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South African sugar industry losing billions due to dumping

South African sugar industry losing billions due to dumping

December 23, 2020

During coming months, South African consumers will be educated about and encouraged to consume more locally manufactured sugar and sugar products.

This will be done through the Home Sweet Home campaign recently launched by the South African Cane Growers’ Association (SA Canegrowers), and forms part of the goals set out in the Sugarcane Value Chain Master Plan to 2030 (sugar master plan) that was signed into being in November 2020.

SA Canegrowers’ chairperson, Rex Talmage, explained that the campaign had the potential to help restore up to 300 000t of South African sugar to the domestic market annually, instead of having to be sold on the over-supplied and unprofitable world sugar market as it had been in recent years.

One of the key causes of the local sugar industry’s profitability woes in recent years was reportedly competition from sugar ‘dumped’ onto the South African market by countries such as Brazil and the United Arab Emirates.

“For every ton of imported sugar that floods our shores, our local South African industry loses R4 000. These cheap, low quality imports have caused the local industry to lose just over R2,2 billion in the last year alone. Conversely, [having to export our surplus sugar onto an] over-supplied world market at a significant loss has left local South African [sugar cane] growers with an eroded recoverable value price. Devastatingly, at times the revenue is lower than the cost of producing a crop,” Talmage said.

He added that unless there was a major turnaround in South Africa’s primary sugar value chain, the future of 21 000 small-scale growers, 65 000 farmworkers, and 270 000 indirect jobs, among others, remained in jeopardy.

The Home Sweet Home campaign was kicked off with a promotional billboard on the N3 highway in KwaZulu-Natal, and more were said to follow soon across the country, and would be combined with online advertising.

Talmage urged consumers to buy only sugar marked with the Proudly South African logo and/or with labelling indicating that it was 100% produced in South Africa.

Farmer’s Weekly previously reported that the Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, Ebrahim Patel, said that the sugar master plan “aims to significantly diversify the [sugar cane] value chain away from being almost solely focussed on the production of raw and refined sugar, into one that produces a wide range of globally competitive sugar cane-based products”.

Source: Farmer’s Weekly

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