Payment of R225 million in transformation funds will provide vital support to small-scale growers
SA Canegrowers welcomes the recent disbursement of funding by the South African Sugar Association (SASA) flowing from the sugar industry’s commitment to transformation interventions under the rubric of SASA, as well as commitments under the Sugar Cane Value Chain Masterplan.
More than R225 million was paid to small-scale growers at the end of January 2022.
The SASA transformation funding, of which canegrowers contribute 64%, was allocated across two grower support programmes:
- R115,4 million was allocated to intervention one, which provides grant funding for black growers delivering under 1,800 tons of cane; and
- R50,47 million was allocated to intervention two, which provides grant funding to black growers delivering above 1,800 tons of cane.
The additional R60 million agreed under the Masterplan was apportioned between all qualifying small-scale growers, that is, growers on communal land, and growers on freehold land delivering less that 1,800 tons of cane.
The payments come at a good time for small-scale growers, a number of whom were affected by the unrest in July 2021. Over the past two years, growers have survived not only the widespread cane arson that characterised the July unrest, but also costs incurred to combat the Covid-19 pandemic, the continued implementation of the Health Promotion Levy, declining milling capacity which means significant quantities of cane being carried over, and an exponential increase in input costs like fertiliser.
That is why SA Canegrowers, a key stakeholder in the South African Sugar Association, supports the allocation of these funds for small-scale growers in the current financial year. This is an essential intervention to ensure the survival and success of small-scale growers as work continues under the Masterplan to revive the local industry and restructure it for future prosperity.
SA Canegrowers is always mindful of the central role played by small-scale growers in the industry. More than 21,000 small-scale growers derive their livelihoods from the industry, allowing them to contribute to the sustainability of rural economies. As such, it is imperative that these growers are not only supported to remain viable, but also that they are empowered to grow, create jobs, and enrich local farming communities.
We will continue to work with national government, our industry peers, and our value chain stakeholders to ensure the successful implementation of the Sugar Industry Value Chain Masterplan and the creation of opportunities in the sector so that we can vastly increase the one million livelihoods supported by the industry.