The Midlands Sustainable Sugar Supply Chain Collaboration (known as “The Collaboration”) was established in 2014. It is a multi-stakeholder group of key players in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands sugarcane region delivering sustainability services to sugarcane growers free of charge. The foundation of the collaboration is SUSFARMS® – the SA sugar industry’s sustainability management system. One of the main purposes of the collaboration is to promote sustainable sugarcane supply chains and support the implementation of SUSFARMS® in the region.
SUSFARMS® is a tool that facilitates the production of sugarcane in a profitable, sustainable and environmentally responsible manner. It consists of a comprehensive collection of guidelines for sugarcane farming, and distinguishes between prac-tices that are either legal requirements (laid out in the law) or best management practices derived from scientific studies.
The SUSFARMS® system also includes an assessment tool known as a Progress Tracker. This allows a grower to determine his/her current performance against a set of measures and offers advice on how to improve the situation. The results of a completed assessment allows the grower to highlight his/her strengths and weaknesses and to develop a plan to correct any obvious deficiencies. Implementation of the system by the grower should result in improved performance in the environmental, social and economic spheres.
The results of the Progress Tracker may also provide the local sugarcane Extension Specialist with information that will guide the development of a focussed programme of work, direct new technology development and promote adoption of better practices.