Today, SA Canegrowers is proud to be part of the launch of the Vukani Women’s Secondary Cooperative, an agricultural co-op that represents both black small-scale and large-scale women sugarcane growers in the rural areas of KwaZulu-Natal. The cooperative will be officially launched at today’s SA Canegrowers’ annual women’s conference. This initiative is part of the SA Canegrowers’ commitment to assist in the transformation of the South African sugar industry.
The co-op will take a multi-faceted approach to the empowerment of women growers. This will include training and development of women growers with regard to their sugarcane businesses, but also focus on community projects that are important to women growers, from mentorship and skills development of youth and women farmworkers, to services for the elderly and disabled in rural communities, and access to vital services like water, education, funeral cover and food gardens.
The co-op will also strive to ensure that women growers benefit equally from opportunities in the sugar industry including the development of sustainable aviation fuels and agro-processing, but to name a few.
In 2018, the South African sugar industry committed to spend a further R1bn over a period of 5 years towards transformation which amounts to R200 million per annum. This was specifically aimed at supporting black small-scale and land reform growers. The transformation fund established for this purpose was split into eight key interventions, with one aimed at supporting black Women and youth, by providing empowerment opportunities.
The Vukani Women’s Cooperative will be led by Mrs Mavis Gabela (Noodsberg) as Chairperson.
Other leaders include:
- Ms Kiki Mzoneli (Gledhow), Vice chairperson;
- Mrs Velile Phakathi (Pongola), Secretary;
- Mrs Idah Mthembu (Felixton), Vice Secretary;
- Mrs Lillian Dube (Amatikulu), Treasurer;
- Dipuo Ntuli (Umfolozi) , Additional advisory members;
- Dorcus Dube, (Gledhow) Additional advisory members; and
- Rejoice Ncwane (Sezela), Additional advisory members.
SA Canegrowers is committed to the upliftment of South Africa’s women growers and farmworkers. The association will make every effort to support the work of Vukani Secondary Cooperative, and to ensure that the women’s voices are heard as we work to create a platform that can empower women and provide them with meaningful and sustainable solutions.CHAIRPERSON OF SA CANEGROWERS – ANDREW RUSSELL