Labor shortage delays Argentine grape harvests

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Labor shortage delays Argentine grape harvests

Grape growers in the Argentine province of Mendoza are calling to delay the close of harvesting activities, due to labor shortages and the effects of late ripening, website reported.

Initial plans were to finish harvests in three weeks, but the amount of people available to work in the eastern zone is around 20% short of the 12,000 people needed, the story reported.

The combined effects of the labor shortage and early ripening mean the harvest will be delayed by around 15%, which means growers will need to extend harvesting periods by at least one week, the story reported.

But it will be the government-run National Institute of Vitiviniculture that makes the decision whether to extend the harvesting period.

The story attributed a mix of factors that have led to the labor shortage, including a slower flow of workers coming from northern Argentina, as well as fear among some workers they would lose contracts under the government's Universal Assignment for a Child (AUH) social protection scheme.

San Rafael Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture president Pablo Asens, told the website the government needed to communicate more effectively with growers about what AUH entails, while remuneration rates were another cause for the shortage.

He said the shortage would push the industry towards increased mechanization levels, the story reported.

Related story: Heat not the only cause for early grape ripening



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