Press statement by SA Canegrowers Chairman. Andrew Russell
June 7, 2023
Today, at our Annual General Meeting held in Ballito, KwaZulu-Natal, SA Canegrowers is pleased to announce the launch of phase three of our Home Sweet Home campaign. Launched in 2020 to educate consumers about the sector and encourage them to buy locally produced sugar, the campaign now represents a symbol of hope for the future of an industry in severe distress and the one million livelihoods dependant on it.
The launch comes on the heels of a tumultuous year for South Africa’s sugarcane growers. Following the floods of April 2022, we saw Tongaat Hulett enter into business rescue in October 2022, followed by more floods in early 2023, and the entry of Gledhow sugar mill into business rescue as well.
These challenges have been compounded by other ongoing threats including the influx of cheap sugar imports and the continued imposition of the Health Promotion Levy.
Despite these challenges, the country’s growers have demonstrated a tenacity that is emblematic of South Africa’s citizens, the private sector more broadly, and the agricultural sector in particular. The headwinds facing the industry haven’t stopped growers from producing more than 18 million tons of sugarcane with a value of R12 billion for the 2022/2023 season.
Nor have our present hardships blunted our commitment to the transformation of the industry. In 2022/2023 season alone, the industry distributed more than R298 million to small-scale and black growers to ensure their continued sustainability in this difficult operating environment.
However, critical to the survival of the sector, is consumers purchasing locally produced sugar instead of imported sugar also sold by many supermarkets. This why SA Canegrowers launched its Home Sweet Home campaign to educate South Africans about the threat of imports, which could cost our sector over R2 billion a year, and the critical importance of checking the back of sugar bags to ensure they are buying sugar produced by local growers.
The initial phase of the campaign focused on the use of traditional platforms, including billboards in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, to promote sales of locally produced sugar. This was followed by a second phase marked by alliance-building across the sector, with Proudly South African and the Shoprite Group partnering with SA Canegrowers to reach
With phase three, SA Canegrowers is takingHome Sweet Home to the next level, using digital platforms to build a community of South Africans who are committed to the sustainability of our rural communities and cane growing areas. This phase of the campaign will be launched alongside a digital campaign pledge inviting South Africans to join us as we fight to save the one million livelihoods the industry supports. The pledge can be found at www.SaveOurSugar.org.za.
SA Canegrowers will be promoting the pledge over the coming months through a social media campaign and will also be inviting critical stakeholders, including key politicians and senior government officials, to sign the pledge to support our industry.
As we continue the effort to save our sugar industry this season, SA Canegrowers invites all South African consumers to join us as we work to protect the million livelihoods, including growers, workers and communities, that depend on the industry. Let’s all commit to buying South African sugar, because there’s no place like Home Sweet Home.
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