Wednesday, 08 April 2015
Illovo Sugar Ltd


NOODSBERG and the Midlands have this past winter experienced the worst frost in (some say) the past 40 years. It has caused considerable damage to the current and next year’s cane crop.

The damaged cane needed to be harvested within a few weeks, depending on the stage of damage, as it will then start to deteriorate in quality and will have to be rejected, as the mill would not be able to process the damaged cane. There were various agreements between growers, the Mill Group Board and the Mill on how to cope with the sheer volume of cane and the quickest way to deal with the damage. One of the initiatives was that the Small Scale Growers (SSG), who typically suffered little or no frost damage, would stop harvesting for two weeks and give their allocation to the affected commercial growers.

The Small Scale contractors, led by their chairperson Maxwell Gumede, discussed the matter with the Mill Cane Committee and it was agreed that they would come and assist with their harvesting, loading and haulage teams as this would reduce the capacity problem that had now occurred.

On 15 August the SSG contractors started harvesting and hauling with a commercial grower. This type of commitment by the SSG community has never been experienced in the Noodsberg cane growing area before. Our thanks go to Maxwell Gumede, Mzwemali Thusi (the MCC chairperson) and the whole SSG community for their understanding and goodwill in promoting greater co-operation in the Noodsberg cane growing area.

SMALL SCALE growers haulage and harvesting contractors, with (third from left) Maxwell Gumede, SSG contractors’ chairperson.



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