The crucial Sugarcane Value Chain Master Plan to 2030 is a done deal – it has the blessing of all stakeholders… from sugarcane farmers, millers, downstream users, workers, retailers, government to Parliament!
All stakeholders have agreed to the master plan in principle, paving the way for its implementation. The master plan is aimed at ensuring growth and sustainability of the sugar industry which is currently in crisis due to a number of serious challenges threatening its continued existence. Chief among these challenges is the so-called sugar tax, the Health Promotion Levy (HPL). Since its implementation on 1 April 2018, the HPL has had a deleterious effect on the industry and led to many job losses. The industry’s cumulative losses, as the result of the HPL, stand at more than R3.6 billion. The other challenges relate to insufficient tariff and increasing volumes of sugar from Eswatini. Over the past 20 years, annual sugar production has declined by nearly 25%, from 2.75 million to 2.1 million tons per annum. The number of sugarcane farmers has declined by 60% during this period and industry related jobs are estimated to have reduced by 45%.