Illovo’s small Small-Scale Grower Cane Development Project has created more than 860 jobs in KwaZulu-Natal and doubled the sugar producer’s Sezela factory supply of sugarcane over a three-year period.
The sugar producer roped in 1 704 growers to produce sugar cane on 3 000 hectares of communal land. The development was funded by Illovo’s R63-million grant that matched another R63-million grant provided by National Treasury’s Job Fund.
Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development minister Thoko Didiza lauded the project following a site visit on Tuesday, where she met the growers. However, she said, the contribution of black commercial farmers to South Africa’s country’s agricultural economy is still low and requires further intervention from the government and the industry.
Illovo Sugar’s managing director Mamongae Mahlare said: “The confidence of the Jobs Funds which met us halfway with concessional funding, and the support of other stakeholders including the SA Canegrowers Association and the South African Farmers Development Association, have been integral to this revolutionary project.”
The head of the Jobs Fund, Najwa Allie-Edries, who was also at the event, said creative solutions are needed to enable farmers to have long-term access to land.
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