Illovo Sugar South Africa (Illovo) has been working with the National Treasury’s Jobs Fund initiative to provide capital for a project to develop 3 000 hectares of uncultivated small-scale grower cane land on the South Coast of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN).
These communal fields owned and operated by the community of KZN are turned into sugar cane farms.
This is part of the country’s largest sugar producer to further supporting the economic growth of rural KZN.
The sugar producer said this three-year project has helped generate employment opportunities for communities in farming as well as secondary activities associated with crop husbandry, crop removal and logistics.
This initiative reaches approximately 2 000 small growers and remits upwards of R68 million per annum into the rural economy.
This will create about 1 100 jobs in areas where the project in being implemented.
Operating mainly in rural KZN, Illovo provides 3 500 direct jobs, with an estimate of seven jobs being supported through outgrower communities and the wider multiplier effects throughout the economy.
In effect, some 25 000 in rural KZN are supported by Illovo.
Further, Illovo also makes a significant downstream economic impact through working with an estimated 200 000 small retailers who sell Illovo SA products within South Africa.
“In the 2017 financial year, Illovo SA’s total economic impact on the local economy was estimated at R9.6 billion, comprising R1.4 billion in direct impacts with the balance resulting from the multiplier effects of its business operations within the supply chain and wider economy,” Mamongae Mahlare, Illovo Sugar SA’s MD said.
“While the beneficiary community is the main target group, the wider local community will benefit from the increased economic activity. Agricultural input suppliers will benefit from additional trade and Illovo SA will receive additional cane supply to strengthen the sugar supply chain,” said Ms Mahlare.
Illovo has also been at the forefront of transforming rural economies through supporting land transformation and ownership of land by black people.
The company’s own land reform programme has seen it sell 28 000 hectares of land to black persons as part of promoting the productivity and sustainability of redistributed land.
To date, Illovo SA’s own land redistribution initiative – comprising 55% of its original land portfolio – has facilitated the establishment of more than 50 black commercial farmers.
“We chose to sell much of our land portfolio to emerging black farmers as part of our commitment to the transformation of the sugar industry in South Africa. It is our approach that to positively impact rural communities we have to leverage our know-how to help develop sustainable economic activity in the areas in which we operate,” said Mahlare.
The company also provides extensive technical, financial and capacity-building support to small-scale growers and new entrants in the industry with the intention of seeing them increase their yield. In the 2016/17 financial year, outgrower farmers supplied Illovo with around 5-million tons of sugar.