The South African sugar industry, being an agricultural and agro-processing industry, is dependent on and highly sensitive to the availability of natural resources – land, air and water and, to changes in the climatic regime in the current provinces of operation, KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga. It is in the best interest of growers and millers to ensure that resources which are utilized in agricultural sugarcane production and sugar processing environments are used in an enduring manner. This is one of the major factors driving the industry to build and sustain natural capital and to be part of more resilient catchments.
The Natural Resources Department promotes the implementation of better management practices and the Sustainable Sugarcane Farm Management System (SUSFARMS®) and seeks the support of key regulators. Ongoing monitoring and analysing of current and developing policies and legislation on natural resources, its use and management assists in advising growers and millers to be legally compliant, sustainable and globally competitive in its resource use and management.
In recognition of the fact that it is operating within an industry that is dependent on natural resources appropriate environmental strategies for sustaining and managing natural resources are developed for the South African sugar industry. Strategic projects that could assist the industry in responding to environmental risks and interventions are expedited.
Regular engagement with policymakers, environmental partners, academic and natural resource sector specialists:
- Assists in mobilising key stakeholders
- Keeping industry abreast of policy and strategic research developments
- Managing shared resources such as our scarce water resources
- Advocating industry positions in support of sustainable sugarcane and sugar production, and
- Facilitating an enabling regulatory environment for the industry
The South African sugar industry supports government’s objective to diversify SA’s energy mix to include sources of renewable energy. The sugar industry has the potential to be a significant producer of renewable energy, both electricity and bioethanol produced from sugarcane and, a significant contributor to socio-economic development in the provinces of operation.
The industry is committed to diversifying its product offerings, similar to already transformed international sugar industries, in order to improve revenue, efficiency and competitiveness of the SA sugar industry. The Renewable Energy Development Department aims to provide support in attaining the desired energised future vision for the industry. This vision includes diversification of the industry into energy products, such as renewable electricity and biofuels, operating in a model of high government support and high value of sugarcane, with all available resources utilised.
Viable Energy Producer
Expediting and managing strategic renewable energy projects which can benefit the SA sugar industry in positioning itself as viable energy producer, and in gaining access to renewable energy markets has been a priority.
Paramount is stimulating government and influential stakeholder support that would make commercial renewable energy production, electricity and bioethanol, feasible for the industry.
The primary objective of the Policy Liaison Department is to initiate, develop, and manage strategic relations with relevant government officials with regards to industry related policies. Through such engagements it is the objective of the department to engage with policy makers and participate in policy making processes to the benefit of the South African sugar industry.
Particular focus is given to monitoring and analysing developments in the agricultural and national/international
trade policy sector and serving as an industry expert in these fields.
Currently, key issues include the Agricultural Policy Action Plan (APAP), the Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP) and potential trade opportunities in the European Union. Policy changes are anticipated by the department mainly through intelligence gathering and stakeholder interaction most notably with the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti), and the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF).
The department provides a liaison service for:
- The South African sugar industry
- Key government departments, and
The department’s liaison service thereby raises the profile of the sugar industry and assists in maintaining the positive reputation of the industry.