Outgrower Initiatives Hit the Mark

Tuesday, 29 April 2014
Illovo Sugar Ltd

"Total cane supplies from these small and medium-scale growers amounted to approximately 4.2 million tons, generating revenue of R1.697 billion."

ILLOVO’S support of outgrower cane initiatives continues to gain momentum across the group, so much so that in the 2012/13 season, total cane supplies from these small and medium-scale growers amounted to approximately 4.2 million tons, generating revenue of R1.697 billion. In turn, this revenue promotes economic growth, enterprise development and job creation through support services such as cane hauling and land preparation within our surrounding communities. This short feature takes a snapshot of recent achievements in this area:

IN Tanzania, The Kilombero Community Trust celebrates a decade of partnership, having been established in 2002/03 to promote sustainable economic enterprises within the Ruaha valley community. Through hands-on projects to increase the quantity, quality and reliable supply of cane to Kilombero’s two factories, the Trust’s goal was to generate sufficient income for the development of what is a remote and rural area. Drawing on all available linkages through our partners, the Trust benefited originally from a €6.573 million grant from the EU, going on to achieve the following milestones over the past 10 years:

  • The development of rural infrastructure, including the rehabilitation of 62 km of roads, out of a total target of 125 km. This has improved the reliability and timeliness of cane deliveries to the mills and has brought about an overall reduction in cane transport costs, vehicle wear and tear and vehicle turn-around times;
  • The considerable strengthening of outgrower association capacity through the engagement and support of locally-based farming organisations, local area officers and village agricultural extension officers, together with the creation of a Farmers’ Field School to provide agricultural training and extension services to improve outgrower cane husbandry practices; and
  • The continued increase in outgrower cane supplies which, by way of example, increased by 17% to 583 000 tons in 2012/13 compared to the previous year.
  • Throughout this process, Illovo has provided a wide range of technical and physical support particularly in respect of land levelling, soil texture analysis, pests and disease surveys, advice on drainage and irrigation, mapping services and surveying and collation of harvesting data, together with assistance to secure development loans and grants and the provision of financial and administrative support.

Other notable developments include:

  • The first full commercial harvest of cane from The Kaombe Trust farm in Malawi. In 2012, the Trust invested around R85 000 into market infrastructure and is in the process of developing an integrated development programme incorporating health, education, environment and income generation projects;

In Swaziland, we continue our partnership with LUSIP. This large-scale irrigation programme initiated by the government of Swaziland and supported by a major capacity expansion of our Ubombo mill at Big Bend, is providing a comprehensive small-scale grower intervention with future potential to develop additional agricultural land for small-scale farmers. Through their increasing cane deliveries, sugar production at Ubombo is expected to exceed 300 000 tons in the medium-term;

ABOVE: CANE supplies delivered by outgrowers to Kilombero’s two factories in 2012/13 increased to 583 000 tons, representing a 17% increase compared to last year.

In Zambia, outgrower cane development and expansion initiatives continued to deliver positive results with 1.304 million tons of cane delivered to our Nakambala factory in 2012/13, representing a 13% increase in total cane supply year-on-year. This good performance included cane supplied from the Magobbo Project, involving 94 outgrowers who produced 72 000 tons of cane at an average annual yield of 166 tons of cane on 430 hectares of land; and

In South Africa, several investment grants amounting to more than R150 million have been allocated to small-scale growers by South African provincial and national governments for development schemes which are administered and managed by ourselves on behalf of the growers. This forms part of ongoing initiatives coordinated by Illovo SA and local cane-growing bodies to increase cane supply from the small-scale grower sector and includes rehabilitation of existing land under cane, as well as the development of new land to sugar cane agriculture.

This significant growth in the volume of sugar cane supplied by outgrower schemes, amounting to almost 30% of total cane throughput, reflects our commitment to supporting the development of sustainable, commercially-directed farming business models and governance systems in our farming communities.


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