SA Canegrowers

SA Canegrowers rejects SAFDA statement on SA sugar industry transformation funding

Press Release

July 2, 2024

SA Canegrowers believes in an inclusive sugar industry and has been a leading voice in the transformation of the industry for all growers and safeguarding the livelihoods of our 21 000 small-scale growers. Over the years SA Canegrowers has worked closely with industry stakeholders and government to achieve this.

The success of small-scale sugarcane growers in KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga is critical to ensure the future of the sugar industry in South Africa and to stabilise rural economies. As such, it is of utmost importance that transformation funding reaches all small-scale growers with fairness and accountability.

The recent media statement by the South African Farmers Development Association (SAFDA) makes several serious allegations to the contrary, and SA Canegrowers strongly rejects these. 

SA Canegrowers is an inclusive association comprised of both commercial and small-scale growers. The leadership and board of SA Canegrowers is democratically elected at its Annual General Meeting and is made up of individuals who are active small-scale and commercial growers, which makes it unique among sugarcane farming industry bodies.

Therefore, SAFDA’s claims that SA Canegrowers is “fronting” are patently false and is an allegation with serious implications.

Transformation funding in the sugar industry comes from various sources, which are intended to support and develop previously disadvantaged individuals, including small-scale growers. Industry members have agreed to continue pay towards these worthy initiatives in the current 2024/25 season, committing R239 million, which surpasses the amount spent in 2023/24 (R232 million).

Under the stewardship of the SA Sugar Association (SASA), proposed transformation interventions for 2024/25 are being reviewed following independent studies that show transformation projects should be region specific to be measurable, relevant, and impactful.

In accordance with the recently amended Sugar Industry legislation, SA Canegrowers and SAFDA have equal responsibility to represent all South African sugarcane growers.

SA Canegrowers will continue to work on behalf of all canegrowers in South Africa and ensure that transformation funds are spent in an accountable and transparent manner. We will also continue to stand for what is right and that is to ensure that the funds reach the intended beneficiaries and are not intercepted. It is imperative that transformation is implemented in a sustainable and enduring manner across the various cane growing regions, and we will continue to advocate for this. The survival of the industry already faces many external challenges, including cheap sugar imports and the Health Promotion Levy, emphasizing the need for a fact-based collaborative approach to grower development and sustainability.

For media enquiries:

Katharine Child

kath@resolvecommunications.co.za

083 566 7223

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