South African Smallscale Sugar Growers

This projects aims to uplift local rural small-scale sugar cane farmers in South Africa. The project will improve the farmers' income by developing a market for Fairtrade certified sugar. The project will encourage certification of farmers, which will increase the availability of Fairtrade sugar. Certified farmers receive a minimum price for their product, as well as a Fairtrade Premium which they can invest in their communities.

  • Location
  • Start project
  • Projectstatus
    Needs funding
  • ID: NL-KVK-41177206-C_003698
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South Africa is a major sugar producer, but the position of small-scale growers is very weak. Small-scale sugar growers produce only 8,26% of the total sugar cane production.
Poor infrastructure, limited resources, lack of inputs, limited knowledge or
information, and weak organisational structures are problems that smallscale
farmers are facing.

With this project ICCO supports the organization Fairtrade Label South Africa in developing a local Fairtrade supply chain for South African small-scale sugar growers. Currently, there is a growth in local demand for Fairtrade and ethical and sustainable products.

Together with ICCO, Fairtrade Label South Africa will provide training and technical assistance
to farmers, in order to get the farmers Fairtrade certified. Farmers who are certified, receive a minimum Fairtrade price for their product. In addition, they receive a Fairtrade Premium, which is an additional sum of money which goes into a communal fund for workers and farmers to use – as they see fit – to improve their social, economic and environmental conditions.

To realize the objectives of the program and to develop the local fair trade supply chain, the following activities will be implemented:

1. Producer Development: identification of smallholder farming group, training in
Fairtrade Standards and Certification, achievement of certification.
2. Market Development: creation of a Fairtrade sugar business opportunity for local
and multinational brands, assistance with supply chain development and sales.
3. Marketing: increasing awareness about Fairtrade sugar among consumers.
South African Smallscale Sugar Growers

Target group

The project targeted 465 small-scale sugar cane farmers in KwaZulu-Natal.

Small - scale sugar farmers in South Africa have to deal with many challenges : from poor infrastructure, limited resources, lack of implements, limited knowledge or information, weak organizational structures as well as challenges relating to finding ways to increase the quality of sugarcane and improving yields .

Results: due to challenges encountered in organising the original group of farmers in the first year of project implementation, the project has reached 230 small-scale farmers, who are now Fairtrade certified.


In order to contribute to the success and long-term sustainability of this project, is to find was the
a market for the newly certified Fairtrade sugar.

Activities are undertaken to create market access, such as market development and promotion activities.

Over a period of 2 years, Fairtrade sugar was promoted with 20 clippings on important local media such as News24, City Press, Farmers Weekly and Business Day5. The coverage has reached at least 5 million South Africans (estimation).

The fruits of the project's market development and business PR work were realised in December
2015, when Fairtrade finalised an agreement with Mondelez South Africa who is utilising the locally
produced Fairtrade sugar in their Cadbury Dairy Milk plain chocolate slabs.

Goals overview

The main goal of the project was to uplift 465 local rural small-scale sugar cane farmers by developing the market for Fairtrade certified sugar in South Africa.

At the end of the project, the following objectives have been reached:

1. 230 small-scale farmers are Fairtrade certified*
2. The Noodsberg Mill is Fairtrade certified
3. A sustainable market for 1500MT of Fairtrade sugar in SA is realised
4. PR campaign for Fairtrade sugar is implemented

* Due to challenges encountered in organising the original group of farmers in the first year of project implementation, the project has reached 230 small-scale farmers, instead of 465.
The ones helping out with this project

The donors

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