Tongaat Hulett is an agricultural and agri-processing business which includes integrated components of land management and property development. Through its sugar and starch operations, Tongaat Hulett produces a range of refined carbohydrate products from sugarcane and maize. Renewable energy, in the form of biofuel production and electricity generation, is of increasing importance to the business. The water-food-energy nexus is an evolving dynamic. Tongaat Hulett balances the operational requirement for sugarcane supplies to its cane processing operations with the transition of agricultural land to other uses at the appropriate times. The current focus prioritises the business leveraging its asset base in six SADC countries. Tongaat Hulett is well placed to capitalise on the company’s unconstrained access to sugar markets and its independent position and established business platform and size.
Successfully managing the socio-economic-political dynamics of agriculture, land, water, agri-processing, food and renewable energy are key to the continued success and value creation of the business for all stakeholders. The growth and development of the companys operations, in the selected regions in which it operates, have involved establishing credible partnering relationships with farmers, local communities, Governments and employees. Tongaat Huletts independent status and local ownership is important to the continuation of these relationships.
Tongaat Hulett, through its operations in six Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries, employs more than 42 000 employees during its peak milling season and conducts its business activities in a manner that seeks to create value on a sustainable basis, contributing meaningfully to the social and physical environment in which it operates.
A fundamental shift has been taking place in the global sugar industry as increasing quantities of sugarcane are directed at producing ethanol as an effective carbon dioxide (CO2) mitigation strategy and an alternative to crude oil based fuels. The fibre in sugarcane is increasingly being used for renewable electricity generation, providing additional revenue streams for producers in countries like Brazil and India. The global demand for sugar continues to grow at an average of 2 percent per annum, which currently equates to 3,2 million tons of sugar. Traditionally, the growing demand for sugar worldwide has been met by Brazil but this position has changed, creating opportunities for other regions. Sub-Saharan Africa, with ample unutilised arable land and using less than 10 percent of its available fresh water, is well positioned to benefit from these developments.