ILLOVO SA EMPOWERS 

SOUTH COAST BLACK GROWERS


Chris Fitz-Gerald


Through its drive to accelerate the development of emerging black farmers, Illovo Sugar South Africa (Illovo SA) is changing the small-grower landscape for the better on the South Coast of KwaZulu-Natal.





Above: Thulas Ngidi was named and finished as a finalist in the 2017 Toyota New Harvest Competition. 



The company’s initiative aimed at empowering black growers has received a major thumbs-up from government, with the South African National Treasury Jobs Fund granting Illovo SA (a “Level 2” BEE Contributor) an approval to provide capital for its project to develop 3 000 hectares of small-scale grower cane land in the region. Working in partnership with traditional councils, the initiative will see Illovo SA create sustainable employment for black growers and their families, provide training opportunities for rural households and also increase its contribution to stimulating economic activity in deep rural areas.


Developing black commercial growers

In another exciting development, one of the black farmers from the South Coast who is a product of Illovo SA’s commitment to developing black commercial growers was named and finished as a finalist in the 2017 Toyota New Harvest Competition. The competition recognises historically disadvantaged farmers who are achieving new levels of excellence and stand tall as examples of what can be achieved through transformation in the agricultural sector.


“We are thrilled that Thulas Ngidi (a non-executive board member of Illovo SA and former chairperson of Sezela Cane Growers’ Association), a remarkable and dedicated farmer, has been recognised for his good management practices and the resulting enhanced improvement in cane yield. Illovo has worked with Ngidi for almost two decades and we value his insights as part of our wider stakeholder community. We are proud to be associated with him and gratified that our nomination of him for the competition met with the accolades he deserved. Making the top five as a national finalist is no small accomplishment!” says Edgar Bruggemann, Grower Affairs Director at Illovo Sugar SA.


Said Ngidi: “I believe that Illovo SA contributed most to our success through the mentorship, support, training and the workshops that were offered to emerging farmers. 

Said Ngidi: “I believe that Illovo SA contributed most to our success through the mentorship, support, training and the workshops that were offered to emerging farmers. Those of us who had no previous exposure to sugar cane farming were not only able to learn the necessary skills, but to master them. The mentor provided by Illovo fuelled our will to succeed and most importantly, instilled the principle of investing and ploughing back proceeds into our farms to secure even greater successes over the long term.”


Illovo SA has demonstrated its active support of land reform, and government’s social and economic development agenda by:


  • Promoting the productivity and sustainability of redistributed land as part of the land reform programme. To date, Illovo’s own land redistribution initiative has resulted in the sale of 28 086 hectares - comprising 55% of its own land portfolio - to black people and in the process, has facilitated the establishment of more than 50 black commercial farmers
  • Providing extensive support services to black land reform and small-scale growers, helping to improve the livelihoods of rural communities.
  • During the past financial year, and as evidenced in an independent socio-economic impact study of Illovo Sugar Africa across its operating footprint, Illovo SA’s total economic impact on the local economy amounted to approximately R9.6 billion, which includes R1.4 billion resulting from the direct impacts of its business operations in KwaZulu-Natal. Illovo SA is steadfast in its commitment to the success of the government’s land reform programme and as a strategic partner to government, offers comprehensive technical and capacity-building support to black farmers on restituted land.
  • Thulas Ngidi was named and finished as a finalist in the 2017 Toyota New Harvest Competition.


Chris Fitz-Gerald

Chris Fitz-Gerald is Group Communications Manager at
ILLOVO SUGAR AFRICA (PTY) LTD






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