SAFDA Leads United Industry Protests To Save South Africa’s Sugar Industry
The South African Farmers Development Association (SAFDA) affiliated members are appealing to the government to intervene urgently in the plight of small-scale sugar-cane farmers that has left them in dire straits. SAFDA, a 15 000-member organisation, focuses on improving profitability and sustainability for small-scale and land reform sugarcane farmers.
As reported by IOL Business Report, Francis Moonsamy, Deputy Secretary of SAFDA, said the situation is so bad that it is putting farmers out of business. Moonsamy blamed their plight on the cheap imported sugar price, which he said did not even benefit the consumers at large. These small- and large-scale farmers’ protests were also in support of the sugar industry’s application to stop sugar imports by increasing the dollar-based reference price for sugar.
As reported by The South African Moonsamy noted: “We have farmers working hard and others even putting in their pension money, but getting nothing in return. We used to have 50000 members, but now we have only 15000, meaning the rest have been forced out of business.”
In a strong display of unity across all sugar industry stakeholders, SAFDA was joined in these protests by The South African Sugar Association (SASA) the South African Sugar Millers Association, the SA Canegrowers, and by the FairPlay Movement, a nonprofit initiative against predatory trade practices.
The protests received widespread media coverage and received strong backing from various elected officials and a commitment of support by the Department of Trade and Industry to urgently address the issues raised. It remains to be seen how urgently the government’s encouraging words will be put into action.