R43 million top-up payment will assist black growers affected by Covid-19

SA Canegrowers fully supports the recent decision taken at a meeting of the South African Sugar Association (SASA) Council to allocate R43 million towards top-up payments for black small-scale growers for the remainder of the 2020/2021 season. This is to assist small-scale growers who have been hard hit by the Covid-19 pandemic and the national lockdown over the past few months.

This R43 million top-up is over and above R157 million that has already been disbursed for black grower support and development programmes during the current financial year.

While the sugar industry was considered an essential service under the Covid-19 lockdown, the sugar industry is in crisis and this has been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic that still had a negative impact on cane growers, particularly small-scale growers. In particular, interruptions to the availability of farm labour, the disruption of markets and lack of resources to safeguard against the spread of the virus had a negative financial impact on many black growers.

That is why SA Canegrowers, as part of the South African Sugar Association, made a decision to support the allocation of an additional R43 million for small-scale grower support during the current financial year.

The R43 million will be allocated across two current black grower support programmes:

  *  R27 million (63.1%) will be allocated to intervention one, which provides grant funding for growers delivering under 1 800 tons of cane; and
  *  R16 million (36.84%) will be allocated to intervention two, which provides grant funding to black growers delivering above 1800 tons of cane.

This increase in funding will result in black growers qualifying for intervention one receiving R35.95 per ton of cane delivered (an increase from R24.79 per ton) and increases across the following bands under intervention two:

Bands (tons of cane)

1800.001 – 5000.000 tons

5000.001 – 13 000.000 tons

13000.001 tons and above

Original estimated rate per ton
R45
R15.60
R6.00
Revised estimated rate per ton
R62.77*
R27.22*
R8.10

*This is a variable rate depending on the tonnages delivered by the grower.

SA Canegrowers have long recognised the foundational role played by small-scale growers in the sugar industry value chain. It is imperative we do what we can to protect the livelihoods of the thousands of black growers who have been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

We also remain committed to working with national government and our industry counterparts over the coming months to develop a comprehensive plan to support small-scale growers under the recently finalised Sugar Industry Masterplan.