Tebogo Msimanga |
Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, Ebrahim Patel on Friday 12 March 2021, held a virtual meeting with farmers, millers, retailers, food producers and trade unions. The meeting provided an update on progress in the implementation of the recently-signed Sugar Master Plan.
Patel said during the pandemic last year, the sugar industry showed signs of growth.
He said the Report indicated a 15% growth in local sugar sales, in an industry that was previously described as facing crisis conditions. “The industry saw increases in purchases of sugar from both the retail and industrial sectors, which includes soft-drink manufacturers.”
Minister Patel added that despite these successes, there are challenges that need to be addressed speedily, to ensure the growth of the sugar industry.
“The industry will need to improve its competitiveness and ability to successfully export to new markets, while providing opportunities for small-scale farmers.’
Patel pointed to the recently-concluded agreement with Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa that committed to buy more sugar from small-scale farmers, as an example of what could be done to broaden the base of the sector.
As part of the Master Plan, industrial users and retailers have agreed to a minimum off-take of sugar for a period of three years, with at least 80% of sugar consumption coming from the local sugar industry and increasing to 95% by 2023.