Alan Nelson is the first wine farmer to share his land with his staff in the late 90s, almost 20 years ago. He took the bold and historic step of donating nine hectares of his new farm to his labour force.
This is in the lines of a proposal published by Rural Development and Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti. The proposal requires commercial farmers to hand over half their land to farm workers.
Nelson took this step before the land claim subject could build up steam. He and others from KWV wine helped to setup ‘Klein Begin’. It consisted of 16 labourers who have formed a community-property association. Nelson granted them free use of farm equipment and wine-making facilities for five years.
Nelson and others helped with both providing the workers with skills and access to markets. But unfortunately Nelson says the project didn’t work
In large measures I am probably responsible for the fact that it didn’t work out because of the manner in which the deal was originally structured— Alan Nelson
He says he donated the farm to his workers in acknowledgement for the way they helped him develop the farm into a champion wine estate.
Nelson thinks the project didn’t work because it was a collective deal and according to him collective farming doesn’t work. Some people are passionate about farming and others are not, he says.
He further said that the Minister’s proposal, if implemented, will be an utmost disaster.
Listen to the full conversation below: