Small-Scale Sugar Cane Grower Programme

Small-scale Sugar Cane Grower Programme

Across 10 000 hectares of irrigated lands, small-scale farmers are involved in cane production on 36 co-operative projects that supply the Komati and Malelane sugar mills. These growers’ yields have been declining over time for a number of technical and social reasons, leading them to request assistance from TSB Sugar in achieving long-term sustainability. Through TSB’s funding, Lima has placed three technical facilitators and two agricultural professionals in the field, providing a range of support and institutional change mechanisms to cane growers and their farmers’ associations. Participatory planning workshops are held regularly with farmers to develop solutions and encourage growers to take ownership of the change process. Remedial actions have included reconstitution of farmers’ associations, improving member farmers’ accountability and addressing governance issues. Institutional changes include the introduction of a formal land rental model, consolidation and joint management of individual farming units, as well as improving the management of communal irrigation infrastructure. Responsive business planning has been undertaken as farmer readiness evolves, and in some cases, additional grant funding has been mobilised to establish new projects.

This programme benefits over 1 200 sugar cane farmers, as well as their families and farm workers. A R50million grant from the Jobs Fund will result in the up-grading of irrigation infrastructure on over 3 000 hectares of sugar cane, and these farmers’ crop yield improvements have the potential to generate an additional R120million annually into the local economy.

Lima’s cane grower programme is funded by private sector partner TSB Sugar, in conjunction with the Business Trust through the Shared Growth Challenge Fund, the Sugar Association Small Grower Development Fund and the Jobs Fund.

Mpumalanga: Nkomazi Local Municipality