Welcome to 2019 and may we take this opportunity to wish you all a prosperous and successful year ahead from the team at the Shukela magazine.
Before we get into what lies ahead for the publication this year, we thank everyone in South Africa’s sugar industry who supported the magazine in 2018, not only through advertising but also by allowing our writers to visit and report on farms and factories across the country’s sugarcane growing and processing regions.
The Shukela magazine has a long history of filling an important gap by communicating the stories of the people who work every day for the good health and growth of the South African sugar industry.
In our view, 2019 is going to be an interesting and exciting year as the industry – in partnership with the South African Government – plans the way forward for a sector facing various challenges which include the increase in cheap imports into the country, over supply across the globe due to an increase in sugar beet production in the European Union, and increased production in countries such as Thailand and India.
Also, the industry has had to come to terms with increasing anti-sugar marketing campaigns which have resulted in a downward trend in sugar consumption in the developed world.
Demand for the product, however, remains buoyant on the African continent despite the flood of contraband sugar across the borders of countries such as Malawi, Kenya, Mozambique and Zambia.
This year countries in the South African Development Community (SADC) will most certainly continue to find new and exciting ways to maintain sugarcane’s status as a dynamic and critical contributor to the region’s economy.
Through both our annual SADC Sugar Digest and the quarterly Shukela magazine, we aim to shine a light on this good work wherever it takes place, be it in the research laboratories, the mills or in the fields.
We look forward to writing about the progress on value-add processing which could include bio-plastics and fuel-grade ethanol – exciting concepts with the potential to contribute to employment and the greening of South Africa’s economy.
We are genuinely excited about what could well be a watershed year for sugar production in South Africa and on the African continent.
Gareth Wright – Editor
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