FESTIVE season is all about the delicious food and sweets shared with family.
But much of what we love to eat would not be possible without sugar – but before it ends up in our mouths, a lot of work goes into making it happen.
The South African Sugarcane Association hosted its annual media tour on sugar production.
Mzansi’s sugar association is a R12-billion industry that is consistently ranking in the top 15 out of about 120 sugar producers worldwide.
Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal are our two top sugar-producing provinces.
This industry provides employment in many job-starved regions – often in deep rural areas where there is little other economic activity or employment opportunities.
The industry provides education and training, contributes to excellence in research, science and technology, supporting enterprises, and making sure that they operate a sustainable use of natural resources.
Other technological opportunities for the sugar-producing industry which will contribute further to South Africa’s economic growth ahead include renewable energy production.
According to Trix Trikam, the sugar association’s executive director, sugar ane is grown by around 24 000 registered sugar cane farmers who are predominantly found in KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga. There is also some sugar cane production in Eastern Cape.
“Sugar is manufactured by six milling companies with 14 sugar mills operating in the cane-growing regions. The industry produces an average of 2,2 million tons of sugar a season.
“About 75% of this sugar on average is marketed in the Southern African Customs Union.
The remainder is exported to markets in Africa, Asia and the US.”
The sugar association recently made a historic appointment when the South African Farmers’ Development Association selected Lee Hlubi as their deputy chairman.
Hlubi, who became the first black woman to hold the position in the industry’s century-long existence, said there are a lot of changes that need to be made and that she is the right woman to do the job right.
Chef Jenny Morris was also there to showcase a few food demonstrations and easy recipes from her top-selling cookbook, Yumcious.