The South African Canegrowers Association (SA Canegrowers) has welcomed the call by President Cyril Ramaphosa in his State of the Nation Address for the country's citizens and businesses to buy local sugar.
The association laments that if all South Africans commit to buying local sugar, the one-million livelihoods that depend on the industry will be safeguarded.
In its own efforts to promote localisation, SA Canegrowers in December launched its buy local campaign called Home Sweet Home, which intends to highlight the importance of buying local sugar and the devastating impact that cheap foreign imports has had on jobs in the industry.
The local sugar industry consists of 22 949 growers, of which 21 581 are small-scale growers. The growers directly employ more than 65 000 people, as well as 270 000 people indirectly with jobs across the country, supporting about one-million livelihoods collectively.
SA Canegrowers says it is also important that government action its commitments under the Sugar Masterplan.
Under the first commitment of the plan, government has undertaken to promote the use of local sugar by all its departments and State-owned entities.
Other stakeholders such as retailers and wholesalers, have committed to procuring 80% of their sugar locally, and procuring 95% of their sugar locally by year three.
Together these type of commitments will restore the local market, says SA Canegrowers, including restoring an initial 150 000 t of sugar demand to the local sugar industry in the first two years of the masterplan’s implementation and, ultimately, increasing it to 300 000 t by year three.