The deadening effect of dumped sugar imports on the industry are illustrated in the year-end results released in May by Tongaat Hulett, one of SA’s major sugar producers. Despite a recovery in production after years of drought, revenues and profits were down because of high volumes of imported sugar. The sugar industry has huge growth potential through expansion in local and regional markets as well as diversification into new areas. It is instead being hobbled by imports of subsidised sugar and inefficient, slow regulatory support. The dumping, mainly from Brazil, raised sugar imports in 2017 to more than 500,000 tonnes. This is a result of a failure of tariff responsiveness to protect the industry, and an inadequate policy framework to deal with it. It has created an immediate crisis, as the Tongaat Hulett results illustrate. Longer term, the industry’s survival depends on diversification into new industries. Here again there are policy failures, including the lack of a mandatory ...

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