Small Scale Growers
Umfolozi Sugar Mill has approximately 2,400 active Small Scale Growers and assists them with various initiatives to secure their sustained development. Earlier this year, USM supported our small-scale growers with a South Africa Sugar Association fertiliser scheme during which two cane supply officers were dedicated to the programme for four months, determining fertiliser quantities per grower and arranging delivery to their plots. The small-scale growers also receive assistance with cane harvesting estimates to determine how many tons are likely to come from them so that the intake into the USM mill can be assessed appropriately. USM coaches the farmers in their discussions and negotiations regarding logistics services such as their short haul contractors.
New Freehold (Land Affairs Growers)
USM has ten (10) New Freehold Growers from the Department of Land Affairs with whom the mill is extensively involved with regarding the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR) to manage their Rural Agriculture Development Plan (RADP). USM is a registered strategic partner with the DRDLR and is thus responsible for the running of the programme and has dedicated one of its employees to this project. Key responsibilities include acting as treasurer for this grant funding, the enlisting of suppliers and management of the various recapitalisation requirements as agreed to with the DRDLR. Other support includes assisting the growers in reviewing their harvesting plans and providing advice concerning best farming practices. The annual working hour contributions by USM regarding time dedicated to these projects by employees is R500 000 per year. The company also spent R 2.1million during the 2017/18 season in providing the Small Scale Growers Transport subsidies for those growers that are growing cane in the outlying areas to ease the burden of their transport costs.
The following projects showcase USM’s continued commitment, and social strive on its red-hot community radar. Some of our community projects include the following;
Showing its continued commitment towards community upliftment, Umfolozi Sugar Mill (USM) extended its support to long-time CSI partner, SAPS Mtubatuba. After the mill revamped all staff and public toilets in previous years, they shift their help to tiling the Mtubatuba charge office. The public often sees the charge office as the “face” of the SAPS, and the one at Mtubatuba was a sad sight to behold. The tiles were cracked and the whole area in desperate need of a bit of attention and a more user-friendly makeover. The tiling project cemented the good relations between USM and the local police force.
Science and Maths Tutoring Programme
In April 2016, the maths-supported tutoring programme commenced in partnership with NPO, Flipping Education and a 2Enable Bluetooth-enabled learning device which allows learners with Bluetooth devices such as cell phones and tablets access to maths and science lessons on the curriculum was installed at the Mtubatuba High School. The second device was introduced at the Nkosikayingathi High School in Kwamsane.
Mtubatuba Primary School – Sugar Tournament
USM supports the annual Mtubatuba Sugar Tournament, hosted by Mtubatuba Primary School. The event kicked-off in 1990 and this 28-year-old tradition remains a highlight on the yearly calendar for close to a 1 000 primary school children. During the event, a total of 11 primary schools from Richards Bay to Sodwana Bay take part in hockey, netball and rugby for learners aged between 9-13 from 07:30 - 13:30.
iSimangaliso Book Collection Library Project
USM has partnered with iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority in a project to establish libraries in areas where literacy and access to books are poor. The first two book collection libraries were launched on 12 June 2018 at Mzabalazo Primary School and Gilonki High School, respectively. Most of the library books have an environmental theme, in the hope that we can improve access to information, instil a passion for books and promote a culture of reading.
USM also continue with this vital community project. A total of 2 000 vegetable seedlings were distributed to six previous Mandela Day beneficiaries in support of their feeding schemes. The beauty of this project is that it is a low value and high impact project. It is especially always highly appreciated by the ladies who run the Early Childhood Development Centres.
USM Monzi Agri Show
The USM Monzi Agri Show was held on 13 and 14 April this year in association with the Monzi farmers. The expo started with a morning session including a review of the SA sugar industry. The morning session was followed by speakers highlighting technical information and progress ranging from developing variety specific chemical ripening to long-term rainfall in mill supplying areas and investigating derivatives as a hedging mechanism against droughts and a sustainability system for biogas from sugarcane. A gala dinner followed this serious side of the business in the evening. On Saturday, 14 April local farmers and residents from the area attended a local business exhibition where farming equipment was also on show. The USM Monzi Agri Show is a USM grower relations project.