Ignorant farmers: the organ grinder speaks

Rico Basson is CEO of VinPro, the producers’ association.  After bloging the opinion of WOSA monkey Su Birch yesterday, I thought it best to ask the organ grinder himself about WIETA.  His comments below, which I interpret as a gentle slap on the monkey’s wrist.  Whether this will keep indignant and ignorant farmers happy remains to be seen.  SA Wine is the big loser in this whole fiasco which is entirely of WOSA’s making, with inflation of a golden handshake for the CEO one lugh

vp 300x194 Ignorant farmers: the organ grinder speaks

“The fair and equitable treatment of workers is both a moral and legal
obligation. It is unfortunate that many producers who are doing the
right thing, are occasionally penalised by the shameful few. We have
therefore agreed to launch an industry wide programme via WIETA, whom we
have supported since it’s founding in 2002, to educate the industry,
to get everyone involved, and to begin the process towards qualifying
for ethical accreditation. This effort is unique and supported by all 3
wine industry bodies, namely SALBA, VinPro and Wine Cellars South
Africa, standing alongside Trade Unions, NGO’s and Retailers.

In SA we seem to have a tendency to largely focus (over emphasize) on
what seem to be wrong, sometimes forgetting that there are a number of
aspects where producers and industry fully comply, exceed and even lead
on world wide wine platforms (technology, planting material, terroir,
research, traceability, IPW, Information etc.). We do have some of the
most productive wine producers in the World, who have embraced aspects
such as new technology, market alignment and access, labour productivity
and social compliance – this notwithstanding challenging circumstances.
We therefor should be extremely careful to generalise in our analysis or
comments, as we deal with a complex wine value chain. The WIETA process
should at least enable top producers that does adhere/comply to
legislation and ethical processes, the benefit to continue sustainable
businesses with market access. The small minority that still opt (after
consultation) not to adhere to the basic legislation will then at least
be identifiable and we can stop with the general comments re aspects
such as ethical compliance – which is extremely harmful. “