Sugar is one of southern Africa’s main agricultural crops. For example, in South Africa, sugar’s contribution to gross domestic product (GDP) is estimated at R14 billion. The sugar industry is a major employer in sugar-growing areas like KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga.
The industry provides significant employment, mostly in job-starved rural areas and has a major impact on the economies of rural towns. The sugar industry in South Africa employs 80 000 people directly, and indirectly provides work for a further 350 000 people. It is estimated that more than 1,000, 000 South Africans are dependent on the sugar industry for their family’s livelihood.