Giahgias duo lead tractor convoy in SA protesting against low grape prices

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A tractor convoy has taken place in Renmark, uniting farmers and vineyard contractors from all over South Australia to protest and raise awareness of farmers being paid low prices for their grape produce.

Sava Giahgias and his father Jim, came together to unite the South Australian Riverland town which is home to more than 900 grape growers that contribute to $400 million of the national wine economy.

25-year-old Sava told the ABC he wanted to raise awareness about the unsustainability of an industry where farmers were paid below the cost of production for their grapes.

“If the industry collapses, I collapse,” Sava said.

“This is all I know. This is what I love doing and I want to keep doing it, but at these prices we can’t keep doing it.”

The third-generation grower said people were very supportive of the protest.

“A couple of guys stopped me and said, ‘Good. Keep doing it’,” Sava said. “The Riverland is going to collapse if this is not happening. Us farmers are the Riverland. We are the food bowl.”

Jim Giahgias
Mr Giahgias (left) with SA independent MLC Frank Pangallo at the meeting. Photo: ABC Rural, Eliza Berlage.

The protest had more than 100 growers express their ongoing concerns that their upcoming grape harvest could be their last.

They demanded making wine grape prices more sustainable and improving support from the industry and government for growers.

A meeting was held after the protest with Jim and South Australian independent MLC Frank Pangallo. Jim said the meeting was a chance for people to talk about turning their frustrations into collective action.

“People are going broke,” he said.

“Growers cannot grow grapes for a third of the cost of production… It’s time that were are not treated like peasants, and that we are treated like business people.”

Source: ABC News.

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