Cane production although being 13% below a normal season has recovered 15% at an industry level compared to the previous season.
The greatest improvement has been in the dryland production areas which have recovered 18% year-on-year. The irrigated areas were affected by the drought in the previous season as severe water restrictions in the Malalane, Komatipoort and Pongola supply areas took their toll on grower recovery. The irrigated area has recovered by 7% compared to last season, however, is still 22% down compared to a normal season.
From a macro perspective, SA Canegrowers has been working to strengthen its relationships with organised agriculture this year, to ensure that the voice of the sugarcane farmer is heard.
There are a number of socio-political matters affecting the economic landscape in the country and it is important that we engage with government and civil society processes to ensure the sustainability of all operations and communities.
A recent study commissioned by the industry has shown how our sugarcane farming operations, from commercial to small-scale growers, are intricately linked to the communities in which we live and contribute to economically. As growers, we remain determined to ensure the sustainability of these communities, and the investment into both their formal and informal economies.
Many economists and analysts are of the opinion that the macro environment will remain challenging in the short to medium-term, and I would like to take this opportunity to assure all our stakeholders, particularly growers, that focus has been and will continue to be on ensuring the sustainability of sugarcane farmers.
I wish all our stakeholders well over the year-end break and look forward to returning refreshed to face the challenges of 2018.
SA Canegrowers Chairman