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Harvesting happiness: Vergelegen vineyard contractors treated to Fairtrade groceries

Some 100 vineyard contract workers at Vergelegen wine estate in Somerset West were delighted to each receive a package of basic household groceries in January, including items such as maize meal, cooking oil, beans, macaroni, and flour.


This gift forms part of Vergelegen’s Fairtrade initiative, whereby farmworkers decide how to invest in their future. Funding comes from premiums that Vergelegen receives from sales of its Fairtrade wines in the United Kingdom. A farm staff committee determines how to allocate this income.


Chairperson of Vergelegen Fairtrade, vineyard supervisor Ricardo Soetsenberg, said his committee decided to support temporary staff contracted during the busy harvest season. “January is a ‘Januworry’, many contractors are single parents, and some children go to school hungry. They were so excited about the hampers, over the moon!”


This is the second year that food parcels have been distributed to contract workers, and Soetsenberg says the committee has decided to continue with this initiative every January.


Vergelegen joined Fairtrade in 2019 and a recent project in 2023 was distributing raincoats to children in local, under-resourced schools.

Fairtrade encompasses 1822 producer organisations across 72 countries. Over

1,8 million farmers and workers are involved in Fairtrade worldwide.


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