The industry is still not out of the woods yet! One of the medium-to-long-term solutions to ensure the sustainability and survival of this crisis-stricken industry is diversification – producing fuel ethanol and electricity from sugarcane. There is some good news… the plans to diversify are gaining momentum. The cover story sheds more light on this significant progress and learn more about the benefits of diversification.
A recent Sugar Industry Information Day at the Royal Show in Pietermaritzburg saw industry leaders discuss ways to save the industry, looking at possible immediate and long-term solutions. There was a resounding consensus that the local market needs to be increased as a matter of urgency. Previously, about 75% was supplied to the local market with only 25% sold onto the loss-making export markets. But in the last two seasons, the industry has supplied only 56% to the local market, with a staggering 44% forced into export markets. This is catastrophic for the industry. The event was organised by Farmer’s Weekly magazine.
This issue also carries an update on the longhorn beetle. The incursion of the longhorn beetle (Cacosceles newmannii) into sugarcane in the South African sugar industry in the Entumeni district in Zululand necessitated one of the most extensive pest containment exercises ever launched by this industry. We bring you the latest information on the matter.
With regards to the industry’s transformation efforts, the South African Sugar Association held successful Mill Group Board (MGB) workshops on, among others, the impact of the transitional arrangements on the MGB rules and the sugar industry’s five-year transformation plan. We have the fly-on-the-wall account of what happened at these critical workshops.
We will let you in on something big – a seed funding from SASA and other partners has led to a ground-breaking study on diabetes and Africans. The study has been published in highly respected medical journals such as Nature, Diabetelogia and Clinical Epidemiology with early results showing that there are differences between the European and African populations when it comes to the risk of developing diabetes.
The perennial Selati Cup Final, sponsored by RCL FOODS, was an edge-of-your-seat thriller! Fasten your seatbelts as we take you on a rollercoaster ride that was this final match.
To read more stories, just turn the pages.
External Affairs Director
South African Sugar Association