South Africa sugarcane survives severe droughts due to better water management

In recent years, South Africa has suffered through some of its worst droughts in history, but sugarcane producers working with Solidaridad were prepared.

In a context of growing public concern about water usage, Solidaridad launched the Sustainable Water Fund (FDW) water efficiency project in 2015 in Malelane. The farming town of Malelane sits on the north eastern part of Mpumalanga, South Africa, in close proximity to the Mozambique and Swaziland borders. Malelane is located in the Crocodile River catchment area, a highly stressed area with its water capacity already 70% allocated.

Knowledge gaps among farmers about proper irrigation was also a concern. Some farmers had too many sprinklers on their plots which resulted in over-irrigation and thus, soil erosion. Farmers needed to understand the balance between the right amount of sprinklers at the right pressure, which has a direct impact on use of electricity. Knowledge gaps were addressed by training development officers on the Bonsucro Sugar Standard, who would then be in a position to help farmers improve their methods.

Learn more about how the Sustainable Water Fund helped save sugarcane in South Africa:

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