13-14 September 1999 (M'babane, Swaziland)


6. The Consultation heard country statements from participants on issues, constraints and policy options with regard to their respective industries.

7. It was evident from the presentations that the sugar industry was of the utmost importance to the economies of the majority of the ACP States. It had firm linkages with several other major economic activities.

8. The sugar industry clearly played a significant part in all aspects of the social and economic life of the States concerned, and the delegations emphasized the need for the survival and strengthening of this vital industry.

9. Participants stressed the absolute imperative that the benefits of the SP and the SPS Agreement be preserved and enhanced. The need for reform and rationalization of the various industries was recognized as essential. Several issues and constraints common to the broad majority of the Sugar Protocol States were highlighted. The major broad areas of concern were as follows:

  • high production costs and declining crop yields
  • negative pressures on agricultural land use stemming from urbanization
  • declining investment due to a sense of uncertainty in the sugar environment
  • economic and logistical problems with irrigation
  • ageing mills and related operational equipment
  • vagaries of weather
  • high cost of inland and sea transport
  • urgent need for upgrading agronomic techniques, fertilizer use, pest control
  • problems related to disposal of mill effluents and solid wastes
  • soil erosion which greatly hampered output.

10. The respective States had adopted or expressed a commitment to adopt a wide range of policies to directly address some of these challenges and to meet the overarching objective of improving efficiency and productivity of their sugar industries.

11. To address efficiency and improved productivity, the measures being undertaken included the:

  • Rationalization and improvement of factory performance
  • Privatization
  • Strengthening of agricultural services and upgrading of research and development efforts
  • Establishment of national training institutes with a view to national capacity building in all aspects of sugar cultivation and manufacturing
  • Adapting appropriate technology in both field and factory
  • Investment in irrigation and drainage to counter the effects of adverse weather conditions
  • Fiscal and other measures to check the encroachment of urbanization on sugar lands
  • Revision of cane payment systems including payment based on quality
  • Adopting selective use of mechanization of field operations