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Lack of grinding capacity, an imminent threat to sugar producers

The South African Association for Farmers’ Development (Safda) calls for urgent action to prevent a “looming crisis of biblical proportions” from hitting small farmers in the sugar industry.

Safda executive chairman Siyabonga Madlala said this week that the lack of crushing capacity was suffocating farmers.

“With 12 weeks to close the grinding season, we are calling for urgent action to force sugar factories to act and protect small farmers and not use sugar regulations against them.

“Without urgent action there will be an irreversible disaster for many small farmers, many of whom already suffered during the civil unrest in July,” Madlala said.

Madlala warned that at the end of this season there would likely be around 2 million tonnes of uncrushed sugarcane, which is more than what smallholders deliver per season. Safda said the looming crisis will affect not only individual producers but also secondary beneficiaries such as entrepreneurs, employees and their families. Madlala said with the country still reeling from the economic impact of Covid-19 and recent unrest, it could ill afford the impending calamity.

He said the sugar industry has 14 sugar factories, but recently two factories were closed in Port Shepstone and Darnall in KwaZulu-Natal.

“This has created a big problem of lack of crushing capacity to crush the sugar cane crop that farmers produce per season.

Articles 119 to 121 of the 2000 Sugar Industry Agreement speak of tariffable deliveries in which a farmer receives an allowance for the amount of sugar cane he can deliver to the sugar refinery during the season.

“Deliveries are broken down into daily, weekly and monthly allocations which make up the total seasonal allocation. Allocations are based on the estimated harvests of sugar cane that each farmer will harvest in a given season. The Mill Group boards manage these allocations, ”Madlala said.

South African Sugar Millers Association (Sasma) chief executive Deane Rossler said the organization is aware of the challenges faced in crushing the entire sugarcane crop this season, in some areas. cane supply.

Rossler said processing of the crop was exacerbated by civil unrest in KwaZulu-Natal, which shut factories for one to two weeks during peak crushing season in July.

“The management of cane supply and sugarcane crushing in each local mill area is handled by the Mill Group Board, an organization where millers and producers have

representation. These organizations will develop plans to deal with the challenges of crushing the crop for the current season, ”said Rossler.

At the time of the July riots, SA Canegrowers, which focuses on sugarcane cultivation and various production opportunities for cane growers through innovation, reported a cumulative total of potential damage to cane growers. local sugar of R300 million if the mills could not crush the more than 500,000 tons of cane burned in arson. He said factories in KwaZulu-Natal had rejected 135,222 tonnes of damaged cane worth more than R84.5 million.

“Almost a third of the cane discarded so far, over 38,000 tonnes, is from small-scale crops that are most at risk of not recovering from loss of income of this magnitude. “

The majority of small producers have no form of insurance.

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Lack of grinding capacity, an imminent threat to sugar producers

Source link Lack of grinding capacity, an imminent threat to sugar producers

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