The provisional recoverable value price of sugar from cane delivered in January 2015 for the 2014/15 season increased to R3 359.21/t, after a R1.18 increase in December 2014, according to the South African Cane Growers Association (Canegrowers).
Canegrowers attributes the increase to a decrease of 2 835 t in sugar production of month-on-month, compounded by a higher average world market price in January and the weaker rand:dollar exchange rate.
The association also states that local cane growers have reported year-on-year reductions in crop production, owing to rains that came later than expected for the planting season. For instance, Canegrowers states that the Empangeni region has reported a 40% crop reduction year-on-year.
“While cane growers are continuing with planting and fertiliser operations for this season’s crop, soil temperatures are low, hindering growth conditions. In addition, there are large areas where cane roots have died because of the dry conditions and, coupled with two years of reduced yields, this has resulted in costly and significant replant programmes that would normally occur only over an eight- to ten-year cycle,” explains Canegrowers.
The association represents about 23 866 private sugar cane growers, many of whom run small family-owned farms that collectively produce an average of 20-million tons a year of sugar cane and contribute about R7-billion a year to the economy. These growers mainly operate in rural areas.
Canegrowers announced the appointment of Nhlanhla Gumede as its new MD earlier this month. Gumede is taking over the reins from David Wayne, who will retire at the end of this month after 32 years at Canegrowers.
Gumede is a BSc graduate, with a master’s degree in business administration and extensive experience in the mining industry. He previously worked for the former Department of Minerals and Energy and managed his own management consultancy business, which focused on the energy and petroleum industries.
Gumede is looking forward to joining the Canegrowers team and taking the company to new heights.
Canegrowers coordinates training and capacity-building support programmes for its sugar cane growers. It also assists growers in sourcing funding from the sugar industry’s Grower Development Account and external funding agencies. The association also coordinates training, which is offered through training institution Shukela Training Centre.
Canegrowers says South Africa’s sugar cane growing and milling history dates back more than 150 years, with the first grower organisation founded in 1877. Canegrowers was established in 1927 to unify the voice of cane growers. At the time, there were also various other associations representing cane growers from the Zulu, Indian and Coloured sugar cane communities. This led to a fragmented and nonunified cane growing industry and one voice was needed to speak on behalf of all cane growers, resulting in the establishment of Canegrowers.