The Canegrowing Association says the sugar tax has squeezed the market for locally produced sugar and cost the industry more than 16,000 jobs.

South Africa became the first country on the continent to introduce a sugar tax as a health promotion levy in 2018. Sugar tax applies to drinks with more than 4g of sugar per 100ml.

While US opponents often criticize sugar taxes for their economic impact on jobs in the beverage industry, the impact in South Africa goes further back in the raw material supply chain.

South Africa is a major sugar producer: the industry consistently ranks in the top 15 sugar producing countries worldwide. Moreover, it is the lifeblood of many rural communities (one million livelihoods depend on it, according to figures from the South African Sugar Association).

Under pressureI

According to the SA Sugar Association, annual sugar production in South Africa has fallen by about 25 percent over the past 20 years, from 2.75 million to 2.1 million tonnes a year. master plan.I

During this period, the number of sugarcane growers has decreased by 60 percent, and jobs related to the sugar industry are estimated to have decreased by 45 percent.

But the industry has already faced major challenges for several years: from prolonged droughts to cheap sugar imports and low global sugar prices.

Add to this the health promotion levy, the industry faces an increase in the levy due next year.

SA Canegrowers’ newly elected board chair, Higgins Mdluli, says the sugar tax has squeezed the market for locally produced sugar and cost the industry more than 16,000 jobs.



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