South African farmers the new sustainable face of sugar

Posted September 13, 2005 originally reported by Rueters: After years of destroyed soil and disappearing forest, environmentalists have their eyes set on reforming South Africa’s sugar industry. Current methods for growing sugar in the region are far from sustainable. Crops are often planted on steep hills; the sharp inclines make poor use of available rainfall and wash away priceless top soil. Within years the destruction is often so bad farmers are tempted to expand into the fertile Dlinza forest, one of the last fragments of coastal scarp forest left in South Africa.

Conservation group WWF International hopes its Sustainable Sugar Initiative, will encourage both commercial and peasant farmers to adopt more ecologically friendly practices such as "contour banks" which slows running water reducing irrigation and erosion problems. For more on South Africa’s Sustainable Sugar Initiative to go: