Tongaat Hulett accord with Ingonyama Trust
IOL Business - May 2nd, 10:40
JSE-LISTED sugar giant Tongaat Hulett has signed a landmark agreement with the Ingonyama Trust Board (ITB) to develop the sugar sector on tribal land in KwaZulu-Natal.
The agreement was signed at the group’s Amanzimnyama head office in Tongaat with Ingonyama Trust Board bosses.
Tongaat Hulett chief executive Peter Staude said the accord was in support of emerging farmers and the government’s rural development programme. He said because of various industry issues the company had a gap in the supply of sugar cane from farmers to its sugar mills and there was an opportunity for rural people to fill this gap by farming sugar cane.
“We are proud to be the partner of choice with the ITB… Tongaat Hulett has a strategic imperative to match sugar cane supplies to its existing milling capacity and to promote the company’s renewable energy agenda,” he said.
“Tongaat Hulett recognises that the major growth potential for these sugar cane supplies will originate from previously disadvantaged individuals, particularly rural communities living on ITB landholdings… Through such partnerships we can close the gap in cane supply and create much-needed rural jobs,” added Staude.
The company has more than 500 000 hectares of sugar cane under cultivation in South Africa. About 2.7 million hectares of land comes under the Ingonyama board in KwaZulu-Natal and is administered by traditional leaders.
Robin Raubenheimer, an Ingonyama board member, said the partnership agreement with Tongaat Hulett had the full support of King Goodwill Zwelithini and local amakhosi. He said as the government’s land redistribution policy was being refined, “win-win” partnerships such as the agreement with Tongaat Hulett were needed.
Board member Tshitshi Mbatha said she hoped the partnership would help break the cycle of poverty in rural areas.
Nkonzo Mhlongo, Tongaat Hulett’s socio-economic development manager, said the company had a long relationship with the board. This had resulted in the creation of 54 cane farming co-operatives in rural areas, affecting the lives of more than 5 000 people.
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