take ownership of grape industry

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AUSSENKEHR – The green vineyards of grape-producing farms are not a reflection of greener pastures for Namibians but rather for foreign-owned companies.

This was the opinion of Karasburg Constituency Councillor Paulus Efraim, who expressed dissatisfaction that millions of dollars generated from grape exports from places such as Aussenkehr do not benefit local people, but rather foreign companies.

Efraim explained that although locals flock to the south to get jobs especially during harvesting, only a little from the millions of dollars in profit from their hard work is given to them in the form of payment while the companies take massive chunks in profit.

“Our Namibian people are just working as ordinary workers and they get little out of it,” he said.
He explained that most of the companies are foreign owned and thus most of the income from grape sales leave the country.

He called on more Namibian companies to get involved in grape production, pointing out that it is a sad picture that foreign companies yield such good profits but workers are paid a pittance for their labour, while the wealth created from Namibian resources is taken to other countries.

Efraim called on the government to train more local people to equip them with the necessary knowledge on grape production so that Namibians can take control of grape farms.

Acknowledging the gesture of foreign companies in creating jobs for thousands of locals, he said although this should be commended “it is not enough as Namibians need to take full ownership of the country’s natural resources”.
“We understand they are creating jobs but until when?” he questioned, stressing that local people should be given land along the Orange River for them to start producing on their own to support their families.

The 2014 grape export statistics showed Namibia managed a total export volume of 4.5 million cartons generating millions of dollars in export revenue

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