Namibia Grape Company Team Back From Egypt

A team of Namibia’s top table grape growers recently returned with great expectations from the top vineyards of Egypt following a technical tour to that country.

Andreacute Vermaak, Managing Director of Capespan Namibia and Gideon Nuunyuango, General Manager of Namibia Grape Company, with their team of production managers returned from a successful technical visit to Egypt recently. The tour took place during April 22-30, 2014. They were joined by six production managers, including Kamati Jeremiah, Jan du Plessis, Theresia Muzaza, Titus Mutikisha, Fillipus Hamanyala and Raimbert Haupindi. Muzaza and Du Plessis were the winners of the annual table grape vineyard block competition that was held in Aussenkehr in November last year.

The group was hosted by Shachar Karniel, the breeder of the Arra and Early Sweet varieties and his son Adi Karniel, who is also the technical manager of the Grapa Company, which has the sole commercial rights for growing those two varieties.

The Namibian delegation visited the most important table grape farms, which include BarkashEl Katta, Pico Farms, Belco Farms, Hegazy Farm, El Roda Farm, Technogreen, Medi Garden and Mosaab Saudi Farm.

They experienced a very friendly reception and learned a great deal from their Egyptian hosts.

Different methods in respect of the care and maintenance of table grapes were exchanged between the parties. The Namibian delegation went with the goal to visit top producers in Egypt just a week before they started harvesting. The delegation had the opportunity to study and evaluate the various Arra and Early Sweet table grape varieties and other new varieties. The Early Sweet variety is a white seedless grape replacing the ever sweet and popular Thompson Seedless variety.

Thompson is a very popular variety for overseas markets and supermarkets in Europe.

The Namibia Grape Company planted the first Early Sweet in 2009 and has now in total 27 hectares of Early Sweet in production. The Namibia Grape Company started trials 6 years ago on various Arra varieties and the first commercial block of Arra consisting of 9 hectares was planted during 2013.

This year the company plans to add the Arra red seedless variety on 10 hectares, the Arra white seedless on 15 hectares and the Arra black seedless on 14 hectares to the existing vineyards. Managing Director Vermaak made the decision to take the production managers on a technical tour and decided on Egypt, because Namibia shares the same climatic conditions with that country and growers in both countries implement similar methods in growing similar varieties. “After a very successful harvest of last year NovDec 2014 the production team of Namibia Grape Company took on the exchange programme on production practices to improve the yield and quality and the visual exposure of NGC staff was the key elements of the tour,” Vermaak said. Steve McVickers, the Managing Director of Capespan UK and Hazel Akehurst, head of Sales and Marketing of fruit at Capespan UK, accompanied the group. Namibia Grape Company exports these top quality grapes to supermarkets in the United Kingdom through the Capespan UK office.

Source : New Era

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