17 November 2020
SUGAR INDUSTRY HAILS SIGNING OF MASTER PLAN
The South African sugar industry has welcomed the virtual signing of the all-important Sugarcane Value Chain Master Plan to 2030 by all stakeholders. “This is a very momentous occasion for the industry and South Africa as a whole. We are breathing life into the sugar industry which has been in ICU for a number of years due to serious challenges such as the incursion of sugar imports, the insufficient tariff, sugar tax, dwindling local revenues and other deleterious external factors,” said Sindi Mabaso-Koyana, Independent Chairperson of the South African Sugar Association (SASA) which represents the country’s sugar industry. The optimisation of the local market and diversification into fuel ethanol are some critical elements of the master plan.
Jointly spearheaded by the Ministers of Trade, Industry and Competition, and Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (Ebrahim Patel and Thoko Didiza), the master plan seeks to ensure stability, growth and sustainability of the industry. The Ministers were ably assisted by their deputies (Nomalungelo Gina, Fikile Majola, and Mcebisi Skwatsha). The inclusive process of developing the “patriotic” masterplan was facilitated by Patel’s Sectoral Advisor, Harald Harvey. “We wish to express our heartfelt gratitude to the President (Cyril Ramaphosa), Ministers and Deputy Ministers for listening to our cries and leading a process to resuscitate the industry,” said Mabaso-Koyana. SASA members (the South African Cane Growers’ Association, the South African Farmers Development Association, and the South African Sugar Millers’ Association) have also thrown their weight behind the master plan, fully committing to its implementation. The master plan is structured in a phased approach with clear targets and implementation plans. Phase One focuses on immediate actions and commitments focused on addressing the short-term crisis, stabilising the industry and creating a window of 2-3 years during which the industry will undergo restructuring to set the foundations for the future and accelerated planning through joint task teams to set the detailed strategies and plans that will deliver on the long-term vision.
“We are extremely happy to report that all stakeholders are already fully on board as evidenced by a substantial increase in local sales in the current financial year – sales to both the direct and industrial markets have performed very well and exceed estimates. Relative to the previous season, sales to the direct market are ahead by more than 50 000 tons,” said Mabaso-Koyana. She stressed that the implementation of the master plan would be characterised by intensified efforts aimed at ensuring meaningful transformation in the whole value chain, women empowerment and advancement of small-scale growers.
Mabaso-Koyana concluded: “We would like to assure everyone that issues of good governance and compliance will not be compromised at all – there will be accountability, ransparency and operating within the parameters of the law throughout.”
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