More about Land Reform
The South African sugar industry has long recognised the need to promote diverse ownership of agricultural land under sugarcane and have a range of support instruments in place to promote the sustainability of initiatives aimed at changing the ownership profile of sugarcane land. It is worth mentioning that industry initiatives have contributed significantly to the transfer of 21% of freehold land under sugarcane from white growers to black growers.
In order to reach the target of 30% black ownership of freehold sugarcane land by 2014, the industry established an independent land reform entity, called Inkezo Land Company in 2004. Inkezo’s primary objective was to streamline transfer of ownership of land to black farmers, and promoting the sustainability of the new ventures through targeted support services.
However, the lack of a comprehensive and programmatic approach to the restitution of land to dispossessed communities has since emerged as a key challenge to the future sustainability of the sugar industry. The industry has consequently expanded its focus on land reform to also deal with land restitution processes and outcomes. In order to optimally integrate the required support services and structures with those already available in SASA, this expanded activity has been incorporated into SASA’s External Affairs Division. The functions previously carried out by the Inkezo Land Company have been absorbed into this expanded mandate.
In order to process sugarcane cost-effectively, the operational needs of the industry dictate major investments in milling capacity and infrastructure in rural areas, as sugarcane is not a tradable commodity, but needs to be processed as close as possible to its point of production. The financial viability of these significant capital investments in turn is entirely dependent on a sustainable supply of sugarcane in each mill supply area. At a primary level, this interdependency between miller and grower sustainability has been the catalyst for a common industry focus on developing a sustainable supply of sugarcane. The sheer size of economic activity generated in rural areas through the activities of sugarcane cultivation and sugar production, is generating a vast number of jobs in support industries and commerce. The industry’s focus on the development of much-needed cane supply is therefore not only impacting favourably on sugarcane farmers and millers, but is also indirectly contributes to the development of secondary economic activity, services and Infrastructure.
The key objective of the SASA Land Reform is to achieve a successful and sustainable Land Reform Programme in the sugar industry. It seeks to be a facilitator of choice in achieving the sustainable transfer of land, by providing a comprehensive developmental support programme that will lead to increased production, skilled and capacitated farmers, good governance amongst the land holding institutions, and sustainable business enterprises.
The following programmes are undertaken by the Land Reform unit in 2012/13
- Stakeholder Engagement and Management
- Participation in Land Reform Development Committees
- Farmer Development Programme (Training, Capacity Building and Development)
- Information and Knowledge Management
- Gazetted Claims Categorisation
- Leveraging of financial and technical resources to support sugar cane production and farmer development
Stakeholder Engagement and Management
Stakeholders’ engagement and management is embarked upon by strengthening stakeholder relations with different government departments from national to district offices, development agencies, business enterprises, academic institutions and other stakeholders that focus on development and land reform in the country.
Participation in Land Reform Development Committees
Strengthened participation of internal stakeholders in the Land Reform Development Committees, especially the participation of land reform beneficiaries. The primary aim is to provide stakeholders with a platform for structured and constructive communication, co-ordination, co-operation and information sharing concerning the implementation of the land and agrarian reform in the Mill area. This will facilitate efficiency and effectiveness in project implementation, and promote developmental outcomes and long-term sustainability of the land reform programme.
Farmer Development Programme (Training, Capacity Building and Development)
Land Reform continuously thrives to formulate and implement Farmer Development Programme. Key elements of this programme will involve providing a structured training programme, together with mentorship and institutional support. The following projects under this programme are the following:
- Co-ordination of access to training programmes for land reform farmers through the Land Reform Development Committees.
- The development of an institutional support model/s for large group based restitution projects.
- Facilitation of the implementation of a mentorship programme between relevant industry stakeholders and DRDLR, ADA, AGRI-Seta, DAFF, and members of the Provincial Reference Group.
- Information and Knowledge Management
This project aims to provide a web based database on the status of land reform projects. The database will keep track of progress made by the Land Reform unit in implementing land reform activities. The following are the objectives of the project:
- Creating a centralized database for all transfer land reform projects that will be operational by July 2012;
- Draft quarterly industry reports from data on trends (production, funding, training and development etc.);
- Development of the reporting tools for the land reform database;
- Use of data to develop research papers, proposal documents for the industry and government.
- Gazetted Claims Categorisation
The aim of this project is to develop a credible database of outstanding restitution claims in the sugar industry. This database will categorise claims across the industry, with the intention of updating the information, and coordinate resource planning for potential transfers. The industry will have a more comprehensive status of the claims per District Municipality. This data will be used in preparation for a joint planning session with the Regional Land Claims Commission that will lead to a three–five year plan for the prioritization and settlement of claims that are not under litigation.
Leveraging of financial and technical resources to support sugar cane production and farmer development
The objective of this project is to source adequate funding and technical resources to support the land reform initiatives of the sugar industry by:
Facilitating access to RADP, CASP and other funding sources from DRDLR and DAFF) funding (including funding from Rural infrastructure development, Institutional Support Programmes);
- Facilitating access to funding for Small Scale Grower projects. SASA would also locate dedicated capacity on a contractual basis to manage the Small Scale Grower – RADP Programme. The focus would be on providing institutional support to the newly established co-operatives;
- Development of a funding protocol for the industry. The funding protocol will facilitate a more equitable distribution of funding between the different categories of black growers;
- Support particular Millers and Growers in the establishment of Funding Entities;
- Development of proposal for funding and technical support for farmer development programmes (training, capacity building, mentorship and institutional support) and specific research projects;
- Development of a donor proposal for funding for the settlement of restitution claims.