In line with its value chain master plan, the sugar industry plans to come up with specialised services and products, including sustainable aviation fuels (SAFs) for visiting jets that have to refuel once they have touched down in Johannesburg, Cape Town or Durban.
This is according to Richard Nicholson, who was an SA Cane Growers panellist in an Agri SA-Farmer’s Weekly webinar recently. Since a sharp drop in sugar sales within the Southern African Customs Union in the 2017/2018 season, the industry has made slow but steady progress to regain lost ground. The industry’s attempts to bolster demand came amidst the introduction of a “sugar tax” in 2018, which made sugar roughly 200% more expensive for the sweetened beverage manufacturers, who then switched to artificial sweeteners.
Moreover, the local industry had to deal with excess production around the world as a result of subsidies, a problem with dumping and a drop in recent years in the so-called recoverable value (RV) producer’s price for sugar cane. The latter has subsequently recovered to R5 000 per tonne for 2020/2021, which is just higher than the R4 931 of the 2016/2017 season. Meanwhile the international sugar price has also shown an increase.
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