Coast KZN

24 Dec 2017

Sugar cane transformation move applauded

Larry Bentley (Zululand Observer)

Agrarian transformation in sugar industry applauded

Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (EDTEA) MEC, Sihle Zikalala, has hailed Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry for taking a giant step towards transforming the sugar cane industry.

This follows the committee’s call for the South African Farmers Development Association (Safda) to be recognised by the South African Sugar Association (Sasa) and the South African Cane Growers’ Association (Sacga).

Welcoming the decision, Zikalala said the move brought hope that South Africa would soon have a completely transformed sugar cane industry as Safda represented the interests of small-scale black farmers.

‘We are happy that the committee has tasked the Department of Trade and Industry with amending the Sugar Act of 1978 to include bodies such as Safda, which were previously not represented.

‘We have always maintained that the recognition of Safda will go a long way in ensuring that the sugar cane industry is transformed and that we have sustainable economic activity among previously disadvantaged group in our province,’ said Zikalala.

He said the provincial government was pressing ahead with its radical agrarian socio-economic transformation programme. which was aimed at empowering black Africans to create their own wealth in order to provide jobs, eradicate poverty and redress economic imbalances.

As part of empowering emerging sugar cane producers, Zikalala said the provincial government had partnered with Tongaat-Hulett Sugar South Africa Limited to support small-scale growers in various parts of the province such as Felixton, Darnall, Amatikulu and Maidstone.

‘We have set aside more than R50-million for this programme, which will see more black farmers playing an integral role in the sugar cane sector.’

The aim of the project is see 3 000ha sugar cane being planted and to create an estimated 1 100 jobs.