Thousands of sugar cane farmers from the province may lose theirjobs ifthe problem of sugar imports is not resolved soon. The workers and unions were recently part of the march to the Department of Trade and Industry demanding that a tariff on sugar be reinstated to protect the domestic industry from cheap imports.
The South African Sugar Association (SASA) said at least 1 600 cane growers and industry leaders would take part in the march and the opposition Democratic Alliance said it would also participate. SASA said the sugar industry was on the brink of collapse due to an influx of imports as a result of low duty which currently stands at $566/t. It urged the government to increase the tariffto $856/t.
“Approximately 25% of the total market has been overtaken by foreign sugar, and the industry revenue has declined by R2.3-billion,” SASA said in a statement. “This is taking exporting jobs to other countries. “It warned of a collapse of the industry if the situation was not addressed soon, leading to job losses in a sector that employs 85 000 people.