The creation of an organisation aimed at assisting black South African sugar cane farmers and ensuring a “better future” for them was announced at the 2018 annual meeting of SA Canegrowers (SACG) in Durban.

Breaking the news of the significant development, SACG Chairman, Graeme Stainbank said the new body – SA Canegrowers Development – would be funded by SA Canegrowers.

“The development organisation will be used as our vehicle to deliver a better future for all black grower members,” said Stainbank.

“It will address issues of tenure security and support multi-enterprise business development for improved profitability and food security, thereby improving sustainable livelihoods and job creation.

“It will further develop products such as the SACG benefits scheme for small-scale growers, currently being rolled-out in Noodsberg.” The SACG Benefits scheme was launched late last year, providing cover to almost 10 000 employees and their dependents. The scheme builds financial inclusion for the industry, offering competitive rates for both small scale growers and farmworkers. To date 20 claims have paid, to the value of R400 000, assisting farmworkers and their families in giving their loved ones a dignified farewell.

The scheme, which is a first for the agricultural sector, offers a single cost structure for all members, thereby leveraging economies of scale and ploughs a portion of profits back to the industry in enhanced benefits, once the establishment costs are recovered. A comprehensive rollout process involving extensive consultation with both farmers and their staff builds financial literacy and an understanding of benefits.

Installation follows a three-step process. The initial step requires employer agreement to join the scheme and set contribution levels. Next a workshop is conducted explaining benefits to the farm workers. The final stage is an individual consultation with each farm worker where they are assisted to complete their application form with a financial advisor, who answers any questions and provides advice. All consultations with the workers are conducted in their home language, and scheme documents are issued in isiZulu.

The benefit programme is structured with a base benefit that is compulsory for all members and provides farmworkers and their dependents with funeral cover for their families. Premiums for funeral cover are extremely competitive, with benefits of R25 000 for a worker starting at R37.50 monthly, rising to R62.50 monthly for a member and their immediate family. Over and above the base benefit, the programme enables members to add additional voluntary benefits for extended family members and a limited term pension for dependents on the death of the worker. For the first time in the sugar cane industry, seasonal workers can be covered for funeral benefits. Premiums for seasonal workers are paid in advance, in three-month blocks with premiums starting at R112.50 quarterly. A worker can buy up to 4 blocks in advance.

Also at the AGM, Zululand sugar farmer Dipuo Ntuli was elected joint vice-chairman of SA Canegrowers (SACG) – the first black African to hold the position in the organisation’s 91-year history – alongside Rex Talmage. Eston grower, Graeme Stainbank was re-elected Chairman.

For further information on the benefit scheme contact 081-307 1145 or info@mihr.co

 

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