SA Canegrowers’ Development priorities
Development of improved variety seedcane plots in rural areas for the specific aim of supplying certified and disease-free seed for small-scale growers in line with the industry’s Vision 2023.
Ongoing youth internship programmes where at least 10 aspiring sugarcane growers are placed on commercial farms in KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga to allow for practical sugarcane farming experience.
The practical work is supplemented by the South African Sugar Agriculture Research Institute Senior Certificate in Sugarcane Farming Course. The course is facilitated by SA Canegrowers.
The implementation and completion of training and development for small-scale growers valued at R3.19 million.
The focus on the empowerment of women has seen SA Canegrowers playing an integral role in the establishment of the South African Women in Sugarcane NPC (SAWIS).
The association sponsored and hosted development training for the 44 women as well as assisting with the legal requirements linked to the establishment of such a non-profit organisation.
Relationship building linked to mutual beneficial relationships between corporate entities such as Coca-Cola South Africa’s Mintirho Foundation, to allow for improved access to funding aimed at training and upliftment in rural communities where sugarcane is a major source of income.
SA Canegrowers’ Development partners:
- Mintirho Foundation
- South African Sugar Association
- South African Sugarcane Research Institute
- Enterprise Ilembe
SA Canegrowers farmworker funeral benefits plan
In a first for South Africa’s agriculture industry, SA Canegrowers successfully launched its unique funeral benefits scheme for farm workers in the sugarcane production industry.
The scheme for large-scale growers has been in successful operation now for nearly three years and the small-scale grower scheme for two years.
The SA Canegrowers Funeral Benefits Scheme is underwritten by Guardrisk Life, with Mihr Integrated Membership Administration (MIMA) the financial services administration partners and Ulwembu Financial Services responsible for the delivery of financial advice to members.
For many farmworkers this is the first time they have had the opportunity to speak to an accredited independent financial advisor at their place of work.
Over 5 000 main members are now insured under the plan, with about R1 million paid out in claims to date.
The scheme was developed as SA Canegrowers’ ongoing commitment to improving the sustainability of its members through the provision of sustainable and improved worker remuneration packages.
The decision to introduce the scheme was as a direct result of research which revealed how the high cost of funerals can impact on the lives of small-scale growers and farm workers with serious and negative socio-economic consequences for the industry’s most vulnerable members.
For farm workers employed by commercial farmers, contributions are paid on behalf of employees via a payroll deduction.
Alternative payment mechanisms on the scheme were devised as a way to protect the scheme and members from costly debit-order rejections.
In addition, members may add benefits to upgrade their cover levels to as much as R100 000, as well as include immediate and extended family members. Furthermore, what is termed the Salabedla benefit, provides a fixed term pension for dependents. The additional benefits are at the discretion of the individual members.
SA Canegrowers is now in the process of launching its Provident Fund which is aimed at further improving the economic and financial security of sugarcane growers across the sector.
Vukani Women SA Canegrowers
SA Canegrowers in partnership with women in sugarcane
Women are key actors in South Africa’s sugarcane farming industry and now in a move to formalise their role in the sector the ratification of a grower cooperative is under way.
In 2018 the very first conference for women in sugarcane was hosted by SA Canegrowers where a Non-Profit-Company was established.
In 2020 a secondary cooperative was agreed to be created named Vukani Women SA Canegrowers’ Secondary Cooperative (VWSSC). This secondary cooperative is now in the process of registration and formalisation with primary cooperatives established in each of the country’s 14 mills areas.
Small scale grower, Mavis Gabela was recently elected Chairperson of VWSSC with each mill area represented by women who are in possession of a grower code, are small scale and land reform growers in the industry.
The specific functions of VWSSC are to:
- Represent the interests of all women in each mill area (primary cooperative)
- Introduce the women grouping to various financial institutions to secure funding and start to implement the projects as agreed in each mill area (primary cooperative)
- Facilitate the project implementation and funds allocation for each mill area (primary cooperative)
- To host regular meetings to make sure all the Vukani secondary cooperatives are managed professionally, maintaining good governance and compliant with the cooperatives act of South Africa, the Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply and the South African Revenue Service.