Hundreds of sugar cane farmers from KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga provinces will on Tuesday march to the Department of Trade and Industry in Tshwane demanding that a tariff on sugar be reinstated to protect the domestic industry from cheap imports.
The South African Sugar Association (SASA) said at least 1 600 cane growers and industry leaders would take part in the march and the opposition Democratic Alliance said it would also participate.
SASA said the sugar industry was on the brink of collapse due to an influx of imports as a result of low duty which currently stands at $566/t.
It urged the government to increase the tariff to $856/t.
"Approximately 25% of the total market has been overtaken by foreign sugar, and the industry revenue has declined by R2.3-billion," SASA said in a statement. "This is taking exporting jobs to other countries."
It warned of a collapse of the industry if the situation was not addressed soon, leading to job losses in a sector that employs 85 000 people.