The South African Canegrowers’ Association (SA Canegrowers) welcomes Trade, Industry and Competition minister Ebrahim Patel’s gazetting of a summary of the Sugar Industry Masterplan. This marks a major milestone in government and the industry’s joint efforts to ensure the long-term sustainability and profitability of the sector.

The association also welcomes minister Patel’s designation of the industry for an exemption in terms of the Competition Act. This will allow industry stakeholders to collaborate on the implementation of the Sugar Industry Masterplan.

The Sugar Industry Masterplan

The masterplan is the culmination of an extensive engagement and consultation process with all sugar industry stakeholders, social partners and government over the past few months. SA Canegrowers has been a consistent and constructive participant in this process.

The longevity of the industry has been in question over recent years due to a confluence of simultaneous threats. These have included weak protection against cheap imports, the ravages of unprecedented droughts, plunging world sugar prices, and a major drop in local demand for sugar due to the introduction of the sugar tax, or the Health Promotion Levy.

The recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and national lockdown poses a new threat to the stabilisation of the sector. It is therefore critical that the long-term sustainability of the sugar industry, which forms the backbone of rural economies and sustains tens of thousands of livelihoods and businesses, is ensured.

Aims of the masterplan

Over the next three years, the Sugar Industry Masterplan aims to:

  • Increase demand in the local market by committing manufacturers to prioritising locally grown and manufactured sugar in their product ranges.
  • Improve import protection.
  • Support the development of small-scale growers and increase transformation in all sectors of the industry.
  • Support production diversification and the potential restructuring of the industry.

Supporting economic growth

A strong, unified, transformed and competitive sugar industry is the only way to ensure small-scale growers and rural communities are able to flourish and lift themselves out of poverty.

SA Canegrowers remains committed to working with all stakeholders to implement the plan in order to ensure that the industry remains competitive and that it contributes to job creation and economic growth in South Africa. – Press release, SA Canegrowers Association