Social Investment

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Social Investment

The sugar industry's involvement in social investment includes projects in the areas of Enterprise Development, Health and Welfare, and Human Resource Development.


The industry is involved in numerous projects such as the provision of seed funding to assist rural black women, youth and communities to establish co-operatives and to access economic opportunities. The enterprise development programmes seek to accelerate people's access to employment opportunities and increase their participation in the mainstream economy.


The staggering challenge of poverty, HIV and AIDS, unemployment and household food insecurity not only affects the quality of life of the indigent, it also threatens the social stability of these vulnerable communities. Meeting these challenges is a priority of the sugar industry. The industry works in partnership with non-governmental organisations supporting vulnerable communities in order to respond to these issues.


Human resource development is a major area of social investment for the sugar industry. The following initiatives are maintained by the industry to promote human resource development, and are primarily focussed on promoting Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment:

Educational Support

The Sugar Industry Trust Fund for Education (SITFE) was launched in 1965 as a private sector initiative, and is one of South Africa's oldest education and training programmes. To date SITFE has provided bursaries to more than 9 000 students, financed school building projects, given assistance to tertiary institutions, and worked with community-based educational authorities to improve overall education standards.

Agricultural and Engineering Training

The SASA Shukela Training Centre (Pty) Ltd is a wholly owned subsidiary of the South African Sugar Industry. Shukela Training Centre (STC) is a provider of agricultural and engineering training. Based in Mount Edgecombe, with on-campus accommodation, this Institute of Occupational Excellence, so conferred by the AgriSETA, provides training in a wide selection of trades and is a registered de-centralised Trade Test Centre. In 2009 over 300 artisans qualified at STC and 27 learners qualified in the Plant Production Learnership at NQF 4. Many small-scale and new farmers, including farm workers, receive sugarcane husbandry skills training.

Technology Transfer

Research conducted by the South African Sugarcane Research Institute (SASRI) contributes to the profitability and sustainability of the industry whilst encouraging environmentally responsible farming practices. Outputs from the various research programmes at the Institute are transformed into practical knowledge and technology products. Training and development takes place through annual Certificate Courses in Sugarcane Agriculture and through a series of interventions by a network of extension specialists.

The Sugar Milling Research Institute (SMRI) is the central scientific organisation involved in research work and technical services for the southern African sugar manufacturing/milling industries. It was founded in 1949 and is located on the Durban campus of the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

Health Education

The South African Sugar Association's Nutrition Department has developed a programme to communicate science-based information on the role of sugar as part of a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle to health and education professionals and the wider public. The programme contributes to capacity building and continued professional development of these professionals through support of nutrition research, congresses and nutrition education.