Minister Davies Meets SA Cane Growers Association Over Sugar Imports
Port Elizabth - Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies, met with the South African Cane Growers Association (SACGA) to discuss the impact of imported sugar on the sugar value chain in South Africa in general and on sugar cane growers in particular.
"The cane growers indicated that the increases in sugar imports have an unavoidable impact on the competitiveness of South African sugar industry," described DTI spokesperson, Sidwell Medupe.
"The industry has suffered a massive reduction in sales to the beverage sector as they reformulated away from sugar.
"The industry highlighted the challenges they face and the need for urgency in finding solutions before the situation deteriorates to becoming an existential threat for the survival of the sugar growers."
He added that exploratory discussion about finding solutions led to the recommendation that the industry as a whole needs to propose a long-term vision and industrial plan that takes into account the impact of global developments and the shifting landscape in the sugar industry.
"Both the Department and the South African Cane Growers Association agreed that there is a need to urgently address the potential threats associated with an increasing replacement of local sugar with imports, particularly with unemployment.
"The meeting agreed to seek rapid solutions to the challenges facing the sugar industry focusing on short, medium to long-term plans."
Medupe said that the meeting concluded that the tariff support provided to the industry should be complemented by improving competitiveness of the domestic industry to ensure its long term continued viability.
"There is a need for the SA sugar industry to consider diversifying its product offerings and look at bio based niche product markets in order to increase sustainability, grow the revenue source and contribute as a transformed, competitive and profitable job creating industry."
Image: Minister Rob Davies with the leadership of the South African Cane Growers Association