The South African sugar industry could take years to recover from the effects of the 2015-16 drought which has led to the industry failing to meet export orders. SA is a major sugar producer, with the industry contributing 0.6% towards the country’s GDP. The sector is responsible for 85,000 direct and 350,000 indirect job opportunities with export earnings of R2.5bn a year. Sugar cane is grown and processed mostly in KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and the Eastern Cape. This week, the South African Sugar Association (Sasa), which represents the industry’s producers said the drought resulted in a 53% decrease in production in some areas, along with the unprecedented closure of two mills, while other mills had a shorter than normal milling season. Sasa executive director Trix Trikam said while the production of sugar was sufficient to supply local demand, export supply had to be curtailed. "We did not export during the drought." In a presentation to Parliament in May, Sasa vice-chairman Sur...

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