Cane Growing in South Africa

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Cane Growing in South Africa

The approximately 22 500 registered sugarcane growers annually produce on average 19 million tons of sugarcane from 14 mill supply areas, extending from Northern Pondoland in the Eastern Cape to the Mpumalanga Lowveld. Approximately 21 110 are small-scale growers, of whom 12 507 delivered cane last season, producing 9,4% of the total crop.

There are approximately 1 383 large-scale growers (inclusive of 323 black emerging farmers) who produce 83,3% of total sugarcane production. Milling companies with their own sugar estates produce 7,94% of the crop.


The South African Cane Growers' Association (CANEGROWERS) was established in 1927 to administer the interests of independent sugarcane growers. CANEGROWERS is a Section 21 Company (incorporated not for gain) and individual growers are members through the 26 grower groups which make up the member organisations of CANEGROWERS. In each mill area all member organisations are represented by a Local Grower Council.

The democratic nature of the representation structure allows for the election of any individual cane farmer to the Executive Committee or Chairmanship of the organisation. This, typically, would be through a region's Local Farmers' Association, its Local Grower Council, the centrally based Board of Directors (54 members) from which a Chairman and Vice-Chairman are elected annually, and finally to the Executive Committee (11 members). An Executive Director, management team and staff administer the day to day business of CANEGROWERS, to:

  • ensure that cane growers receive fair value for their sugar cane;
  • provide cane growers with relevant research, data and support services to facilitate successful farming regions;
  • ensure that CANEGROWERS is recognised by all stakeholders as the duly mandated and effective representative of all cane growers in South Africa