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Kobus Bothma - Capespan Namibia
Namibia: "It is looking like it will be a good, normal season"Temperatures are picking up in Namibia's Aussenkher valley as they head into full summer. It is around 30ºC just now, perfect conditions for grape growing. The warmer weather will arrive in November when temperatures can reach the high 40s.
Last year the Namibian season started around 10 days early, which then led to a drop in volumes towards the end of the season.
Flame at 8mm Berry size
"It is looking like it will be a good, normal season," explains Kobus Bothma of Capespan Namibia. "We are just after flowering now and things are looking positive. We should have a normal start, with packing commencing around 12th November. Volume-wise this is a good thing as the berries will have a chance to get to a good size and colour - berry size is between 6-8mm on the early varieties and looking good. I also expect yields to be up."
Grapes from Peru, Spain and Italy have all been affected by various climactic issues and the Namibian grapes should hit the markets when they are relatively empty.
New Pumpstation completed
Water levels are back to normal in the Orange River which runs through Aussenkher and is the sole source of irrigation for the valley. The dams up in the north of South Africa have good levels, unlike the Western Cape which has a worrying drought at the moment. According to Kobus water supply should be stable this year.
Last year when FreshPlaza visited the valley, Capespan Namibia were busy building a powerful new pumpstation to take water from the river, but were waiting for an adequate power supply to operate the 4 pumps.
"This has all come together now, the power supply is good and the pumps are running at full capacity," confirms Kobus.
Sweet Celebration vines planted in 2015
Capespan have an extensive trial plot up and running in Namibia where all the breeders have trials and, according to Kobus, the plot is looking very nice, "We are also looking to do some new trials this season to see what will happen with the new varieties which we are very excited about. It is still early days for the trial plot but it is looking very promising."
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