Message from theExecutive editor
Portia Mpofu
External Affairs Director
South African Sugar Association


The sugar industry is under siege!

An unprecedented high volume of sugar imports has entered our shores in the 2017/2018 season, resulting in a major loss of South African local market share. Approximately 25% of the total market has been overtaken by foreign sugar, and our industry revenue has declined by R2.3 billion. This is like exporting jobs to other countries.  As a result, the industry has been forced to reduce prices to unsustainable levels to be competitive. Brazil, Guatemala, UAE and Thailand have accounted for more than 90% of the deep-sea imports.


Our cover article zooms in on the industry’s efforts to get the reference price increased to an adequate and appropriate level. The industry’s efforts have seen the South African Sugar Association (SASA) and industry leadership (including growers and millers) engage President Cyril Ramaphosa, Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies, KwaZulu-Natal provincial government, and Agriculture and Rural Development MEC Themba Mthembu and Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry, which is chaired by Joanmariae Fubbs. We remain optimistic that, with the continued support of government and Parliament, a positive outcome is on the horizon.


The industry is currently undergoing a major transformation phase. We bring you an article on the industry’s multi-million rand transformation plan – the industry has committed a total of R172 million for immediate interventions for the benefit of more than 20 000 black small-scale farmers! The plan will also see the industry committing additional resources to address the urgent need for enhancing the skills development and jobs for black industry stakeholders (with a specific focus on black youth and women).


History has been made in the sugar industry and the South African Sugar Journal is here to record it. Illovo SA’s MD Mamongae Mahlare is the first woman MD of a sugar producer in South Africa! This chemical engineer and Harvard educated executive has a wealth of general management, commercial, operational and engineering experience from roles at SABMiller, Tanzania Breweries Ltd, Unilever and Coca Cola Beverages Africa.


For more up-to-date industry related stories, read on. This edition of the South African Sugar Journal has all the relevant information you need about the country’s sugar sector.


Portia Mpofu

External Affairs Director

South African Sugar Association

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