WINE: The dti Refutes WOSA's Complaint
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THE Department of Trade and Industry (the dti), says it dismisses media reports attributed to Wines of South Africa (WOSA) that the department’s plan to shift its export focus away from developed countries was due to the global credit crunch as inaccurate and misleading.
The department’s agro-processing director, Tshifhiwa Madima says the decision was taken early last year before the credit crunch.
“The decision was based on the fact that traditional markets were growing at a lower rate compared to emerging markets such as China, Brazil, and India and the dti should put more energy on higher growing markets to ensure that we maximise the opportunities presented by these markets to various South African exporting industries such as wine” says Madima.
Madima says WOSA further claims that the dti has decreased its funding. To this end, the department categorically denies what it calls “this false and misleading claim” and points to the following:
• The decision to shift exports focus away from developed countries has nothing to do with the current global economic downturn, as it will only be implemented in the coming financial year.
• The department’s support for the industry since 2002 amounts to almost R18 million.
• Last year the department supported Cape Wine 2008 to the amount of R2.3 million and the dti paid R700 000 for 22 USA foreign buyers who came to this event.
• According to the survey published by the National Agricultural Marketing Council in May last year, WOSA in 2007 received almost R10 million from the levies collected from wine industry to promote South African wine on the overseas markets.
Based on the above, says Madima, it is clear that WOSA is one of the major beneficiaries of government funding, and the dti is still committed to supporting the wine industry as is evident in its funding of the Wine Export Council.
Departmental director on export promotion, Christiaan Saaiman reiterated that the dti did not withdraw its support to wine producers. “The only decision was that the department will no longer host a national pavilion at Prowein USA, but individual wine producers can still qualify for assistance on the export marketing and investment assistance (EMIA) to participate at the event”.
Saaiman says the department supports the industry to penetrate market. However, once this has been established the industry must play a larger part in maintaining these markets.
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