Small-Scale Sugarcane Grower Irrigation Infrastructure Capitalisation Project
Partner name: Akwandze Agricultural Finance
Project name: Small-Scale Sugarcane Grower Irrigation Infrastructure Capitalisation
Funding round: CFP 2
Funding: Jobs Fund grant R50 000 000
Matched Funding R75 000 000
Window: Infrastructure
Location: KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga
Partners: Lima Rural Development Foundation, Mpumalanga Cane Growers Association and TSB Sugar
Problem statement:
In recent years the number of small-scale sugar growers in South Africa has declined by about 33 percent. National sugarcane production has also declined over the same period, evidenced by the drop in produce per hectare and lower levels of saleable sugar. The drop in small-scale sugar growers’ productivity is in part due to a lack of farming experience, poor business skills and limited access to appropriate financing. This has resulted in reduced levels of irrigation infrastructure investment and maintenance, causing further irrigation inefficiencies.
As a sugarcane development finance organisation, Akwandze seeks to negotiate the best terms and manage funds for sugarcane growers. Akwandze has partnered with the Lima Rural Development Foundation, the Mpumalanga Cane Growers Association and TSB Sugar for this project.
The initiative aims to increase the sugarcane production of 1 281 small- to medium-scale black sugarcane farmers in the Nkomazi area from 450 000 to 850 000 tons per year by recapitalising the irrigation infrastructure, which will result in the rehabilitation of 10 000 hectares of sugarcane lands. Akwandze will extend favourable loans to these farmers, allowing them to access production inputs such as plant material, fertiliser and herbicides. Akwandze will also provide farmers with training, on-site technical support and capacity building. The combination of irrigation infrastructure, technical training and support, and access to finance will result in improved sugarcane production methods, and increased production yields and saleable sugarcane to offtake partners, improving revenue generation and sustainable job creation.
Expected results:
New permanent jobs 1 511
Training completed 4 583