Economic Transformation

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Economic Transformation

The industry's initiatives in the area of economic transformation could best be summarised under its commitment to Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment, with focus on land reform, agricultural support services, employment equity and enterprise ownership.

Land Reform

The South African sugar industry has long recognised the need to promote diverse ownership of agricultural land under sugarcane and have a range of support instruments in place to promote the sustainability of initiatives aimed at changing the ownership profile of sugarcane land. It is worth mentioning that industry initiatives have contributed significantly to the transfer of 21% of freehold land under sugarcane from white growers to black growers.

Agricultural Support Services

The South African sugar industry has a long history of promoting and supporting small-scale farmers on tribal land. Building on the extensive infrastructure and network of the growers and millers, the industry has been able to engage effectively in ongoing delivery related projects.

Mentorship programmes focussing on business skills and grower support extension services are deployed to support cane growing activities. The South African Cane Growers' Association also provides technical skills training for new and emerging cane growers, accounts and financial management workshops, regional economic advisors, a grower support service officer and access to a special VAT and diesel dispensation for small-scale growers. The South African Cane Growers'

Association has bolstered its regional economic service to provide local level support to new medium-scale black growers who have entered the industry since 1994, including beneficiaries of the government's land reform programme.

The milling companies provide extensive services in support of the cane-growing operations of small- medium- and large-scale black farmers.

The South African Sugar Association provides in-field training to smallscale growers, offers certified courses in sugarcane agriculture and provides technology transfer and extension.

Employment Equity

All participants in the industry promote compliance with the Employment Equity Act, and have integrated Employment Equity and Skills Development Plans in place that are monitored and updated annually. These have targets for recruiting, developing and promoting people from designated groups.

Enterprise Ownership

Participants in the sugar industry have been actively promoting and implementing the objectives of the Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment Act, and the Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment Strategy. Substantial progress has been made towards improving the ownership profile of the industry. Initiatives embarked upon by South African milling companies have resulted in increased black ownership of sugar manufacturing capacity.